My Tribute to George Verwer – a man of God

My Tribute to George Verwer – a man of God

Today, I learned of the passing of George Verwer.

According to Wikipedia: “George Verwer (July 3, 1938 – April 14, 2023) was an evangelist and founder of Operation Mobilisation (OM), a Christian missions organization. Verwer wrote several books on various Christian themes. He was a passionate advocate of radical discipleship as the only legitimate option for people who believe in Jesus. His recent work was in India (Barathdasham in Telugu). Over a million books he has authored have been distributed worldwide”.

Looking back to my teenage years, I can name three persons who have particularly influenced me in the Christian Way, one of whom was George Verwer. In 1970, between leaving school and going to university, I set my mind on taking up a summer job as a dustman (as I did the year previously) but a friend who had been on an OM Summer Crusade the year before persuaded me to join OM instead. I did. It was then I saw and listened to George in the flesh. The OM experience changed my life, in particular helping me to see the importance of radical discipleship and the need for and possibilities of worldwide mission. It also was an opportunity to meet and value Christians who were serious for God, from all over the world and many different backgrounds. From then until now, I have tried to put into practice lessons learnt at that time. After joining OM the following summer, I continued to take an interest in what George did and said, and his many multi-faceted interests. Even after he left OM, I followed and supported projects in which he was involved.

I have seen / listened to George preach, both in the flesh and on tape, and more recently via the Internet. I have read several of his books (three I show above, all most readable and challenging). I have read about him and his activities in the Christian media. I have met him in the flesh and corresponded with him on but a few occasions (counted with less than ten fingers). Throughout that period, I found George to be an inspirational figure and I daresay when tributes come in there will be many who found the same. I recall the last time I corresponded with George, a couple of years back, I took him to task on certain issues that I profoundly disagreed with him on, because I felt he was in the wrong. His response was typically gracious, consistent for one who believed unity mattered.

Less than a week ago, I was alerted to a blog George posted titled George Verwer Final Blog” (see here). The reason it was his final blog was he had become very unwell, although he was still up beat, especially concerning the faithfulness of the God he served and encouraging his listeners. One sensed at the time he recognised he only had a short time left and, despite death coming so soon after posting, the announcement came as no surprise. He mentioned his love for India. It was part through him, India became an important part of my life, including my marrying an Indian bride, exploring that great land that included Christian ministry and meeting many pastors and evangelists who served with and were influenced by OM. In the video he shared what he hoped his legacy would be. I doubt among those who knew him, few would disagree. One thing that struck me compared with when I first came across George the preacher over 50 years ago was, while Gospel oriented still, he had mellowed yet still retaining his dry sense of humour, as was evidenced by his account of him being washed by his carers.

I have learned in life NOT to put my faith in man and however holy, wise etc. a person appears to be, as there is only one who can claim perfection – the Lord Jesus Christ. My last missive to George is evidence (imo) of this. Notwithstanding, I believe the legacy of the one who I refer to as a man of God will be seen as phenomenal.


One thought on “My Tribute to George Verwer – a man of God

  1. Kostermans says:

    George Verwer was radical,humoristic and plain.In many ways I followed his example.

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