Mt. Zion was constituted in 1843 as a Missionary Baptist Church. The church was located on County Farm Road on the property of the Irwin estate. At this time, the slaves attended church with their owners and sat in the balcony. The first church was burned during the summer of 1864 when General Sherman’s army “visited” this area. When the church was rebuilt, it was decided to build two churches because members of the congregation had so far to travel. One church was located just beyond Noses Creek on the Hubbard estate on Old Macland Road (Turner Road); and the other on the Greer estate just off Powder Springs Road on what is now known as Green Road. The former slaves, who had been attending Mt. Zion, organized their own church, Big Bethel Baptist Church. Their first church was a brush arbor located at the present site on Powder Springs Road.
Our first church was duly organized with a board of deacons and a decorum, which was most strictly followed. The first pastor was Rev. Elijah Northcutt; the first church clerk was William A. Ward; and the first deacons were George W. Hardage and Isaiah Greer.
Our present property was three acres given to Mt. Zion community for a cemetery by Governor McDonald sometime prior to 1885. The congregations of the two churches then decided to build a church on this property. According to Mr. Judson Pledger, the trees for the lumber to build the church were donated by the people of the community.
In 1910, the Rev. Dyer was pastor. Rev. Dyer was deaf, so his wife sat on the front seat and signaled to him when he was speaking loudly enough or too loudly. Rev. Dyer was followed by the Reverends John Crowe, Ralph Donahoo, Bro. Pullen, Gene Booth, Bro. Lacy, Bro. Rueben Barrow and Bro. George Crowe.
Rev. Langley was called to our church in 1922 where he pastored approximately four years. George Tinsley and George Gentry were ordained deacons during these years. Brother Gentry was a faithful member, not only serving on the deacon board, but organized our first “Homecoming”.
Rev. J. W. Reeves became pastor in 1925 and remained about ten years. Rev. A.O. Russell succeeded Rev. Reeves, and Bill Corn became a deacon. Our next pastor was Rev. Howard Walker.
In the mid-1940’s, Rev. J.W. Reeves returned to our church after serving the church 10 years previously. He served seven years this time. It was at this time in 1947 and 1948 that a new church was built. It consisted of our present sanctuary and was built of concrete blocks. There was no baptistery—a Sunday school room was in that portion of the building. The old frame building was then torn away.
Prior to the 1950’s, we only had church service the third Sunday in each month. The revival began third Sunday in August and continued for one or two weeks, then the baptizing was at the end of the revival on Sunday morning in some nearby stream.
Our next pastor was the Rev. George Carnes. Vacation Bible School was organized during Rev. Carnes’ ministry. Mrs. Carnes was principal of the first Vacation Bible School.
Rev. Hovie Lister succeeded Rev. Carnes in 1951. He was serving in the United States Army at the time he was called to our church. He was given a discharge from the army at the request of our church. In 1954, it was decided to brick veneer the sanctuary, add the present west wing of Sunday School rooms, and install the baptistery. Brother Lister resigned in 1960, realizing the church needed a full time pastor and was unable to serve in that capacity.
Rev. Richard Carter succeeded Rev. Lister in 1961 and remained with Mt. Zion for one year. Rev. Carter was succeeded by Rev. W.A. Venable who pastored Mt. Zion for four years. During this time, the east wing of Sunday School rooms were built. In 1961, we purchased a lot on John Ward Road and built the Parsonage.
Rev. Clarence Turner was our next pastor for two years. Brother Turner was followed by Rev. Harvey Ware in 1968. Rev. Ware left our church in 1971 and was succeeded by pastor, Rev. Clent Boling.
Rev. Ted McClung became pastor 2007. In 2009, the sanctuary that had been rebuilt in 1947-1948 had to be torn down due to structural deterioration. Services were then held in the fellowship hall. Shortly thereafter, Brother Ted McClung felt God was leading him to move on. Without a pastor, without a sanctuary, we lifted up prayers to God for His will to be done.
In 2010, Brother Lamar Clarke was called to interim pastor for Mt. Zion. On April 10, 2011, Brother Lamar Clarke was ordained and became our pastor. After two years of barbecues, yard sales, donations, and preparing our hearts, Brother Lamar announced that God laid on his heart to begin re-building the sanctuary. On September 29, 2013, Brother Lamar was able to obtain the building permit for Mt. Zion’s new sanctuary.
On October 4, 2014, Mt. Zion held a dedication service for the newly built sanctuary. We thank God for His power, His plan, His bountiful blessings, and His marvelous grace! Through Him and by Him, we are saved and this sanctuary was built. Through Him and by Him, this church will continue to grow.