The Challenge of Leading a Church in Southeast Fresno

“God has given me the privilege of pastoring this church for 24 years.” says Pastor Elias Lorea.

Family Christian Assembly is located in Southeast Fresno and is nestled in the second poorest zip code in California. This is the church Elias Lorea has pastored for over two decades.

“It has not been an easy endeavor as finances are an issue in this area of town,” says Pastor Eli.

“God has given me the privilege of pastoring this church for 24 years.  It has not been an easy endeavor as our church is located in the second poorest zip code in California. “

Pastor Elias Loera, Family Christian Assembly Church

Despite limited financial resources, Family Christian Assembly has served as a beacon of light to the community. One way the church has done this is through hosting the only kids basketball league south of Shaw Avenue. This basketball league offered a safe way for kids to make friends, get exercise, and learn from healthy adults. The program also provided a way for the church to build relationships with parents and other community members in Southeast Fresno.

Unfortunately, several months ago, the gym became unsafe for kids to play in.

The floor was falling apart, and the space was in such desperate need of renovations, it was not usable for basketball practice.

Gym before renovations ↓

How Generosity Restored the Gym to a Space of Refuge

Several months ago, members of the Ten Talents Foundation team attended a meeting at Family Christian Assembly. During this meeting, God made it clear to the team what an important role the church gym played in their neighborhood and how desperately it needed to be renovated for continued use.

Through intentional and God-ordained conversations, the story was shared with a Ten Talents’ Donor Advised Fund holder. This person eagerly asked that resources in their fund be allocated to help the Family Christian Assembly renovate their gymnasium.

Then, a local contractor heard about the need and offered to put new flooring in the gym for a highly discounted price.

As the renovations neared completion, those who gave to the project financially through their Donor Advised Fund, the Family Christian Assembly leaders, and members of the Ten Talents Foundation staff gathered to pray over the beautiful new space.

Standing in the church gym was a tangible reminder of God’s unmatched ability to connect people’s unique gifts with a community’s practical needs.

“When Ten Talents approached us about partnering with us to remodel and upgrade our gymnasium, we saw the faithfulness of God at work,” says Pastor Eli Loera. “Through generosity, our gym has been transformed from a dark and dreary outdated facility to a bright new room that is welcoming and warm for the kids in our community.

Gym after renovations ↓

The New Gym’s Impact on Kids and Families

“We just completed our Little Hoopsters Basketball league for kids 7 to 12 years old [in the newly renovated gym] and it was a complete success. Eighty kids participated in a thirteen-week league in a safe environment where they prayed before every game and practice,” says Pastor Eli.

Some Little Hoopster children walked into the church gym off the streets. For at least two days a week, these kids found safety and community in the walls of the Family Christian Assembly gym.

“Since the league started in February, our church has also ministered to several families outside the league through our church,” says Pastor Eli. “Three families who were not attending any church are part of our church family now.”

Though You May Never Meet these Little Hoopsters…

“Ten Talents givers may never meet the kids whose confidence is built up through basketball; they may never meet the single mother who cannot afford the expensive leagues on the north side of town but was able to bring her kids to Little Hoopsters. They may never meet the families who spent ten Saturdays together in a church gym rooting on their kids…”

Pastor Eli continues, “[But] I thank Ten Talents [donors] for transforming our gym league and the lives of so many people in our part of town. 

Our people are faithful and so is God.”

Unified Generosity is Making Our Community Look More like Heaven

Hope grows and neighborhoods are transformed when individuals, businesses, families, nonprofits, and churches unify together through the Ten Talents Foundation to connect generosity with our community’s needs.

You have the talents. The Ten Talents Foundation is simply a “hub” designed to bring those talents together. Whether you are a church offering your gym as a safe space for kids to play basketball, a contractor using his skills to install new flooring, a business person helping to fund the project and pray for the children whose little feet will walk across the basketball court, YOU are helping our city and world look more like Heaven.