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 on 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.
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 6:00 PM 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 and 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 building 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 Crossing Over
On March 18, 2001 we crossed over to our new edifice on 888 Zion Circle. The new edifice, a four-story brick building, consists of 77,000 square feet of habitable space. The House of Worship, located on the second level, has an overall seating capacity of 1580 persons which included balcony seating and seating for those who may be disabled. The first floor houses a daycare facility for approximately 150 children and includes eight classrooms and office spaces. The Fannie Hazel Martin Fellowship Hall (which seats 500) are also included on this level. The other two levels include dressing rooms for baptism candidates, classrooms, library, youth center and additional office spaces. We also added an additional 120 parking spaces, a playground and outdoor classroom.
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.
A Crown of Life
On Tuesday August 5, 2014, God, in His infinite wisdom and loving mercy dispatched an angel to the beside of His faithful and obedient servant, Dr. Frank Lewis. Dr. Lewis was a community, national and international preacher who shared his gift of preaching in London, Germany, Haiti and Korea. He was the recipient of numerous awards for his civic-community involvement. He faithfully served as pastor of Zion for thirty-one years.
During his tenure as senior pastor, we remained diligent in our prayer life, seeking Jehovah-Jireh’s guidance in all endeavors. Several prayer vigils have been held in humble acknowledgment 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.
Time To Make A Greater Impact.
Our current Senior Pastor, Reverend Dr. Robert James, was called to serve as the Senior Pastor of Zion in October 2016. He preached his first sermon as our senior pastor on January 1, 2017, titled “It’s Time To Upgrade Your Understanding of The Storm” from Mark 4:35-41. During his tenure, we as a church have rekindled our passion to fulfill God’s Mission for us to “Win Souls and Build Up The Body of Christ.”
As a church, we have revisited our focus on missions both locally and internationally. We have hosted the Lott Carey Foreign Missions Convention where over 2,000 local and international missionaries came for instruction and spiritual development. We also have be challenged as a church to become intentional in making an impact in the changing community surrounding our church.
In 2018, we began our partnership with a local community college to provide ESL courses for our international neighbors. We also reunited with our Hispanic Community by opening up our campus to a local Hispanic Church Plant.
Leadership Over the Years
Twelve pastors have served Zion Missionary Baptist Church. We have also ordained and/or licensed 33 ministers and 66 deacons since its beginning. Currently, 46 deacons and 46 deaconesses are serving Zion Missionary Baptist Church.