The roots of Denver First Church of the Nazarene go back to 1908, when a nucleus of people congregated from what was the Colorado Holiness Association. Our church was organized by Dr. Phineas F. Bresee, general superintendent and founder of the denomination, on September 27, 1908 with 48 charter members. Dr. Bresee came to Denver for the organization of our congregation at Howe Hall, 1548 California Street. Rev. Bowles was the first pastor and received his salary in the form of the Sunday morning offering. The evening offering went to the incidental expenses of the church. For over 90 years, DFC has been the “Mother church” to 14 other Nazarene congregations in Denver and one in Castle Rock.
Several ministers have pastored the church, at several locations. At the close of 1914, the church moved to its first “permanent” home, which was a basement at West 10th and Kalamath. They worshipped there until the church edifice was constructed over the basement in 1919, at a cost of under $20,000 and enjoyed a membership of 160. The same year our congregation officially became the First Church of the Nazarene in Denver. Big things started to happen, including a Rally Day in 1920, as DFC reached for 1,000 in attendance. The first Women's Foreign Missionary Society (now known as the Nazarene Missions International) was organized in 1924 with a membership of 63.
DFC took great strides during the leadership of Pastor Melza Brown and his wife, Grace, with membership peaking at 425 and Sunday School enrollment at 847. Total giving for all purposes was $1,200 in the church's first year, but reached a new high of $10,300 during Pastor Brown's ministry between 1930 and 1938. In the late 1950's, 20 lots of land were purchased at Asbury and Milwaukee, where a new church was soon constructed and occupied.
In 1968, Dr. Don Wellman came as pastor and plans were quickly made for a great expansion to reach and teach the metroplex of Denver about Jesus Christ. Land was purchased on this hill on Hampden Avenue and in 1972, construction began on a sanctuary to seat nearly 3,400 people, a number almost six times the number attending at the former location. Once the new building was completed, on Hampden Avenue in Englewood, the attendance began to grow rapidly and the church started many, many new ministries to the people of the greater Denver area.
The SNID Concert Series (Saturday Nights in Denver) started in 1974 and was a great outreach ministry of DFC. The finest Christian musical artists in America came to DFC on a monthly basis from September through May each year and the attendance at our SNID concerts ran from 2,000 to 3,400. We still have large concerts at DFC from time to time.
In 1989, Dr. Jim Diehl, the former District Superintendent of the Colorado District, was called to be pastor of DFC when Dr. Wellman felt it was time for him to pass the mantle on after 21 years. Pastor Diehl effectively ministered from 1989 to 1993. In July, 1993, Pastor Diehl was elected to the highest office in the Church of the Nazarene, that of General Superintendent.
In 1993, Dr. Tim Stearman came as pastor of DFC and remained for 16 years, until 2009. Under his leadership, DFC reached peak attendance of 2200 on a Sunday morning. During this time, the building was refurbished and much needed space was added on three floors with the build out of the chapel area. When he developed an interest in motorcycles, Pastor Stearman organized a ministry for bikers. The annual “Ride and Provide” was organized for interested bikers, as well as non-bikers, to spend a missions weekend providing a face lift to smaller, struggling churches on the Colorado District. Upon leaving DFC, Pastor Stearman has continued to remain active in ministry.
In July 2009 Pastor Shawn Siegfreid felt the Lord leading him to Denver First Church and the church leadership voted unanimously, and the congregation was excited for this transition as well. Pastor Shawn has challenged us to be concerned for the people in the “cars on Hampden” and to live a life of evangelism. Not long after his arrival Pastor Siegfreid caught the vision that had started with Pastor Wellman to expand the facility and add multi use spaces. In 2013 the Yes! Project was formally started and in June of 2015 we moved into the new Atrium and Gymnasium spaces. We look to our future with great anticipation of what God has in store for us. He has been faithful and we want to continue to follow His lead. Join us in the journey!
"I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt 16:18