Joseph Chean

Joseph Chean – known for his lifelong passion for missions – has passed away, aged 56, following a road accident in Istanbul on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

He went the way he lived his life, serving the Lord. He had been on the way back from a week leading a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training School in a nearby country before taking a short break in Istanbul, where the taxi he was in met with the road accident. He passed away due to injuries en route to the hospital. According to local news reports, two others were injured in the accident.

“There are few people I know who lived a life with such love for Jesus. And even fewer who have given up so much to follow His call.”

He leaves behind his wife, Kim, and two daughters, Olivia and Ashley. The family asks not to be contacted as they request their privacy at this time.

Chean was best known for his time with YWAM, which he joined in 1997. Prior to that, he was a Youth Pastor from 1989 to 1997, then a Chaplain’s Assistant in St Andrew’s School.

Earlier this year, he stepped down as National Director of YWAM Singapore to launch the Antioch 21 project, which seeks to mobilise missionaries from Singapore to the nations.

“There are few people I know who lived a life with such love for Jesus. And even fewer who have given up so much to follow His call. I was privileged to serve alongside him and witness his infectious passion first-hand,” said Pastor Jeff Chong, Chairman of LoveSingapore, where Chean was a leading voice for missions.

“What he started must not end with him. I believe there are thousands of lives he has inspired to bring the Gospel to the nations. For those he leaves behind, the greatest tribute we can give him is to pick up the mantle of the Great Commission to the ends of the Earth.”

Added Pastor Lawrence Khong, former Chairman of LoveSingapore: “It is hard to express the grief in my heart. He is a brother and comrade whose heart is filled with love for the lost. He is always thinking how we as a people of God can be more passionate and better mobilised for world evangelism. Let his home-call rekindle within us a new passion for missions.”

Local church Pastors also paid tribute to Chean, a close friend to many over his many years of full-time ministry.

Said Pastor Chua Seng Lee, Senior Pastor of Bethesda Bedok Tampines Church: “Joe is more than a missions mobiliser, more than the leader of YWAM Singapore, more than a partner in missions. He is a brother. He is someone with whom I can share openly my thoughts and feelings. He is a keen listener and a sound adviser. He has been a friend since our Joshua 21 days. My heart bleeds for the loss of a brother so dear.”

Added Pastor Ian Toh, Executive Director, LoveSingapore: “Like Abraham, Joseph Chean is a friend of God. He is also a loyal friend to the nations. His heart pulsates the Father’s love for them. These were Joseph last few words to me on this side of heaven: ‘My heart and mind are fully wrapped in battling Singapore’s destiny and its competitions.’

“His unwavering dedication in loving Singapore and spreading the Gospel will continue to be a beacon of inspiration, igniting a fresh vision for us to carry on his legacy of love and compassion. Till we meet again, my brother.”


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About the author

Edric Sng

Edric was a news editor across digital, newspaper and TV newsrooms in Singapore before he gave it all up to become Editor of Salt&Light and He's a father to five, and husband to one.