A Short History and Background of NationStrategy by Ed Delph
"There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come" - Victor Hugo
"There’s a stronghold of opportunity in our communities and we need to take a strong hold of it." - Pastor Bruce Benge, Hamilton, New Zealand
I am a native of Phoenix, Arizona and have served in three different churches in the Phoenix area. The churches are Grace Community Church in Tempe, Northwest Community Church in Phoenix and Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Phoenix. I was the senior pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship when it started in 1987. Hosanna grew very quickly from 36 people to services of over 1000 in a few years. We had a very strong influence in the Phoenix Metro area for a number of years.
The problem with Hosanna was that we were a "Christian fellowship." We experienced high growth but it was all transfer growth. At the height of our numerical growth and influence, God gave me a vision or prophetic statement. Here is what He made completely clear to me in a statement I could identify with. "Trade in your Corvette and get a minivan." Being a former national record holder in drag racing, I could identify with that. As a Christian fellowship all we were doing was 'drag racing' other churches around town. We only had two seats in our 'Corvette.' We were fast but barren. God wanted our church to get married and have our own spiritual children, to grow a family and thus grow through conversion growth.
That started us on a journey toward my second book, Church @ Community. The idea is since the community is not coming to church, the church has to go to the community. We were to make insider information, outsider information. After all, salt can’t flavor what is doesn’t touch. We were blessed to be a blessing, not hoard a blessing. There will be no transformation without incarnation. A servant will go where theology won’t. In other words, if they can’t see us, they won’t be us.
It was that word from God that started a change in me. I remember seeking council on what I should do with Al Ells and Gary Kinnaman. Their statement was, "Ed, you can pastor 800 people or you can change the world. What do you want to do?" So, I gave up being the full time pastor of a local church to carry this idea all over the world. I had moved from an 'a church' to a 'the church' paradigm. Thus, Nationstrategy was conceived.
So, in 2001, I shifted from being a pastor to a church to being a pastor to pastors wanting to grow their church by growing their community. I like to call myself a 'grandpastor.' Jeremiah substantiates this in his statement in Jeremiah 27:9. "Seek the welfare (shalom) of the city where I have sent you into captivity, for in your city's welfare, you will have welfare." In today’s world in like Jeremiah's, you grow your church by growing the community. Don’t find fault, find a remedy. We’re here because they’re here.
Nationstrategy came into existence as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation in 2001 and started ministry in 2002. Since then I have ministered in over 1000 formal sessions in church, business, government, and media/entertainment empowering leaders, pastors and congregations to be the change in their community. We have had tremendous favor with God and favor with man. I have spoken in the Australian Parliament, stayed at Prime ministers homes, been on countless internationally viewed television and radio programs, and have changed whole nation’s perceptions of God, church and the people of God. We have been both the inspiration and an important facilitator in building a home for a family right here in Phoenix that was completely paid for by community businesses and people. We have revealed 'mindskins' that have created 'wineskins' and environments for community transformation and enhancement.
Let me conclude by saying this. We feel there are three basic types of churches. First of all, there are Christian fellowships. They tend to be upward and inward but struggle at outward. They are fellowships, a bunch of Christian fellows in the same ship. Then, there are community churches. A community church tends to take from the community but not give anything back to the community. They are a bubble of activity but not effective in making communities better. Lastly, and this is what we at Nationstrategy believe in, there is the church for the community. A church for the community is involved in the community. They are raising up tomorrow’s leaders today for the community. They understand that they are here for the community.
Our mission to churches is to help churches grow by growing their community. We create a new dimension in connecting the church and the community by strategically uniting faith in culture. We help them to both evangelize and civilize, producing a Godly influence in their community, and favor with God and man. We create a church-community connection. Incidentally, the potential for conversions to Jesus are staggering. If churches would engage the community in real and tangible ways, which is God’s primary pattern, you can turn the world right side up!
This is a brief explanation into how Nationstrategy came into existence. It started with a prophetic idea and has ended up changing the world for many, many churches and people. God has given us the power to change, to move from revelation to reality, from dream to done and from invisible to visible.