The global Evangelical community is mourning the loss of George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization (OM), who passed away at his home near London on April 14 at the age of 84. Verwer directed OM for 45 years and was widely respected for his “radical” devotion to spreading the Gospel.
In a statement released by OM, Verwer’s family said he passed away peacefully with them by his side. His death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from ministry leaders around the world who have been touched by his work.
“George was a man of compassion and love who had a passion for the suffering and lost world,” KP Yohannan, who founded Gospel for Asia, a mission organization that focuses on reaching the unreached people groups in Asia, told The Christian Post. “He was full of grace. He had compassion for everyone, good or bad. He literally walked on the narrow himself, but never condemned anyone else.”
Verwer was born in 1938 in New Jersey, but spent most of his life in the UK. In 1957, at the age of 19, he founded Operation Mobilization with the aim of spreading the Gospel around the world. The organization has since grown to become one of the largest mission agencies in the world, with a presence in over 100 countries.
Verwer was known for his “radical” approach to ministry, which involved living among the people he was trying to reach and adapting his message to their cultural context. He was also passionate about mobilizing young people for missions and empowering them to make a difference in the world.
After meeting Drena Knecht at Moody Bible Institute, George Verwer and Knecht tied the knot in 1960. To fund their six-month outreach to Mexico City, they sold some of their wedding gifts. Later, the couple moved to Spain, where they established OM’s work in the country. During the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, OM rapidly expanded its presence, first across Europe and the Middle East, and then by sending volunteers to crew ocean-going ships.
Yohannan first crossed paths with Verwer in India. At the time, Yohannan was a 17-year-old who went barefoot and could barely speak English. However, Verwer’s passion and dedication to serving the marginalized deeply impacted Yohannan. “He was like Jesus Himself; he appeared before us and talked about his pain and agony for suffering people, people that never heard God’s name and could not find any hope,” Yohannan said.
His impact on global Evangelical missions has been immense, with many ministry leaders crediting him with inspiring their own work.
As the global Evangelical community mourns his loss, Verwer’s legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations of young people to devote themselves to spreading the Gospel and making a difference in the world.