Church History

Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church has served the Decatur/Atlanta community since 1922. Our history shows what great works have been done and the great people who were given the honor of bringing God’s vision to fruition. Equipped with the Word of God as a blueprint, Mt. Zion continues to be a beacon of light, a place of hope, and an avenue of fellowship for all. With many changes over the years, the love for Christ, our church, and the community never wavered. Where there is a need, the church has made it its mission to provide and pour into others, just as God has so graciously poured into the church.
Mt. Zion has gone through many faithful periods of growth, steadfast praying for guidance, direction, and at times for a pastor. By the grace of God, the leadership of many fervent pastors, and the loving and giving members of the church, Mt. Zion still stands and continues the work of those who paved the way.
Below is a brief description highlighting some of the accomplishments under the leadership of previous pastors who laid the foundation of the church.
(The details listed do not encompass everything but covers a small portion of what has been accomplished. Omitted information may be found in the church archives.)

Reverend Will D. Maxon, Pastor
Associate Ministers:  Assistant Pastor, Rev. Dewey Adams; Rev. Riley Anderson; Rev. Eddie Hill; Rev. Roy Moss, Sr; Rev. Hinton Stewart; Rev. Wilson Wade
Rev. Will D. Maxon established Mt. Zion in 1922. Without a church building, but a desire to share the word of God, services were held in members' homes and tents. In 1926, Associate Minister Rev. Riley Anderson spearheaded the effort to construct a church building to be located at 305 Hunter Street in Downtown Decatur on the fringes of an old Decatur cemetery. The land for the church was donated by Sister Irene Brown, a member of the original group of congregants. Mt. Zion remained on Hunter Street for about 57 years.

Reverend Roy Moss, Sr. Pastor
Associate Ministers:  Assistant Pastor, Rev. Roy Moss, Jr; Assistant Pastor,
Rev. Ulysses Buggs; Rev. Dewey Adams; Rev. Riley Anderson; Rev. Harvey Johnson; Rev. James Seabron; Rev. Wilson Wade
Rev. Moss, one of the founding fathers of the church, served as pastor for nearly 30 years. His mission was to reach lost souls, plant seeds of God’s Word, and show them how to pattern their lives after Jesus Christ. The importance of being civic-minded, striving for an education, and active involvement in the community were strongly encouraged.
Under his leadership, the church was a member of the Hopewell Baptist Association. Pastor Moss, ministers, and the deacons visited the sick and served them communion. He also taught church members to visit the sick and shut-in and schedule home bible study. Vacation Bible School was established, and teachers were appointed for bible study. Sunday School was organized to include six classes. There was an appointed Sunday School superintendent and a secretary to keep a record of attendance, lessons, and reports. Breakfast was served to the children.
Rev. Moss was dedicated to supporting the youth in many ways. The first on-site store was established to introduce the youth to entrepreneurship. Christmas savings accounts for the members were also established and managed by the youth to teach them financial literacy. Roy Moss, Jr. was appointed and served as Youth Pastor. Robert Swift created and led a basketball team for the young boys and the Youth Usher Board was formed. Junior deacons were ordained while Rev. Moss pastored the church.
The first church bus was purchased, and the church went on weekend church trips during the summer to Florida, Lookout Mountain, and Jekyll Island for the youth. The congregation was taught to sing hymns and congregational songs before the establishment of different choral divisions like the Youth choir and the Roy Moss Senior Choir.  A choir stand and indoor bathrooms were built under the leadership of Rev. Moss.
Even in his retirement, he continued to lead, advise, and serve Mt. Zion. He was a passionate, devoted, diligent, dedicated leader, and was also a mentor, teacher, sexton, and preacher. Rev. Moss served as Pastor Emeritus after his retirement until he died in 1992.

Reverend Ulysses Buggs, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roy Moss, Sr; Rev. Riley Anderson; Rev. Ulysses Buggs; Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. Russell Roberts, Sr; Rev. James Seabron; Rev. Heyward Thompson; Rev. Wilson Wade; *Rev. J.D. Surry
Under the leadership of Rev. Buggs, ground was broken to build a new church home at 2677 Pharr Road. Building Fund drives led to the construction of the new and current church location. While the church was under construction, services were held at the Trinity-Beacon Gymnasium for about two years.  Evangelist Mother Ruth Lindsey, the daughter of Pastor Maxon, was the first female minister to receive a ministerial license and ordination at Mt. Zion. Evangelist Lindsey also founded the Prayer Band Ministry.

*Interim Pastor: Rev. Jerry D. Surry (1983-1984)

Rev. Macon Gwinn, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roy Moss, Sr; Rev. Robert Ferguson; *Rev. James Seabron; Rev. Wilson Wade
The music department began to grow with the addition of a drummer. Many events were established like family nights, fashion shows, teas, the Pastor’s Aide Ministry, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day dinners, Usher Board III (spearheaded by Deaconess Mildred Starks), and the Spring Extravaganza Choir (spearheaded by Bro. Frank Swift).

Reverend Porter Denson, Jr.  Pastor
Associate Ministers: Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roy Moss, Sr; Rev. Robert Ferguson; *Rev. James Seabron; Rev. Wilson Wade
Divisions of bible study and Sunday school were reorganized.

*Interim Pastor:  Rev. James Seabron (1989-1990) and (1991-1992)

Reverend Kerwin B. Lee, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Roy Moss, Sr; Rev. Steve Adams; Rev. Ulysses Buggs; Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. George T. Harris; Rev. Donald Johnson; Rev.  James Seabron, Rev. Donald Smith; Rev. Wilson Wade
The church’s mortgage was paid in full.  Pastor Lee initiated two morning worship services. Camp Mt., a camp for the youth, was the start of many youth activities. Lock-ins and church basketball tournaments were held. Under Pastor Lee’s leadership, a newsletter committee was formed to create, “Commissioned from the Mount.” The name was created by Mia and Sheryl Buggs. Many other ministries were also established, including the Women’s Discipleship Ministry, the Men’s Discipleship Ministry,  Early Morning Choir, Prison Ministry, Hallelujah Fun Night, Adoption for Local Area Community Schools, Senior Ministry Mayor Walk, Finance Committee, Career Development & Mentoring Program, and retreats for women and the youth.

*In prayer for a pastor*
Mt. Zion was without a pastor but that did not stop the church from continuing the work of the Lord. During this time, The Bylaws Committee was formed. The congregation agreed that while they were in dire need of leadership, the selection of a new pastor would be done at the will and direction of God. The church family prayed, and God sent a humble, kind, patient, strong, committed, and caring servant of God, Reverend Gregory Sherman.

Reverend Gregory Sherman, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev.  James Seabron; Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. G.T. Harris; Rev. Gloria Swift; Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Lott; Minister Benjamin Foster; Minister Hazel James
New bible study divisions were created along with new times to accommodate the growing membership. A Rites of Passage program was organized for the youth and a Vow of Purity program for the teens. The church hosted community parades and fellowships on the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday. The Drug/Addiction & Recovery Ministry was established and led by Deaconess Dorothy Williams. Pastor Sherman presented a New Year theme and vision every year. The Couple’s Ministry & retreat and the Men’s Usher Board were also established. The church bylaws were completed, and several renovations were made throughout the church to include the pastor’s study. Rev. Gregory Sherman preached, ministered, taught, counseled, captivated, and impressed the congregation of the Mt. Zion family with messages truly ordained by God.  He departed the church in September 2002.

*In prayer for a pastor*

Reverend Argaine Morgan, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev.  James Seabron; Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. G.T. Harris; Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Lott; Minister Mia Buggs; Rev. Gary Jordan; Rev. Hightower
A new marquee was placed in front of the church.

*In prayer for a pastor*

Reverend J.E. Howard, Interim Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. G.T. Harris; Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Lott
Rev. J.E. Howard faithfully ministered God’s Word through noon bible study and Sunday morning worship. During this time, the pews were covered, and the carpet was replaced.

Reverend D.M. McGuire, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev. Robert Ferguson; Rev. G.T. Harris; Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Lott; Evangelist Dorothy Goss
Rev. McGuire was focused on love and saving souls.  Under his leadership, the air conditioning unit was replaced, the restroom was renovated, and the church website was established.

Reverend J.E. Howard, Interim Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev. G.T. Harris; Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Swift; Evangelist Dorothy Goss

Thank you to the many leaders who made Mt. Zion what it is today. The Lord saw fit to send Rev. Eddie Lee Bright. He currently serves as pastor and is continuing the great leadership of the church.
Reverend Eddie L. Bright, Pastor
Associate Ministers: Rev. G.T. Harris(deceased); Rev. Dr. Shirley Reid; Evangelist Sara Swift; Evangelist Julia Wade
Pastor Bright recognized how God strategically positioned Mt. Zion in a residential area for outreach within the neighborhood. Ministers, deacons, and members from the congregation joined him to personally inform the community of the church’s availability and its open doors to witness our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mt. Zion joined the East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELCNA) to support its mission to “create a safe and friendly community.” Mt. Zion also became a registered member of the local 5th District of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Ga, Inc., and Congress of Christian Education, the state General Missionary Baptist Convention(GMBC) of Ga, Inc., and Congress of Christian Education, along with the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. The church’s active involvement has welcomed support, connection, and the opportunity to impact the church and community at a greater capacity.
In his first year, he began the revitalization process for many components of the church. To start, the usher’s leadership structure and responsibilities were established, and they became active within the local 5th District and state GMBC. To ensure the church body was equipped with knowledge in the health arena, he supported the establishment of the Health and Wellness Ministry, operating under the Usher’s Ministry. They too have become active within the local 5th District and state GMBC. Many of the existing ministries were revamped. He continued to lift the morale of the church and supported several of the annual events within the congregation. Many events and ministries were restructured, revitalized, and reinvigorated.  Some of which changed their names to represent the new, while keeping some church history in place. The Women’s Ministry was renamed, “Women of Zion,” the Dance Ministry is now called, “Moving Vessels of Zion,” and the Men’s Ministry’s new name is “Men of Zion.”
Pastor’s love for the Seniors (those of Wisdom) is one of his top priorities. His continuous support of the Annual Senior’s luncheon, an event encouraging fellowship with Seniors of approximately twenty churches in the Metropolitan Atlanta area, ensures they remain active outside the walls of the church. It has been Pastor Bright’s on-going desire to make certain the sick is visited.  He is known by the membership to have visited every sick member of Mt. Zion and their family and friends; had he been made aware of their hospitalization. Since his pastorate, his sincere interest to visit the sick is demonstrated by accompanying the ministerial staff and members to Traditions’ Nursing Home, where we have been ministering to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients monthly. His spiritual father, Dr. Cameron M. Alexander, instilled in him the need to care for the least of these.  In doing so, shortly after his pastorate, he began for the first time in Mt. Zion’s history, the Feed the Homeless Ministry. The ministry allows members to quarterly feed approximately 300 men, women, and children in the Metropolitan Atlanta area and provides them with clothes and toiletries.
Pastor Bright has always had a passion for our youth. He desires for all to become what Christ destined for them and he understands that they too require the church’s assistance.  He continued to support events like Hallelujah Night, a fun-filled safe, and Christian environment afforded to the youth of Mt. Zion and the children in our community on Halloween. Mentorship programs are currently being established for the youth. The Men of Zion Ministry and the Mother’s Ministry have been sanctioned by Pastor Bright to be mentors for our youth.  He strongly believed that the mentoring program begins with these two ministries. Under Pastor Bright’s leadership, a scholarship program was established. Tuition scholarships are awarded to first-year college students and book scholarships to returning college students. It is his prayer to one day be able to offer full scholarships. Several students have earned their bachelor’s degree with aid from scholarships awarded to them by Mt. Zion.
Pastor Bright realized that a growing church is readily identified when babies are born.  He established the Baby Dedication Ministry, which focuses on parents understanding their child is a blessing from God and allows them to dedicate themselves and their child to God.
Pastor truly lives by the scripture, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Therefore, he has compelled the church to continue giving Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to needy families and two nursing homes. He delivers boxes personally to needy persons during these holidays.
Since his installation as pastor of Mt. Zion, two necessary and costly financial initiatives were pursued and negotiated by Pastor Bright. A brand-new air-conditioning system was installed, and the parking lot has been repaved. Both initiatives have since been paid in full. We are grateful for what Pastor Bright has done and we thank God in advance for what is to come.
In March 2020, the Coronavirus, COVID-19, struck our world and a pandemic ensued. Pastor Bright sought the Holy Spirit's guidance as to how he should pastor and feed God's flock. Since Easter Sunday 2020, he has utilized Zoom to broadcast, "Drive-In" Service, where he diligently and faithfully teaches Sunday School, preaches every Sunday, and offers Communion in the parking lot of Mt. Zion. This format allows members to safely worship at the church and allows our neighbors and the community to sit on their porches or stay within their homes to listen to God's Word.
"Make such an impact in the lives you have touched, by the love you give unconditionally, that you nor your legacy could ever be forgotten or replicated."
2 TIMOTHY 4:7-8
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.