Singapore: A Missionary Nation

Singapore: A Missionary Nation

Written by: Lemuel Teo (Photo by: Burning Hearts)

Interview with Brian Kim

This year’s Burning Hearts Conference was held from 13–15 July at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Believers across local churches and delegates from the houses of prayer in Singapore and the surrounding Southeast Asia nations gathered to worship Jesus and to hear His word.

In this interview, I speak with Brian Kim, one of the four speakers at the conference. He is the founder and president of the Antioch Center for Training and Sending (ACTS) based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mission of ACTS is to raise up young leaders to make disciples amongst the unreached through worship and prayer and tireless church planting. Speaking with Brian felt like catching up with a dear brother-in-Christ. He peppers his speech with friendly jibes, yet underneath his affable manner lies a deep sense of conviction in what God has called him to do.

What did God put on your heart when you started ACTS?

What I wanted to see coming out from ACTS was for young men and women to live with the same kind of heroic virtues that the missionaries of old lived with, and from there to reach the unreached people groups around the world.

Today, when we think of the heroes of global missions, we would think of stories a hundred, even two hundred, years old — the Hudson Taylors, the Amy Carmichaels, and the Gladys Aylwards. They are our inspiration to go to the same lengths to live according to God’s will for us. These missionaries have given us permission to live absolutely and wholeheartedly for God.

Through ACTS, you are training young leaders to pioneer churches and houses of prayer all over the world. In working with many young people, what are your thoughts about the millennial generation?

I think the millennial generation is going to be the greatest generation the world has ever seen. Right now, however, it is a victim of low expectations. The thing we have to overcome is the status quo.

People say all sorts of things about the millennial generation. Some say that we are too lazy or too idealistic. But I think God wants to remove these labels of the millennial generation. Ultimately, when we look back decades from now, we will see that God has anointed this generation, not just to serve the church in our own nation, but to serve the unreached people around the world.

Millennials are altruistic and there is a certain kind of idealism in us. In my perspective, this is a redemptive gift (given by God) to this generation. It is through simply obeying or surrendering to the purposes of God that our generation will rise above the low expectations, thereby entering into the fullness of our destiny.

As one of the speakers for the Burning Hearts Conference, what has God placed on your heart for Singapore?

I believe that Singapore is called, as an island nation, to lift up its voice in worship. Singapore was always meant to lead the worship movement — not just for Asia, but around the world. So when I think of Singapore and its destiny, I think of it as a nation that has been set apart as a kingdom of priests to worship God day and night.

As a missionary nation, what Singapore is going to ultimately do is inspire believers all around the world. You will ask, “God, how far will You let me go? How abandoned will You let me be?” And from that place as He commands us to go to the nations of the earth, nothing will stop the church of Singapore.

If Singapore doesn’t enter into the fullness of her destiny, then our generation will miss something of God that He has for us all.

What has struck you the most about Singapore?

The multicultural identity of Singapore is unusual. I grew up living right outside New York City — we call it a “melting pot” where different cultures come together. But the harmony and unity which exists in Singapore, with its different cultures, is unique. I think of the Biblical cities — Ephesus and Antioch were multicultural cities that had influence which superseded their sizes.

I think of Singapore in the same way: Even though it’s a small city-state, it has an outsized influence compared to its physical size. God has anointed Singapore as a nation to touch the ends of the earth.

When I think of Singapore, I go, “What a unique nation! Like the city-states of Ephesus and Antioch, Singapore is to be marked by revival — birthed in revival, and sustained by anointed leadership.”

It’s interesting that you brought up the city of Antioch. In fact, Singapore has been called “the Antioch of Asia.” What are your thoughts surrounding this?

When I think of Singapore as the Antioch of Asia, its multicultural identity comes to mind — it is a place where the nations can easily flow into and out of. When outsiders think of Singapore, we think of it as a world-class city, a city like few other cities on the earth. The prophetic destiny of Singapore is to be like the city and the church of Antioch in Acts 13.

Like the church in Antioch, the church in Singapore should have multicultural leadership. They were not known just for ministry activity, they were known for giving themselves to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Out of that place, God asked them to set apart anointed leaders who would go to the ends of the earth to do what He had called them to do — in my view, this is the calling of Singapore as the Antioch of Asia.

What does multicultural leadership in Singapore look like to you?

I think multiculturalism is not simply this “touchy-feely” thing, where it just tickles the emotions, nor is it just politically correct language. It was always the intention of God to bring the nations together, that we will put aside whatever cultural differences we have, in which we might say, “We come under one banner, the banner of the cross.” As our identity is built primarily around the person of Jesus, we can celebrate the diversity that God has for us in a multicultural environment.

Also, God wants to call the young generation of Singapore out of the caves of insecurity — to reject the status quo of mediocrity, and to enter into the fullness of their calling. He has called them to not just be one among many, but to be the head and not the tail.

This is the calling of Singapore in this hour.

How can Singapore step into her destiny?

Personally, whether Singapore steps into her calling as the Antioch of Asia is dependent on the local church. The local church is the place by which God says, “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers” (Acts 13:1, NIV). The calling of Singapore is to be both prophets and teachers — teaching the nations of the earth the Word of God, propagating the gospel, and advancing the gospel to the ends of the earth.

You spoke on suffering on the first night and mentioned that for many Christians, persecution feels unfamiliar and foreign; yet trials and suffering should be expected of every believer. What does the Singapore Church need to understand about suffering?

Singapore is similar to the rich young ruler in scripture, where it has an ability to say, “Lord, I’ve done all these things. I’ve kept the law. I’ve been perfect.” And then all of a sudden, Jesus asks, “But am I worth more than everything to you?” (See Matthew 19)

It’s not simply suffering for the sake of suffering. What suffering does is to put the beauty of Jesus on display. We say, “Even if I must endure these things, Lord, you are more than enough.”

Suffering is being able to fellowship with Jesus in the same way He chose to suffer. In suffering we say that Jesus is truly more than enough. It tells a world that doesn’t really believe us, that even unto death, there are some things and there is someone worth suffering and dying for — that’s how beautiful and glorious Jesus is.

 

LEMUEL enjoys good conversations over a cup of kopitiam kopi. He connects with God while playing the piano and is frequently in awe of His creation—sunsets, sea breezes, and tropical downpours. View his attempts at capturing interesting or beautiful moments @lemuelteo.

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