“Make God’s greatest concern our greatest concern”: Missions movement Antioch21 relaunched
by Tan Huey Ying // January 21, 2022, 1:47 am
Joseph Chean (far right), with his core team from Antioch21. Though they come from diverse backgrounds, each individual carries God's heart for missions and is actively involved in missions work. All photos by Ian Tan.
“Many streams, one direction.”
It was an assignment that came directly from God.
“What do You mean, Lord?” asked Joseph Chean, National Director of Youth With A Mission Singapore, who for the past one-and-a-half years had been seeking God for direction with regard to the re-launch of Antioch21, the global missions arm of LoveSingapore.
He shared the journey of restarting the Antioch21 movement at the official launch held at Church Of Our Saviour on November 25, 2021.
Go, serve alongside
In 2017, LoveSingapore had invited Chean to join its leadership committee consisting of senior pastors of several churches in Singapore, including Victory Family Centre, Hope Church, Faith Community Baptist Church and Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church.
“I found myself weeping at the kitchen counter.”
Senior Pastor Derek Hong of Good Gifts City Church had conveyed the committee’s invite to Chean and, not long after, God had also spoken to Chean directly in his kitchen.
Chean was cutting vegetables and listening to a song, All The Earth, by Parachute Band.
He was suddenly overcome with emotion when the chorus played: “All the earth will declare, that Your love is everywhere.”
“Somehow, that line gripped me,” shared Chean .“I found myself weeping at the kitchen counter, crying and preparing my food.”
That line resonated with his deepest longing to see God’s love be known everywhere, all around the world. Then he heard God tell him: “Go. Serve alongside LoveSingapore. I am calling you and assigning you to revive and re-launch Antioch21.”
Immediately, Chean said: “I cannot, God.”
Who was he to fulfil such a huge vision of global missions cast by the late Pastor Rick Seaward – those were very big shoes to fill, he thought. The late Pastor Rick was known for his heart for missions, with mission work never far from his mind.
“No, I do not know how to do it,” Chean protested.
But the Lord said: “I will be with you.”
So the first thing Chean did when he joined was to enlist the help of LoveSingapore prayer intercessors, Pastor Edward and Lai Kheng Pousson. Together, they prayed, asking the Lord for His vision and instructions for Antioch21, first launched in 2003.
In 2020, the Lord finally revealed His plans to Chean.
Three streams, interweaving one into the other, coming alongside and flowing in the same direction. The local church, missions agencies and social enterprises in the marketplace to serve the Body of Christ in Singapore, helping it to fulfil its mandate of being the Antioch of Asia.
Many streams, one direction.
“In missions today, you can no longer go into most nations with just a missionary visa,” explained Chean, who leads YWAM Singapore and is the Chairman of the Fellowship Of Missions Organisations of Singapore (FOMOS). “You need a platform to get into those areas. Live out those platforms and at the same time plant churches and reach out to the people there.”
Antioch21 will pull together theologians, strategists, and practitioners from mission agencies to offer the local church the skills, training and even connections to unreached people groups.
This empowers the local church to do well in wherever and whatever God has called them to with regards to world missions, said Chean. It includes helping churches with developing a missions culture at home, learning best practices in crisis management and field-leadership development, even discipling missionaries already in the field.
Chean also envisions Antioch21 to be the “bridge-builder” for innovative missions and strategies with the help of businesses and social enterprises. “We don’t just want to give information, but come alongside the work at the implementation level,” he said. “We want to help you materialise ideas into reality.”
Even those in their teens have a place with Antioch21 through the revival of the Joshua21 movement, which focuses on missions mobilisation for those in their teens and early twenties.
“They may not be able to go right away, but we want to prepare and incubate them for it,” said Chean.
Alignment of hearts
With the full support of the LoveSingapore leadership, Chean gathered more prayer partners from each stream and set about assembling a core team of missions practitioners whom he would lead in championing the movement.
“We, too, were once unreached, but the Lord found us.”
On November 25 last year, the Antioch21 movement was officially re-launched in an event which was also live-streamed.
In the opening speech, LoveSingapore co-founder Pastor Lawrence Khong affirmed the relaunch as “where we’re aligning our hearts with the heart of God” and the “ultimate reason why the Church exists”.
He said: “World missions is Christ’s greatest concern. And Antioch21 seeks to make God’s greatest concern our greatest concern.”
“All the churches in Singapore came from the foundation of missions work that was planted here,” said Chean, noting that Singapore is so small that it is “amazing” how anyone could have located us on a world map. “We, too, were once unreached, but the Lord found us.
“Surely as a nation that has been blessed by God, now, we ought to look out for those who do not have Christians and who do not have churches in them.”
Antioch21 Goers Missions Forum
Antioch21 is organising a brand new initiative called the Goers Mission Forum, specifically targeted at believers who have a serious interest and desire to go to the mission field within the next one to five years, for any duration exceeding a typical short-term mission trip of a few weeks.
Antioch21 intends for the Forum to be a safe space for deep conversations among prospective missionaries and mission practitioners.
The years between hearing God’s call to be a missionary and actually acting upon that call can be a difficult season to navigate.
That space between intention and action is filled with tension. It is often the graveyard of many dreams, including aspirations to become a cross-cultural missionary.
Antioch21 intends for the Forum to be a safe space for deep conversations among prospective missionaries and mission practitioners. By drawing on the strength and wisdom of the Body of Christ, the Forum hopes to better prepare the next generation of Goers from Singapore.
The first Forum will be held in-person on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at St Andrew’s Cathedral.
Issues of calling and ministry preparation will be addressed by guest speaker Dr Tan Lai Yong, known for his development work amongst the people of Yunnan, China. The facilitator is a core team member of Antioch21 who was a missionary to Timor Leste for 14 years.
Register at https://bit.ly/goermissionsforum by Saturday, January 22.
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