Tributes are being paid to the American founder of Operation Mobilization (OM) George Verwer who has passed away at the age of 84.
Franklin Graham called George a “giant in the world of evangelism” who was saved at one of his father Billy Graham’s rallies in New York at the age of 16.
Archbishop Joseph D’Souza of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church of India described him as “one of the most influential Christian leaders of the last century.”
The Archbishop explained in an obituary published in Christian Today that: “When George was in his 20s, in the late 1950s and 1960s, he responded to cultural upheaval in North America and Europe by offering a radical faith in Jesus Christ to young people searching desperately for meaning in their lives. His Christian message was filled with grace and full of radical discipleship.”
“This is why his message resonated with a whole generation of young Christians who followed him in reaching the world for Christ, whatever the risk and whatever the cost. Those disciples also learned to overcome their fears, flaws and failures.”
George smuggled Bibles into Communist-controlled countries where he was arrested and deported.
He had a vision of “mobilising” busloads of young people into missions which gave his ministry its name 45 years ago.
He pioneered a global short-term missions movement which answered the Lord’s call through his vision.
He was also chief patron of the Good Shepherd Church Movement which has a global presence.
Archbishop D’Souza observed that: “George always paid attention to where the winds of the Spirit were blowing. George was one of the first white missions leaders to fully empower nationals to lead the efforts he initiated in the majority world. George was not only incapable of racism but he never treated anyone less than him.”
“Along the way, he trained, inspired, and knew the majority of the most influential Christian leaders reaching the world with the Gospel. He personally touched the lives of more than 100,000 mission leaders, impacting tens of millions of lives.”
“OM’s work in India would eventually become OM’s most significant work globally, both in personnel and scope. The work George initiated in India was more extensive than all of OM’s considerable work in the rest of the world combined. From the very beginning, George’s Spirit-led gut instincts led him to construct the Indian work in a different way than what was done in the West.”
“From the very inception, the leadership was handed over to the Indians, and from the beginning, he gave complete freedom to develop the strategies and missiology at the local level. When the work in India developed into a full-fledged church movement built around a Kingdom of God paradigm, he supported it without reservation.”
“His humility also displayed his strength. He never hid his flaws. George was fallible, and he made sure everyone knew it. This is why his sermons, books and generous conversations over tea were always seasoned with wisdom and blessed with knowledge.”
“Revered for his faith and relentless dedication, he leaves behind a lasting impact that will continue to inspire future generations.”
His legacy is more than 3,000 OM workers who are currently spreading the Gospel in 150 countries.