Last week, the Antioch Summit held by Antioch21 gathered more than 800 pastors, missionaries and believers from over 100 churches and 20 missions agencies for the sake of one thing — the Great Commission.
Speaking to nearly 300 pastors and leaders on Day 1 of the Summit, JOSEPH CHEAN (Strategic Coordinator of Antioch21) launched the Decade of Missions: a vision for how churches in Singapore can be involved in global missions over the next 10 years, as well as specific faith goals to be achieved by the year 2033 (which is about 2,000 years since the Resurrection and Pentecost).
“Antioch is not a title. We are not aiming to be number one.”
“We just want to love the Lord. We just want to express God’s love for all nations and all people.”
These were the words shared by Chean as he launched the Decade of Missions at the Antioch Summit, words that encapsulated the heart behind the missional vision for Singapore for the road ahead.
Singapore’s missions landscape
Chean then took some time to lay out the facts.
From 1990 to 2000, based on the National Missions Survey 2000, Singapore sent out more than 650 missionaries even though there were only slightly more than 300 churches in the nation at that point in time.
In his 2011 book The Future Of The Global Church, Patrick Johnstone singled Singapore out as the only country that “sends out more missionaries than it has churches”.
From the year 2000 to the year 2010, the number of missionaries sent from Singapore held steady at 693. However, that number dropped to between 428 and 560 in the following decade (2010-2020).
These figures were recorded before COVID-19 hit the world. The actual number of missionaries in the field today is expected to be even lower, because many of them have returned to Singapore due to the pandemic and retirement.
Indeed, the National Missions Study 2019 by the Singapore Centre for Global Missions also shows that most of the Singaporean missionaries in the field are aged between 50 to 59 years old, while those who are 60 to 69 years old make up the second largest group.
Many of these missionaries are part of those who were sent back in the 1990s, and many of them are beginning to retire.
If we do nothing, if young people remain uninterested and uninvolved in missions, the number of missionaries from Singapore will only continue to drop.
And the Singapore Church will fail to live up to our call to be an Antioch of Asia.
Why the Decade of Missions?
Chean shared that the missions revival in the 1990s did not just happen by chance.
He found out that in the year 1991, a group of senior pastors and missions leaders had gathered together to set missional goals for the decade. They prayed, sought the Lord and set goals together for the Singapore Church.
Ten years later, some of the pastors and leaders came together again to relook the goals they had set. They found out that the goals had been fulfilled, even without including the numbers from those who were not present at the second meeting.
That was the inspiration for the Decade of Missions, which runs from 2023 to 2033.
Chean shared that the goal is “to raise a missionary force of all generations, within the next decade, to be launched into the gateway cities and least reached places, to reach the lost, the unreached and the unengaged people groups in Asia and beyond”.
2033 is estimated to be 2,000 years after the Resurrection, the Pentecost and after the Early Church. There are also global movements targeting 2033 as the year to reach every person on earth with the gospel.
“Singapore, as an Antioch of Asia, must participate in this global endeavour, to contribute our part to fulfil Christ’s mandate to the global Church,” affirmed Chean.
Here are some of the faith goals for the Decade of Missions:
- To mobilise 80% of evangelical churches to engage in missions
- To send 1,000 Singaporean missionaries and 300 foreign missionaries into the nations, for a minimum period of 2 years
– To plant 500 new churches globally
– To adopt and actively engage 50 Unreached People Groups
– To pioneer 100 wholistic mission initiatives (including medical, education, business, community development)
- To raise S$10 million for missional work (including seed funds for smaller churches, post field support for returning missionaries)
Speaking after the Summit, Chean also shared some estimates about believers who responded to the altar calls.
- Around 30 will be going to the mission field for a minimum of 2 years by December 2024
- More than 100 have committed to go for 2 years in the next 10 years
- More than 150 have committed to 1361 exploration
1361 refers to the format of short-term missions programmes that Antioch 21 will help believers go on based on their talents and skillsets; the short-term mission trips to explore one’s missional call will range from “1” month, to “3” months and so on.
What is your role in this?
As he concluded the launch, Chean urged all the attendees to pray and ask God: “Where are You calling my local church to be involved in?”
“This is not a work of Joseph Chean. This is not a work of Antioch21. This work must be driven by the power of the Holy Spirit,” he emphasised.
“Where are You calling my local church to be involved in?”
Rev Chan Siew Chye who oversees missions in Christ Methodist Church also shared this with our writer after hearing about the launch. “It’s not enough that we just hear from God at one point. When we talk about the Decade of Missions, we need to keep hearing from God and keep spurring one another on.”
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)
God’s longing is to see every nation and every people group filled with an understanding of who He is.
His desire is that everyone will be given an opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9).
Are you aligned with this desire of God? Consider your talents, gifts and skillsets — how is God calling you to be involved today?
Thir.st will continue to share more coverage from the other segments of the Antioch Summit. Keep a look out for our upcoming articles to find out how you can grow your heart for missions and even better — get involved!
- What gifts, talents and skillsets do you have?
- If you don’t know, speak to someone who might have some insight into your life and ask them.
- What is one practical thing you can do to steward your call to missions?