Dr Syn’s book, On Being the Antioch of Asia is insightful in identifying the challenges Singapore churches face in developing and maintaining their own in-house “local church-based mission agency”. Leaving behind past disappointments in collaboration, he provides suggestions on how to develop new ways in which local churches can collaborate with mission agencies, combining the strengths of both local churches and mission agencies, to more effectively realise the vision Singaporean churches have of their city being the Antioch of Asia. I would commend this book to all who have a passion for fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to and by His Church.
Pastor Edward Oh
Senior Pastor, Bethesda Pasir Ris Mission Church (2011–2017)
I so wish I had had the chance to read this when I became a missions pastor more than seven years ago—it would have benefited me tremendously during my time in the role. As I read the book, I kept getting ideas and thinking of things I would have done differently if I had this information before!
Pastor Cameron Walcott
Pastor, The Cornerstone Michigan Former Missions Pastor, Cornerstone Community Church, Singapore (2010–2016)
The modern era of missions witnessed the outsourcing of mission to the parachurch mission agencies. More and more, there are growing signs of a call for a new paradigm wherein the Church may have a more direct role and ownership. From the lenses of his observation of the main trends in the Singapore Church, W M Syn courageously invites us all to a critical analysis of the status quo and to a discernment of the opportunities and challenges that shape the future of missions work. This book is both timely and thought-provoking.
Dr Michel Kenmogne
Executive Director, SIL International
For five decades I have been involved in pastoral ministry, mission agencies and parachurch organisations, but have not seen a discussion on such a topic put into writing before. W M Syn has interviewed mission leaders and presents us with all the pros and cons of local church direct sending versus sending via mission agencies. On Being the Antioch of Asia is a book for every pastor, mission pastor, local church mission board and all youths who are considering missionary service.
Rev Dr Alfred C H Yeo
Scripture Union, Singapore
Through fog-dissipating questions and attentive listening to the voices of participants, Dr. Syn’s micro-analysis of possible Antioch-like partnerships between Singaporean churches and mission agencies provides a possible model for developing Antioch-like partnerships on the macro (international) level.
Dr Tom Steffen
Emeritus Professor of Intercultural Studies COOK School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University
A compelling read for all involved in world missions! Open and frank discussions with no-holds-barred dialogues. The dearth of long-term missionaries calls for drastic re-alignment of new partnerships. Creative and adaptable ideas propounded for workers being sent to the field. W M Syn captures all these as he opens the doors for us to eavesdrop on his discussions with 65 mission leaders. All stakeholders could do better. This book tugs at our heartstrings and challenges us to make changes—for Kingdom’s sake.
Rev. Louis Lau
Dean at Asian Cross-Cultural Training Institute (ACTI) OMF Missionary in Japan
The idea of Singapore as the Antioch of Asia has been around for nearly 40 years and I applaud W M Syn’s timely exploration and discussion of this concept. As global missions is shifting towards the non-Western world, the Singapore Church needs to re-envision how we are to engage in global missions in a changing and changed landscape. Global missions has shifted towards the non-Western world and also moved towards a greater church ownership. W M Syn’s book documents the needed research and learning from Singapore’s context as we seek a strengthening of the relationship between the local church and the mission agency, the “two structures of God’s redemptive enterprise”. We pray for God to use this book to mobilise the universal priesthood of believers towards a greater partnership for God’s mission.
National Director, Singapore Centre for Global Missions
In 2018, Singapore remembers Billy Graham’s statement, 40 years ago, on Singapore being the “Antioch of Asia”. Since 1978, Singapore has been increasingly engaging with what it means to be an Antioch and have attempted various endeavours to fulfill that call—some churches partnered with mission agencies and others direct-sent their missionaries. On Being the Antioch of Asia is a reflection of the tension between the local church and the mobile church (missions agencies) over the last 40 years. W M Syn has respectfully and sensitively collected all these stories and placed them before us. I believe if we would pay attention to this material and engage in healthy and respectful dialogue, the Church in Singapore will see a greater depth of unity and appreciation of each other’s unique gifting and calling, working towards the same goal—that Christ be known amongst the last, the least and the lost.
President of Fellowship of Missional Organisations of Singapore (FOMOS) National Director, YWAM Singapore
The tripartite relationship between the missionary, the sending church and the mission agency is increasingly fraught with tensions and unmet expectations. More and more churches in Singapore are choosing to send their missionaries to the field, forgoing the partnerships with the mission agencies. On Being the Antioch of Asia addresses this relationship through in-depth interviews and offers careful analysis of the presenting issues. W M Syn adopts a posture of listening and he deeply understands the rules of engagement with all parties. Stakeholders in missions ought to read this book and enter into dialogue with each other if they are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission.
Dr Desmond Soh
Associate Professor, Singapore Bible College
At Missio Nexus we say, “The Great Commission is too big for anyone to accomplish alone and too important not to try to do together.” W M Syn has written a well-researched book on how we can and should think about doing the Great Commission together.
Dr Ted Esler, PhD
President, Missio Nexus