Steve Williams is the Founding pastor of Northpointe Community Church in Fresno. In the early days of the church, financial support provided from the Kendall Fund at the Baptist Foundation of California helped make a difference for their young congregation. Now that same Fund is assisting his son-in-law and daughter, Josh and Lauren Dolarian, who are starting a new work called Thrive Church.
“The Kendall’s are heroes of the faith for me,” shared Williams. “In the beginnings of Northpointe, we started with nothing. The money from the Kendall Fund was an enormous blessing, paying a portion of my salary for the first few months.”
George and Teddie Kendall, the Fund’s namesake, were no strangers to the challenges of church planting. For almost fifty years, this frugal couple were iconic leaders in Northern California Baptist work, tireless in their efforts to establish churches in the dense rural communities of the region. While George pastored, preached, and mentored countless young leaders, Teddie provided the income to sustain them through her career as a schoolteacher.
“Their tenacity has lasted well beyond their lifetimes,” explained Jonathan Jarboe, president of The Baptist Foundation of California. “Through their wise investment and discipline, the couple was able to begin the endowment fund with $182,000 at the Foundation to help new churches start strong. And even after generations of distributing grants, the Fund has grown to more than $1.3 million and continues to give encouragement and support to new church work.”
In light of the pandemic, Josh says Thrive Church is starting during a very unique point in history. “We are determined to proclaim the Gospel clearly so that people can learn to thrive, no matter the circumstances, through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The support from the Kendall Fund is an answer to our church’s prayers during this start-up period and a living testimony to God’s faithfulness during an uncertain season. We trust our work will reflect the Kendall legacy and their commitment to helping churches proclaim the Gospel,” Josh told Pathways.