Zion Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1871 by a small group of dedicated Christians who had prayed and labored together in love, understanding and fellowship. The first church building was a one room structure built on land donated by some Caucasian citizens of Roswell, and this building also housed a school. The initial building was destroyed by fire in 1885 and was later rebuilt.
Eleven pastors have served Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Our current pastor, the Reverend (Dr.) Frank Lewis, accepted our call in May 1983, and fills the office of Anointed Undershepherd and Chief Administrative Officer (CA0) for 26 years. The church has ordained and/or licensed 33 ministers and 66 deacons since its beginning. Currently, 46 deacons and 46 deaconesses are serving.
Building & Expanding the Church
In October 1963, under the pastorate of the late Reverend P. L. Jones, the old Zion structure was torn down and a new edifice was built. While the church was being rebuilt, services were held at the Groveway Community Center and at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. We were blessed to march into the new sanctuary February 16, 1964. In 1985, under the pastorate of Reverend Frank Lewis, a renovation project added a two story educational and administrative wing to the rear of the sanctuary. This addition added several classrooms, a conference room, enlarged the choirs stand and baptismal pool; and also increased the size of the pastoral study area and the church office.
A Church Reaching for Higher Ground
Zion Missionary Baptist Church has continued to reach for higher ground in kingdom building. This great church is organized into several ministerial divisions with 45 auxiliary ministries, and we are blessed with eight choirs. Many spiritual and educational functions are used as vehicles to enhance the work of Jesus Christ through all our ministries. The LORD has continually blessed us, and a third regularly scheduled 6:00PM Sunday worship service was added in 1992. New members, from all parts of the world, continue to come, taste, and see the abundant goodness of God. As we continue to water, God has given the increase, and church membership has grown to approximately 2000+ souls since 1985.
" Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). In 1992, Reverend Lewis reiterated Zion's Mission: "To win souls and to build up the Body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-16). Reverend (Dr.) Frank Lewis shared his God-given vision for this church:
"Zion is a place that continually offers mankind a refuge from the storms of life. She is a place to which people will be compelled to come, find Christ, serve God, and grow in grace. As Zion strives for perfection, it will be a model for others. She will be called on to do more and more. The members of Zion will be asked to do more and more in their Christian walk so that others may continue to see the goodness of God manifested through our good works, through faith in Jesus Christ."
Praying, Serving, & Building
Moving forward in 1996, we look to God for His infinite wisdom to guide our finite efforts. The vision remains and has now become a necessity. It is time to build; therefore, a Building Program Ministry has been instituted, and land acquisitions continue on Zion Circle. More importantly, our leaders marched across Zion Circle, stood on site and prayerfully claimed the land with the desire to realistically achieve the vision. What is the vision? The vision is the fruition of the building of a house of prayer that will more adequately meet congregational/civic-community needs allowing us to better serve the LORD. February 22, 1997, in conjunction with our 126th Church Anniversary Celebration, saw the groundbreaking ceremony for the new edifice that will house education, administration, and worship facilities for our growing congregation. An architectural firm was selected for the building project, and pledge forms were and are still requested. We, as a united Church Family, have committed to build these facilities with tithes, offerings, and sacrificial giving. On July 6, 1999 we witnessed the actual moving of the land and the tractors begin to roar.The Orr Youth Center was renovated and dedicated for our Youth Ministry, and is utilized for Sunday Church School and other activities. In late fall of 1997, Hispanic ministry services were initiated to serve our immediate neighborhood and community, and this ministry elected to meet twice monthly, on the second and fourth Sundays at 2:00 PM in the main nave; and this ministry also offered a mid-week evening Bible Study Session.
We're Marching to Zion
We praise God with love, praise, adoration, and thanksgiving for the privilege of reaching another milestone in our rich spiritual history. Forefathers are remembered with honor for teaching us our Father's Word. We will always stand on the foundation of the Holy Scriptures. We will keep our hearts filled with love for one another as we continue to march toward eternity. We remain diligent in our prayer life, seeking Jehovah-Jireh's guidance in all endeavors. We do gratefully revere our sovereign Lord's omnipotent power. Several prayer vigils have been held in humble acknowledgement giving evidence that we've come this far by faith because The People Had A Mind To Work. It is our most sincere prayer that you will know we are Christians by our love.