Joseph Chean: passionate missions advocate

I was shocked when I heard the news that Joseph Chean, a friend of World Revival Prayer Fellowship, went home to glory, in a car accident while heading towards Istanbul international Airport. He had just stepped down from his position as National Director of YWAM Singapore to carry the torch and lead Antioch 21, the global missions arm of Love Singapore. Many had high hopes that with the re-launch, there would be a major forward movement for the long-held calling that the Singapore church would be the Antioch of Asia. But in one cruel stroke these hopes seem to have been dashed to pieces. 

While many grieve his loss as a passionate missions advocate, a champion of harnessing of youth for missions, and mentor to many young leaders, pastors and missionaries, we know that those that will feel the deepest pain would be his wife and two daughters he left behind. We will do well to uplift this family in prayer, and in the coming months give them space to grieve, as well as support. 

Joseph Chean preached in our church services a few times. He gave us advice on community outreach around Geylang. He gave his time and advice to us. The advice we value the most was his urging for us to add a mission component to our church retreats. Following his advice, we held a few church retreats in Bangkok, and partnered with YWAM’s Ruth Center to bless the elderly living in the slums. Even this past week a mission team from our church had gone to help build an assisted living facility in a farm area many hours from Bangkok, a facility that the elderly poor can find care and community in a self-sustaining farm environment. We owe this ministry involvement to Joesph’s good advice. He is a man of great faith and vision for missions but it was not that way when he first came to Christ. To read Joseph Chean’s faith story go HERE. To hear his heartbeat for missions, watch this video HERE. 

A former missionary mentioned an insight that Antioch 21 was once led by Rev Rick Seaward, whom I consider a modern-day apostle, and he too died in a road accident in Brazil, South America. You can read about Rick Seaward HERE. Now leading a re-launch of Antioch 21 is Joseph Chean, only 57 years old, and he is struck down by another road accident. How do we make sense of these two tragic accidents? Spiritual warfare? Yes certainly. This shows the strategic importance of Antioch 21. Sovereignty of God? Yes certainly. We cannot fully understand this mystery. We can only grieve, pray, and say, “Lord, we do not understand but we trust you! You are loving and will not do evil; You are all powerful and have control of all things. You are wise and do not make mistakes. We cannot see the end from the beginning, so we will trust you completely and absolutely. May these good seeds planted, die in the ground, and regenerate new life, multiply and bring forth much fruit to your greater glory.”

I am reminded of Stephen, the first recorded martyr of the church (Acts 7). The early church must have felt this man of faith and vision was taken home too young, too early. But a few years afterwards, Saul became Paul, the apostle and history maker who turned the world right side up.

Rev Gabriel Han, Apostolic Elder, MFI (Singapore) and former senior pastor of Victory Family Church wrote this succinct but powerful challenge: “Every generation has been blessed with enough men and women called by God to spread the gospel to all the nations. It is not a lack of divine calling, but rather a lack of human response that hinders this mission. Only by surrendering our will to God’s can we truly obey the command to preach to all and go everywhere. Brother Joseph Chean was among those who lived an obedient, prayerful, generous, and surrendered life for God. May his death usher both a new generation of fervent evangelists and missionaries from our city that Asia so desperately needs”.

This Instagram reel I recently made expresses my sentiment about how the harvest is best gathered in.

If you wish to leave some words to testify to the contribution of Joseph Chean to missions or to your personal journey, please feel free to express it in the comment box above for all to be inspired.

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  • I only had one phone call with Brother Joe, but it was pretty unforgettable. I was in the Salt&Light studio last year with the video team, about to interview Lam Baoyan about her recent trip leading a SG missions team to a YWAM base in Germany, where they helped Ukrainian refugees staying there 🇺🇦❤️

    Bro Joe didn’t want us to mention in the video about Baoyan going into Ukraine, because at the time it was sensitive. So he wanted us to re-angle the storyline. Originally the whole storyline was about BY miraculously going into Ukraine. So we had to rewrite the video script on the spot! Even had to call up my Boss about it too haha. In the end, the video turned out great! Maybe better than expected. Thanks to Joe! 🎥🙏🏼

    That’s never happened to me on a video shoot before. But as I reflect on it, I think it’s shown me something about Bro Joe: ❤️

    Joe seriously loved his missionaries. He didn’t want anything to happen to them or to their work. Even if it meant keeping some things private for the time-being. Joe was seriously wise!

    One more thing, I also heard Joe speak at the LoveSG Pastors Prayer Summit this year. At the end of his sharing, he felt led by the Spirit to ask all the missionaries & missions leaders to come up & for everyone to pray for them. That was one of the most touching moments for me at the Summit, & probably one of my biggest memories there. Could feel the Spirit of God touching our hearts for the nations. Thanks, Joe, for being seriously led by the Spirit!

    Just so happen, the day that we heard the news about Joe going home to the Lord, my devotions were on the last chapters of Hebrews, 11-13. Truly Joe is in the Hall of Faith for SG. Praise the Lord, he has now entered the heavenly City, that God has prepared for him. Joe has seriously lived a life for us to follow & has inspired us to follow Jesus! (Hebrews 11:13-16)

    Little did I know, that Joe used Hebrews 12:1 during his last time leading worship at the YWAM base in SG. He has finished his race, & now it’s our turn to finish ours!

    Thank You Lord for the life of Joe. Help us to follow in his footsteps, as well as those of our Lord Jesus Christ, to take Your gospel to the nations. Truly You were glorified in & through Joe’s life. Would You continue to be glorified in & through Your Church in Singapore & in the nations. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 💒🙏🏼

    Hebrews 11:16 ESV
    But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

    Hebrews 12:1 ESV
    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

    Hebrews 13:7-8 ESV
    Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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