“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NIV)
Members of Zion Hope Baptist Church would have no problem following the instructions of the above Scripture.
Many of them would agree that in a relatively short time, Pastor Tony McGee has already made a positive difference in the historic Eastside church.
“Yes, it has been a year since we were blessed with Pastor Tony,” the congregation proudly proclaims on its webpage.
Zion Hope will celebrate the first year anniversary of McGee and his wife, Kim, with a special service on Nov. 21. Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr., pastor of Eastern Star Church and one of McGee’s spiritual mentors, will serve as guest preacher, with many other ministers in attendance to show their support.
McGee became pastor of Zion Hope in August, 2009, and was officially installed last November.
“These 16 months have been an amazing journey,” McGee said. “I’m humbled that God has allowed us to be here at such a loving church.”
McGee shared how when illness struck his family recently, members of the church came alongside them and showed their support.
“I think it’s reflective of the love that is within all members of Zion Hope,” he said.
McGee is proud of the accomplishments that Zion Hope has been able to make within the last year, especially the expansion of its outreach programs in the Devington area of the Eastside, which is recovering from years of economic decline and high crime.
“God has done the work through us, but we’ve been blessed to reach over 2,500 through our various ministries in that community,” McGee stated.
Church members also were excited when, during an outreach visit to the Marion County Juvenile Correctional Center, over 30 youth dedicated their lives to Christ.
“It makes us feel good to know that we are standing for evangelism through Christ,” McGee said. “Our goal is to advance the kingdom of God through discipleship, effective evangelism and service.”
Established in 1953, Zion Hope has earned a remarkable reputation for its strong emphasis on Christian education and service to the community.
The congregation is perhaps best known for accomplishments that began under the late Pastor James S. Wells, who served from 1972 until his death in 1987. At Zion Hope, Wells established Baptist Bible College, which attracted so many students that it eventually required its own facility. Later, the institution was renamed Crossroads Bible College, and is now one of the fastest growing Christian secondary schools in the Midwest.
McGee’s smooth transition into leadership of Zion Hope over the last year was in no doubt helped by both his ministerial and professional experience.
The Terre Haute, Ind., native grew up striving for excellence. He was an All-American AAU basketball player as a high school student and earned a prestigious athletic scholarship to Indiana State University, where he received degrees in communications management.
McGee’s career in ministry began when he served as director of a program at Terre Haute’s Second Baptist Church, led at the time by his childhood pastor, Rev. Cleytus Malone. In 2001, following his move to Indianapolis, McGee was ordained as a minister at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, where he was assistant to the late Rev. T.L. Hines Jr.
McGee also created community education and outreach programs for local organizations affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA Inc., the largest African-American denomination. In 2006 he joined Eastern Star Church, where he became a worship leader, Sunday school instructor and student in the Ministers in Training program.
Professionally, he served as a vice president for Indiana Black Expo, director of development for Health Net, and director of development for Circle City Classic, where he raised more than $5 million in sponsorships from 2002 to 2006.
With what little spare time he has, McGee continues to enjoy athletic activities, as well time with wife, Kim, daughter, Kimara, and sons, Kaden and Joshua.
Under McGee’s leadership, Zion Hope has grown to the level that now requires two worship services.
More importantly, McGee noted, the church is fulfilling its mission of being a place where people in need can go, or refer them to places where those needs can be met.
“The ministry of Jesus was dedicated to meeting needs,” McGee said. “And we are always going to meet the needs of people in this community.”
Celebrate with us
Zion Hope Baptist Church, 5950 E. 46th St., will celebrate Pastor Tony McGee’s first anniversary on Nov. 21. Pastor Michael Bryant, associate pastor at Eastern Star Church, will speak during the 10:45 a.m. service. A 5 p.m. service will take place with guest speaker Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr. of Eastern Star and the Eastern Star Choir. For more information, call (317) 547-4387 or visit www.zionhopechurch.org.