History of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Pastor Keith Sweitzer
The beginning of Mt. Zion Baptist Church goes back long before we held our first service on August 24, 1997. Because our philosophy is that “churches should reproduce churches” this informative section will take you back to our home church in Brogue, PA.
My wife and I were both raised from an early age in the same church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church located in York County. Our pastor, through studying the Bible (especially the book of Acts) came to the conclusion that it was the responsibility of the local church to achieve the Great Commission and that this should be done by starting churches in our “Judaea” and “Samaria” and also unto the "uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). We believe that our Judaea and Samaria are neighboring communities that we cannot effectively reach from our church’s location. These areas would be outside of a 20 mile radius of our local church.
With that in mind, my pastor and several men, including myself, went on a mission’s trip to visit several church planting pastors that we supported. God had called me to full time Christian service, but I was searching where specifically he wanted me to go. It was through this trip that the Lord burdened me to get involved in helping to fulfill the Great Commission by starting a church out of our local church.
In January of 1997 the work began. We did survey trips to determine exactly where the Lord wanted us to start the church. The Lord would separately direct my pastor and myself to the same area, Denver/Reamston, PA. Once we located the area we then determined when our first services would be held. This is when the work really began. Over the next six months we visited some churches to raise needed support, we prepared John and Roman scripture portions to hand out door to door, we rented buildings, bought signs, advertised, and the list goes on and on.
Our home church, along with several other supporting churches, began to go door to door handing out 13,000 John and Romans in just four weeks. With nearly 100 people helping each week this got done very quickly and effectively. We then held a week of special meetings with the help of Dr. Earl Jessup who helps churches start churches across America and Canada. With the Lord’s help we were able to start with a core of people that averaged 50 starting in August of 1997.
What drew so many people to such a young church? First of all, we must say the Lord. Without the Lord’s help, none of this would have been possible. Secondly, solid Bible preaching and teaching using the King James Bible. Many churches are program oriented. We are preaching oriented. Thirdly, people were looking for a church that was still using the great hymns of the faith – music that supports their Bible.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church has been established to help fulfill the Great Commission in reaching this area for the cause of Christ. We also believe in starting churches and in 2001 started Heritage Baptist Church in Manheim, PA with pastor Lee Henise. By God’s grace our church desires to continue to impact our community, the communities around us and ultimately the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.