Church History

New Mount Zion Church Timeline

1902 to 1940 - The Founding Years

New Mt. Zion Group Photo of Graduation (circa-unknown)

Under the leadership of the Reverend A. F. Williams (Parsons), the Mount Zion Baptist Church was organized on the Second Sunday in October 1902. The original church building was located at the corner of 26th Street and 14th Avenue in an area of Tampa known as “The Bottom.”  During the next years, the following pastors served:  Reverends C.W. McIntosh, Jenkins H. Wright, J.A. George, Petty Smith, W. M. Smith. Under Pastor W. M. Smith’s leadership, we relocated to our present location where Columbus Drive was then called Michigan Avenue.

Pastor C.R. Townsend of Palatka, Florida succeeded Pastor W. M. Smith and served until 1929. While the nation was struggling to survive the Great Depression between 1929 and 1939, the small Black church thrived. Of the four ministers who served during this Period, it was under the leadership of Reverend I. W. Washington that our Church was remodeled and its mortgage paid off. Under the leadership of Reverend S. Siplin, Jr., a parsonage was acquired and pews were purchased; he served from 1935 to September 1939. Two other ministers serving during this period were Reverends W.R. Monroe and D.B. Brooks.

1941 to 1956 - The Stabilizing Years

Under the leadership of Reverend J. A. Smart, the Church remained stabilized through the forties and early fifties.   The membership increased between 1940 and 1946; the Church was enlarged and a stone annex was built. In 1946 Reverend J.A. Smart left the Church with all bills paid. Reverends R. H. Whittaker and George Raymond Griffin continued the work of Reverend Smart towards the building of a new Church. They increased the Church’s Building Fund and its membership. However, following the resignation of Reverend Griffin, the Church was without a leader for a span of time.

1957 to Middle 70’s - The Glory Years

New Mount Zion Men’s Usher Board – Circa Unknown

From all accounts, the years between 1957 and 1968 were the “Glory Years” of our Church. Reverend William Calhoun accepted the “Call” in 1957. He was motivated to unite a fragmented congregation as well as rebuild a deterioration Church building. Under his leadership, the following took place: our present edifice was erected; central air conditioning was installed; a new parsonage was situated on the west side of the church and furnished; new pews and an organ were purchased.

During Pastor Calhoun’s tenure, our Church was renamed, “The New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.”  A Federal Credit Union was instituted and maintained for more than two years–later dissolving and repaying its members with interest; the Mortgage was burned before Reverend Calhoun’s departure on March 17, 1968. He is credited with developing and maintaining harmony. For the next eighteen months, the Deacons supplied the Pulpit.

Reverend Bobby Jones accepted the “Call” on July 28, 1968 and served until the Mid Seventies.  The membership was greatly increased. Reverend Bobby Jones is noted for the following: making many improvements; property was purchased at the corner of 25th Street and Columbus Drive; first mini bus was purchased; the present parsonage located at Orangewood Terrace was purchased.

Mid 1970’s to 1988 - The Changing Years

With the resignation of Reverend Bobby Jones in the Mid Seventies, the Church split for the first time in its history. Some of the members left with him to form a new Church. In the period which followed, Reverend Howard Mims served as the Interim Pastor. New Mount Zion experienced this same situation twice again by 1988 with Reverends F. Goynes and Lester Carter resigning.

Under Reverend Goynes, the property at 25thStreet and Columbus Drive was paid off and the campaign to renovate the Church was launched. Following Reverend Goynes’ departure, Reverend Frank Williams served as Interim Pastor. Under Reverend Lester Carter, the members experienced continued growth; the creation of a New Members’ Orientation Department taught during Baptist Training Hour and Weekly Bible Study; and a mini bus was purchased.

1988 to 1994 - The Challenging Years

In March of 1988, Reverend Zachary Hudson accepted the “Call.”  Reverend Hudson focused on Christian Education, Leadership, Youth Nurturing and targeted Male participation leadership. The following Ministries were organized:  Male Usher Board,  Male Chorus, the revamping of the New Members’ Orientation Committee, the 50+ Bible Study Group,  Membership Tracking Ministry. A stronger Church was melted together with the Church’s Role of Worship, Work, and the Word.

Between the years of 1989 and 1992, Phases I and II of the interior renovations were completed; the Ethnic Mural was painted and unveiled; five parcels of land were purchased for future expansion. A Studio-Grand Piano was purchased and four additional staff members hired. Dr. Hudson resigned in 1994 and Reverend Foster Garvin, Sr. served as a capable and caring Interim Pastor.

1995 to 2013 - The Christian Growth Years

A new era began in our history with the calling of Reverend Walter J. Williams. Reverend Williams adopted as his introductory theme, “Raising the Standards.” He profoundly desires New Mount Zion’s achievement of spiritual excellence and spiritual growth by stressing Worship, Prayer, and intensive Bible Study. Through Mid-Week Family Night Prayer and Bible Study, classes have been set up for our Adults, Youth, and Children; using a study guide written by Pastor Williams, New Members’ Orientation has been restructured.

He has, also, instituted a Homiletics class to enhance Male Christian Growth; an Evangelism Class was established to prepare and educate persons for the Outreach Ministry–seven Evangelism Explosion Classes have graduated with this year’s class being the largest. The Shepherd Men’s Ministry was organized to promote Bible Study and utilizing basketball as a means to reach young men for Christ; New Mount Zion Enterprises Committee was organized; the three Adult Choirs were combined and became the “Voices of Praise;” Quarterly Business Meetings were established with Staff Meetings held monthly; Singles’ and Couples’ Ministries were organized; the Legal, Financial, and Senior Citizens Ministries were formed; the Prison Ministry was established; the Precious Jewels’ Ministry was formed to minister to our home-confined; New Mount Zion’s Travel Agency was established.

Other advancements are as follows: paid security guards; full time male and female custodians, purchase of a 29-passenger Church bus; refurbishing the Church van and the purchase of a 57-passenger Church bus through the establishment of the Transportation Ministry. We now have 7 licensed ministers and 2 ordained ministers; a total of 15 Deacons have been ordained by Pastor Williams. We continue to give annual financial support to education through the following contributions: Florida Memorial College, Florida Baptist College and Seminary, our yearly high school graduates, and a stipend set aside for adult education. Pastor William’s leadership has brought into fruition our vision of a Family Life Center.

The two-story 10,000 + square foot addition includes: an elevator; a large choir room; a computer lab with network and internet capabilities; new administrative offices with Pastor’s private suite; five additional classrooms; a nurses’ station; a dining hall designed to accommodate a seating capacity of 250; a half basketball court; three stage areas; two 27” inch monitors with satellite and video projection. Other advancements include: three additional parking lots; exterior cross with signage; landscape improvements; new lighted marquee; the purchase of a newly refurbished Hammond C3 Organ; the installation of a bus breezeway and a retiled Sanctuary Foyer. Other Spiritual involvement implementations are: the birth of our Annual Shepherd Men’s Conference; the Annual Church Workshop; the Annual Awards’ Banquet; and hosting many congresses, conventions, and affiliations.

Through our active involvement, we have been blessed to have many guests visit us as well as our visitations, too. Our Church and its many ministries remain profoundly involved in numerous District, State, and National Conventions. New Mount Zion continues advancing God’s Kingdom through this year’s theme of “Enjoying the Unity.”

2013 to Present - A Spiritual Rebirith

Several of our Ministries at Work – Circa 2016

“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” Psalm 118:23

On March 3, 2013, The New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church began a new journey with Pastor Larry L. Roundtree II.  Since God sent His vessel to New Mt. Zion, many exciting things have occurred. Building on the strong foundation laid by the pastors and members that came before him, Pastor Roundtree has led the church in spiritual growth, as we have studied the books of James, Nehemiah, Ephesians, Romans and Luke. Several ministries have been launched and are making great strides for the kingdom of God. Among them are:

  • Food Pantry (Distributes free food every other Monday from 10am – 12pm and 5pm – 7pm)
  • Clothes Closet (Distributes free clothing every other Monday from 10am – 12pm and 5pm–7pm)
  • Bereavement Ministry (Comforts those who have lost loved ones and assists with funeral arrangements)
  • Living with a Loss Ministry (Ongoing support for those who have lost loved ones)\
  • LOVE Ministry (Christian ministry for teenage girls)
  • AOJC (Ambassadors of Jesus Christ – Christian ministry for teenage boys)
  • Praise Team (Young adult praise and worship ministry)
  • Daughters of Zion (Dance Ministry)
  • Total Praise (Mime Ministry)
  • Mentoring Ministry (Designed to help new members assimilate into church family)
  • Brothers of Faith (Men’s ministry)

3 men from the ministerial staff have been called to pastor other churches, 2 men have announced their call to the gospel ministry, 8 new deacons have either been ordained or accepted as transfers from other churches, as well as over 10 new deaconesses. Pastor Roundtree led the men of the church in a 6-week study of Tony Evans’ “Kingdom Man” curriculum and the women have completed their inspirational study of “Kingdom Women” under the leadership of Sis. Roundtree.

Numerically, church membership has more than doubled to nearly 900 members. Financially, God has blessed New Mt. Zion to be debt free, paying off the Life Center mortgage ahead of schedule and renaming it to “The Rev. Dr. Walter J. Williams Life Center”.  Several properties adjacent to the church have been purchased for future growth, a new van, 2 new golf carts, 2 projection screens for the sanctuary, video cameras, updated audio equipment and several other improvements have been made in and around the church.

As it relates to ministry, hundreds of families and individuals have been touched through our food pantry and clothes closet ministries, in addition to many children who were sponsored for Christmas through our Angel Tree program. In 2016, the church went on a mission trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to provide assistance to the families who were affected by the floods.  Approximately 40 members went on this trip, along with a U-haul trailer full of donated supplies, food and clothes.  The existing ministries continue to flourish, and it is our prayer that God will be pleased with the work we are doing in order to build His kingdom on earth by preaching, teaching and living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ!