Ps Carly Lewis
C3 Cares Pastor and Location Pastor of C3 Merrylands
Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
In 2010 the Lord started speaking to me about starting a service specifically to reach out to those outside our church walls who were struggling in need, crisis and isolation. It was outside my comfort zone but I was reminded, ‘How will they know unless we go tell them?’
A small team of us began with one lady who was a local shut-in. We had a meal together and shared the gospel, helping her with a food hamper and clothing. It wasn’t a dramatic event and I’m not sure if she even accepted the Lord, but it was a start.
We started to help people struggling with addiction, homelessness, mental health challenges, poverty, loneliness and refugees every Thursday. Local agencies referred their clients to us and we’d help practically, chat over a meal, share the good news of Jesus and give them a Bible.
Since then we have gone into local community halls and cast the net wide, inviting people in for dinner and a message of hope. From those early beginnings C3Cares has grown to 20+ locations, being run by a variety of C3 Churches.
The provision of the Lord has been phenomenal! Over the past 5 years He has taken what we have and multiplied it. To date we’ve distributed nearly AUD $1 million worth of food, clothing and household items. We have started job skills programs, English groups, life skills classes and even ‘Sydney’s Largest Free Clothing room’ all with the goal to share the love of Jesus.
In this time over 1000 people have responded to the salvation prayer at outreach services. We watch people who come in guarded and broken, soften to the love of God and His transforming power through simple acts of kindness and miracle answers to prayer.
I’ll never forget the day Trevor* walked in. He was older and tired-looking. He opened up and shared with us that he had two choices that day. The first one was to walk in front of a train. The second was to walk to “that church that had helped him with a food hamper that one time.” He accepted Christ and we are so glad he chose the second option that day!
We see Muslim people regularly walk through our doors of community dinners eager for a Bible and to know more about Jesus. Fatima* is a local Afghani woman who came to Australia recently with nothing, her husband left her when they arrived and she has no support. We were able to connect with her and she now attends Church every Sunday with her children learning about Jesus in C3 Kids!
Gerald* lost his wife last year and has no other family. He tells us the isolation is overwhelming. He now joins us every week and is going great with the Lord. He has also become mates with Gerry* whom we met at one of our community dinners. He accepted Jesus, was water baptised and we are so proud of him as he is now, a year later, attending C3 College to pursue his dream of ministry to others.
Waw* is a Burmese tailor who has struggled with unemployment. We met him in our job skills program. He now attends Church each week, has his own Bible in the Karen language and even helps us when other Burmese people come along to services.
There is story after story of lives being transformed. It’s all the Lord’s idea, all his heart for people. He devises plans to bring the lost home to Him (2 Samuel 14:14). It’s exciting to be part of His team!