In December of 1978, Mount Zion Bible Church was founded in Pensacola, Florida. We printed on a mimeograph machine in the basement of a home until moving into our first building in June of 1979. The Lord gave the first offset press in June of 1986. Another press was added in February of 1988. All this time, God was moving to open doors for a wider ministry. In February of 1987 we inherited Chapel Library from the Nelson family in Venice, Florida. Then in June of 1988 we began publishing the Free Grace Broadcaster from W.F. Bell in Canton Georgia.
The mailing list kept growing until we were no longer able to put everything together by hand. God provided a computer system for handling the mailing labels, and a paper cutter, tract folder, and a 13-station booklet-maker with stitcher, folder, and trimmer.
Now we could no longer use our first 40 x 42 ft. building for both worship and work. A second building was added in 1986 at 40 x 60 ft., which now houses three offices and our church meeting.
In 1991 the literature distribution more than tripled, outgrowing our storage space. We added many more titles and printed larger quantities. Answered prayer brought a third building in 1992, which more than tripled the work and inventory space at 60 x 125 ft.
Into the new building, along with all our other equipment, went a large sheet press, a perfector press, a large folder, a 12-station perfect binder to collate, glue, and trim books up to 252 pages, and all the necessary graphics and layout equipment to prepare our publications for the press.
The Prison Ministry began in 1984 with mailings to one prison in Huntsville, Texas. It has since spread by word of mouth to more than 3,500 facilities in Canada and all 50 states in the USA. We send free tracts, booklets, books, and correspondence courses to chaplains for their distribution, and directly to individual inmates.
1995 saw the addition of the correspondence school, Mt. Zion Bible Institute, which now has more than 35 courses and distributes more than 25,000 courses each year, about half in North America and half overseas.
The audio tape ministry doubled in size in 1995, and was distributing more than 2,000 tapes per month before the advent of MP3. It has more than 8,000 sermon masters. We are converting these to MP3 as the Lord enables. The Cassettes remain available in North America.
1996 saw the beginning of internet ministry, www.MountZion.org and JohnBunyan.org, which features the complete works of John Bunyan (1628-1688).
On January 16, 2003 our founder, Pastor Lee Roy Shelton, Jr., passed away at age 79. He is succeeded by Pastor Jeff Pollard. The following messages from that time are available:
2004 saw the beginning of the international distributors, when Conrad Mbewe in Zambia began sending the Free Grace Broadcaster to pastors in his own country. Today pastors and missionaries in twenty-one countries serve as distributors, maintaining the subscription list for their own country and posting about 5,000 copies of the FGB each quarter.
2009 marked the first Foundational Doctrines Conference for graders from the Bible Institute, to encourage them toward sound doctrine for the important role of discipleship. Speakers have included Geoff Thomas, Joel Beeke, and Sam Waldron.
In 2011 Ekklesia Theological Seminary began operations under MZBC. It offers free seminary education to prison inmates and overseas pastors via distance learning. Qualified mentors in North America will volunteer their time to review the students' work via email. In this way, Ekklesia hopes to impact the great worldwide need for men in the pulpits who are trained in sound doctrine.