Quick facts first: Antioch 21 was the brainchild of the late Pastor Rick Seaward, who first launched Antioch 21 in 2003 as an initiative to push Singapore towards its calling as Antioch of Asia (first prophesied by the late Rev Dr Billy Graham in 1978).

Antioch 21 was then relaunched in November 2021 under the leadership of Joseph Chean, Chairperson of FOMOS, as the global missions arm of LoveSingapore. The goal is to catalyse Singapore’s obedience to the Great Commission and pursue Singapore’s Antioch call. 

I’ll be honest. Missions has never been something that I felt prompted to take part in, but I recognise the importance of it. 

So I contribute in ways that I think are sufficient and feasible, like tithing for missions and sharing stories from the mission field to my cell group in hopes that someone else would catch the heart for it. 

However, attending Antioch 21’s consultation session made me reconsider the way I view missions through these following revelations…

Your personal destiny is intricately entwined with the destiny of the nation

When Pastor Eugene first said this, I had absolutely no idea what it meant. But after asking around, it made sense.

The “direction” of a nation closely influences the “direction” that its citizens take, and vice versa.

In order for Singapore to be the Antioch of Asia, Singaporeans must catch God’s heart of revival.

Singapore has a unique destiny: we have been called to be the Antioch of Asia.

Our bustling economy and prominent position in the world means we are well-placed to be a great influence on our neighbouring countries.

Our passport, being among the most powerful in the world, enables us to travel to many nations. 

Naturally, this means that we as Singaporeans have great opportunities to carry the Gospel to the places around us.

In order for Singapore to be the Antioch of Asia, Singaporeans must catch God’s heart for the Great Commission.

Singapore being the Antioch of Asia isn’t just something for us to hear and go “wow, that’s pretty cool” — it should stir us to fulfil this calling wherever we go. 

God is pro-active; He didn’t wait for Singapore to call on Him

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’” (Isaiah 65:1)

At Dr Billy Graham’s 1978 Crusade here in Singapore, more than 337,000 people gathered to hear Dr Billy Graham speak at the National Stadium.

Eventually, more than 19,600 would surrender their lives to Jesus. It was also then that Dr Graham prophesied Singapore would be the Antioch of Asia.

“Singapore definitely did not call on God,” said Joseph Chean. “But God founded us and established us.”

During the revival years between the 70s and 80s, God revealed Himself to Singapore in a special way which resulted in great numbers of people saved within our nation.

Hearing that makes me feel immensely grateful. God saved a nation that didn’t even know it needed saving. 

Singapore is not just the Antioch of Asia, we are the Antioch of Antiochs. We are meant to plant churches that will plant churches. 

Recently at a Bible study seminar, I was reminded of the privileged position we have in Singapore, since it is a country that safeguards every citizen’s right to practise their religion.

However, the same can’t be said for the whole of Asia, of which Christians make up less than 8%.

How are we using this privilege? Do we let ourselves fall into the motions of life, forgetting the plentiful harvest fields beyond Singapore’s borders? 

Singapore is not just the Antioch of Asia, we are the Antioch of Antiochs. We are meant to plant churches that will plant churches. 

God founded Singapore and established us. Now, He is calling us to build Antioch churches across the nation that will step into the world and plant more Antioch churches.

The time for harvest is now, but there must be a strategy

There are many believers who can’t wait to put themselves out there for Kingdom purposes (and that’s fantastic) but we need to remember to pause and recalibrate our steps so that we don’t get lost or worn out too easily.

This is where developing strategies come in, said Pastor Eugene.

“With an agreed strategy, there can be many streams but one direction. However, without it, there will be many streams and many directions,” he shared.

For Pastor Eugene, strategies produce values, purposes, motivations and frameworks that will build the foundation beneath why we do what we do.

“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35)

The Bible itself tells us two good strategies we need to have when it comes to God’s work.

From what I learnt at Antioch, the first thing is to “open our eyes”: we cannot take a blind leap of faith into action, and hope that everything will turn out well.

Instead, we need information and observation to help us plan the next best step.

Second, “look at the fields”: we have to identify and assess the right fields we step into. This requires strategic thinking. 

Excitement to obey God is great! However, we must not be too excited to jump into a field that may not even be ripe yet. 

Through Antioch 21, I’ve gained greater insight into what it means for Singapore to be the Antioch of Asia.

Missions may not be the “main ministry” for some of us, but all of our hearts should beat for the Gospel since Jesus gave us the Great Commission. 

Indeed, God has called us to go “into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).

I’m in. Where do I start?

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about as well, and I’d say — start with prayer.

At the heart of revival, is a spirit of prayer. Commit your heart and decision into God’s hands, and ask Him to lead and empower you. 

Talk to your mentor or a trusted leader, and seek guidance for your next step. Allow them to journey with you as you choose to obey God and step into the world. 

You can also consider joining Christian events that will help you discern your calling, and hear from others who share your passion for missions. 

Additionally, find out if your church (or other mission organisations) has missions trips that you can participate in. 

Take the initiative to involve people in this journey of stepping out, and trust that God’s hand is upon you wherever you go! 

  1. Antioch of Asia. What does that phrase mean to you?
  2. If God were to call you to mission overseas today, what would be your response? Why?
  3. What’s one practical thing you have to do in order to live out the Great Commission today?