Mitch Hammond is lead pastor at C3’s new church in Sydney’s inner suburb of Rozelle – it kicked off on Easter Sunday – as well as being Australia’s representative for YouVersion, the Bible app. Put that another way: he’s a multi-jobbed guy who is eager to do charitably.
“I’ve always felt the need to do something that is specifically and directly related to meeting people’s needs and working to help society,” explains Hammond. “I think that can be done in whatever career you do but, personally, I feel a burden to be on the front line of that.”
Hammond has “pretty much since day one” felt like that, after he became a Christian at 15. Hearing about someone like Hammond can make us feel guilty or inferior, as if he’s ‘that Christian’ who thinks they’re better than everyone else for doing what they do.
“I definitely do not think that,” Hammond chuckles modestly before giving a shout out to those who don’t work in the same space he does. “[Christian] organisations need people out in the workforce doing other things and representing Christ. I think we need each other. Both parts are equally important.”
At his church, Hammond wants everyone to be about serving others, not themselves. He points to C3 Cares, a mission initiative across Sydney locations that involves food banks, clothing shops and outreach to new arrivals and refugees. Those programmes are demonstrations of what Hammond thinks must be in any Christian enterprise.
“[Christian] organisations need people out in the workforce doing other things and representing Christ. I think we need each other. Both parts are equally important.”
“Charity is really, in essence, about generosity and compassion and service. Any organisation that is doing anything in the name of Christ should have that spirit behind it.
“I think that is what Christ represented; he came to bring mercy and justice and compassion, salvation and restoration. Whether it’s a church or Christian charity organisation, it has to have that hallmark on it. If it doesn’t, I don’t think it’s fully doing justice to what Christ gave us.”
As YouVersion’s Australian representative, Hammond meets with Christian churches, leaders, writers and individuals about how Australian content can be part of YouVersion’s repertoire. Add them up, then, and Hammond’s jobs might not instantly cry “charity work.” But Hammond easily sees how so much of what he gets to do is directly aligned with helping others.
“YouVersion’s goal, essentially, is to make the Bible accessible to people all around the world. And I think that’s pretty crucial in this – we have to be careful in charity. It’s a bit of a pendulum where some times we do so many works that the word that initially motivated the works gets diluted or lost.
“The ultimate charity or generosity we can bring to people is the word of God and the promises of God.
“Jesus met physical needs … with care and shelter and community; he created those things. But at the end of the day, they were all bridges to meet our deeper need – which is the level YouVersion comes in at – to bring that word to people.”