Listen: Hope Afternoon's Ben McEachen chats with Alex Lee – incoming lead pastor of C3 Sydney – about how we can find joy, even during lockdown
How have our churches been helping local communities during lockdown and what lessons have they been learning? Hope Afternoons has interviewed church leaders across Greater Sydney to find out how God’s people are loving their neighbours, and each Sunday and Wednesday throughout October we are sharing what they had to say.
Alex Lee is incoming lead pastor of C3 Sydney Church.
Alex, what has your C3 Sydney learned during lockdown?
“The big things which stand out are that connection and community are vital. Ultimately, they are what church is all about. Church isn’t a building; church is people.”
“Maintaining and really focusing in on connection has been really important, and that’s also where we feel like we’ve been able to help and serve people at this time.
“We are trying to be bringers of good news and hope.”
How have C3 churches been helping their local communities during the pandemic?
“We have things which we do collectively and we also have a culture of trying to be people who reach out through our ‘Connect Groups’, our small groups.”
“People are making their neighbour a meal or making phone calls, or going on walks with people we know are doing it tough.
“People are making their neighbour a meal or making phone calls, or going on walks with people we know are doing it tough,” – Pastor Alex Lee, C3 Sydney Church
“We also have some specific things we do through C3 Cares, such as food hampers and providing practical help and support for people.
“We also have provided financial assistance through generosity of our church members.
“We’ve said to our church members, ‘Hey, if you’re in a position to be able to be generous and help somebody at the moment, here’s where you can give.’ People can then apply for that at our website.
“We’re trying to do what we can to help.
“We have an ‘Everywoman Conference’ coming up which will be a free, online gathering that hopefully will be encouraging.”
Alex, can you also offer us a word of encouragement during these lockdown times?
“Something we have been looking at as a church is the book of Philippians in the Bible. It talks a lot about joy.”
“It’s written by a guy called Paul, the apostle. The interesting thing is he’s writing to this church in Philippi [Greece] about joy but he’s not writing about it from a beach or a holiday.
“He’s writing to them from prison; he is, literally, locked down.
“[Paul the apostle’s] writing to them from prison; he is, literally, locked down,” – Pastor Alex Lee, C3 Sydney Church
“Because of what he has found in God and Jesus, he has what I call ‘durable joy’. It’s not joy that comes and goes. And it’s not happiness.
“The word ‘happy’ is linked to the word ‘happen’ – and happiness is usually linked with what is happening. So, I’m happy if things are going well. I’m unhappy if things are going bad.
“But we know that in God and Jesus there is a joy that goes beyond what is happening. It’s not a joy found in the pursuit of happiness.
“We know that in God and Jesus there is a joy that goes beyond what is happening. It’s not a joy found in the pursuit of happiness,” – Pastor Alex Lee, C3 Sydney Church
“It’s a joy found in the person of Jesus.
“In this time, if you can find Christ in the midst of it, you are going to find a source of joy that goes beyond what is happening in the news or our really tough current circumstances.
“There is a joy that surpasses all of that and it is truly found in Christ Jesus.”
Please, pray with Alex.
We come to you in the name of Jesus
We thank you that, in the midst of every struggle and every challenge, you are with us.
We thank you that you are for us – and you love us.
We thank you in the name of Jesus for your covering, your strength, and for joy.
Feature image: C3 SYD Facebook