What would you call someone who came to Christ at a Billy Graham event in 1955; who doesn’t consider retirement an option, even in his 70s; who’s fueled by the Great Commission and disgusted by wasting time; and who’s “mega-motivated to see everyone in the world given the Gospel at least once”? You’d call him George Verwer, founder of the worldwide Operation Mobilization (OM) ministry.
“We’re in 110 nations with four different ships, these big ocean liners that we convert into book exhibits,” he says. “The ships have reached 100 million with the Word of God.” The Logos Hope is their present-day floating ministry vessel, which according to om.org, helps to “motivate, develop and equip people for world evangelization, and to strengthen and help plant churches, especially among the least reached.”
GEORGE FOR REAL
George for Real is a 55-minute documentary film about Verwer’s life and the genesis of the OM ministry. No doubt impacted by a father who built the family home from the ground up only to sell it later to put more money into global missions, Verwer’s flame for evangelism was stoked by his years at Moody in the late 1950s. Organizing and taking missions trips to Mexico City in his early days laid the foundation for what later became OM. Subsequent trips to Spain and India begat the fledgling ministry.
As depicted in George for Real, Verwer was so missions-minded that while at Moody he spearheaded the sale of his and others’ personal possessions to further the cause of the Gospel.
“God is really using this film, especially since so many young people don’t read many books,” says Verwer.
EVERY CHRISTIAN A DISTRIBUTOR
“We need to be encouraged,” he says. “I think we need to find new ways to get the books out, and I think we have to have a greater focus on training every believer to have a stock of books and to be ready to give them away. Different books suit different people. I call this my ‘ECAD’ program—Every Christian a Distributor.
“So if you were at one of my meetings, even a meeting with 100 people, you’d see 1,000 books. I supply a bag. I encourage people to fill that bag and give those books away. I gave away 100,000 books through this method last year. This isn’t OM worldwide; this is just me, George Verwer, at these meetings.”
Verwer notes many people have never had a Christian book. “I just spent many hours with Philip Yancey at his home in the mountains. He’s sold 16 million books globally. Yet 300 million people live in America. So, we need a mobilization. That’s why I named this movement in 1961 Operation Mobilization. We’re still doing it.”
SHARING IT BETTER
“The bigger book market is international,” says Verwer. “The Latin America market is largely untouched. We’re selling millions of books in India. We’re going to face tough times. We can’t be discouraged by tough times. The saddest thing is so many Christians don’t share their faith. Once people start sharing their faith, they’re going to want to get tools to share their faith better. Praise God for every exception.”
Verwer is a big proponent of sharing God’s grace and cites Chuck Swindoll’s Grace Awakening as a very influential book in his life—but make no mistake, the Bible is his sourcebook. He states in George for Real that “the most important thing in my life is not just getting into the Word,but allowing the Word of God to get into me … God has led me one step at a time … it’s the priority of prayer and seeking the face of God on a daily basis. It’s being open to the counsel of others, especially older believers.”