Tempe Nazarene Church was organized October 25, 1953 by Rev. Wilbur L. Heizer. The “people” part of the church grew out of a children’s ministry led by Mrs. Hiebert and assisted by Ruth Brickley. It was housed in an old abandoned school building for some time.
Church property at 107 East Broadway Road was purchased in November, 1952 by the District Advisory Board and monies to purchase were given to the church by the Phoenix Eastside Church (Biltmore). The lot was one commercial acre on the sparsely settled and graveled Broadway Road and cost $2,500.00.
The first building was a junior annex which would seat approximately sixty people comfortably and was built in November 1953 at a cost of $10,427.68 by Shelley Construction Company with Glen McCollum as architect. The building was soon filled. Pastor and Mrs. David Owen came in May, 1954. God blessed their leadership and the church was strengthened under their ministry.
Following the Owens, Rev. and Mrs. L. W. Dodson came as pastors in 1955 and served for about one year. Rev. and Mrs. Leo Kirley were then called to pastor Tempe Nazarene Church. They arrived in 1956 and served the church faithfully for ten years. During their ministry a three bedroom masonry construction parsonage was built on the back of the property. Continued growth made the construction of a larger sanctuary an absolute necessity. Faith became reality when the sanctuary was built in 1959. It had seating for 112 people plus the choir. It was constructed largely with donated labor. Many wonderful times of spiritual blessing were enjoyed as God revealed himself time after time.
Rev. Kirley reached the age of retirement and the church called Pastor Stan and Patty McElrath as pastors in June, 1966.
As the church began to outgrow its facility, it was decided after much prayer and deliberation, to relocate the church. The property at 3929 South Rural Road was purchased in April 1967 for $40,000.00. The property on Broadway was sold through Siesta Realty (Lyle Carnal, broker) to Mr. Allen Dong for $112,000.00. Construction began in late summer of 1969 with Paul Madden as supervisor and Glen McCollum as architect. The first service was held at the Rural Road location on Easter Sunday, 1970 with 403 in attendance. Dr. V. H. Lewis, General Superintendent and Dr. M. L. Mann, district Superintendent officiated.
We built classrooms, a library, and a gymnasium. We also began Tempe Christian School in 1971. It was known then as University Heights Christian School and is now Tempe Christian PreSchool. The gymnasium began life as our sanctuary and remained so until the mid 80s. We continued to add to our numbers.
A new $650,000.00 450-seat worship center built by the R. K. Yoder Company of Ft. Collins, Colorado, was completed in 1986 and dedicated in October of that year. It contained state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment as well as a choir/music room used by both the church and Tempe Christian PreSchool. The area previously used as the sanctuary was converted to its original design as a multipurpose gymnasium.
In 1996, we remodeled our classrooms to make better use of the space. Each room has abundant storage cabinets, telephone and computer network jacks, cleanup sinks, drinking fountains, and individual air-conditioning/heating units. The color schemes used provide an enhancement to the learning environment.
In 2000–2001, we added a second story over the classroom area remodeled in 1996 to create more classrooms for both the school and the church. The $1.2 million project added over 6,000 square feet of educational space. A worship center for our Student Ministries Department, six new classrooms, new sidewalks, drainage systems, taller, safer playground fences, and new fascia around the roof-line of the entire project, were completed. That provided much needed adult Sunday School and youth facilities and enabled us to utilize first-floor rooms for ill- and well-child nursery. It also allowed us to update our patio with new landscaping, including a fountain.
Pastor Stan and Patty announced their retirement in April of 2001. They retired in April of 2002 and were succeeded by Pastor Doug and Becky Pierce. We began reconstruction of the offices, removing the old library, providing space for a new conference room and copy/break room.
Dr. Brian and Sharon Delbridge accepted our call and began pastoring us September 2006, after Pastor Doug and Becky accepted the call to be Assistant District Superintendent. The office entrance was reconstructed in 2007. Pastor Brian was instrumental in assisting Pastor Kevin McGinnis with establishing the Mosaic Church plant, helping start the Haitian congregation as TNC members, and remodeling of the Worship Center, gymnasium, and kitchen.
On April 15, 2015, Pastor Chris Walton was officially installed by District Superintendent Doug Pierce in the Sunday morning service as TNC's new senior pastor. His wife Lisa and four of there children were there. We had a great message entitled "Different" that encouraged us to believe, pray, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to change our culture. We met for food afterward in the gym and were able to meet with the family.
Pastor Jon and Cathleen Privett began their ministry at TNC on September 17, 2017. District Superintendent Doug Pierce officially installed them in the service as TNC's new senior pastor. His wife Cathleen and two daughters were there as he brought the message, "A Servant Like Jesus”.