The Global Impact of George Verwer

EMQ » July–September 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 3

Europe, 1980s: George Verwer preaches during a summer outreach event. PHOTO COURTESY OF OM.

Summary: George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation, passed away on April 14, 2023. His impact in global missions reverberated far beyond the boundaries of OM. God used him to help shape its multicultural and multinational the future. 

By David Greenlee and Greg Kernaghan

George Verwer had a peculiar combination of character and personality that made him unforgettable, but, more importantly, inspirational to untold thousands around the world. Greg Livingstone, who as a Wheaton College sophomore in 1959 was one of the first to join George, challenges us: “George is not inspired; many of us are inspired, and even inspiring. George is anointed. There’s a huge difference.”1 

Since his passing at his home south of London on April 14, 2023, numerous tributes have been posted detailing the life and activities of Operation Mobilization’s founder.2 Rather than repeat biographical facts contained in those accounts, we offer a brief overview of the global impact of this unique man.  

How can we go about “marking George Verwer’s contribution to world mission?” We attempted that twenty years ago, with that phrase the subtitle of Global Passion,3 a volume exploring twenty themes close to George’s heart and presented to him in August 2003 as he graciously and gladly turned over the leadership of OM to Peter Maiden, OM’s International Director until 2013. George evidently felt Global Passion hit the mark; he had it translated into Spanish4 and reprinted in India,5 purchasing over the years thousands of copies to give to pastors, leaders, students, and missionaries. 

In his introduction to the book, Peter Maiden referred to George as a man of one passion but with many proofs of his calling and his heart. He rhetorically asked what one thing we will remember about George’s leadership, and then recognized the impossibility of narrowing it down to one as he explored several themes. 

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