The Secretary General of WEA about George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation

The Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, paid tribute to George Verwer who passed away on April 14, 2023, and promised to continue to champion his legacy of radically following Jesus:

I am glad that George Verwer left his legacy in his last appearance before a large global audience in 2019 not to a specific section of the spiritual family he belonged to, but to the World Evangelical Alliance’s General Assembly. I am thankful that my predecessor, Bishop Efraim Tendero, wisely chose George Verwer as the final plenary speaker of that General Assembly, not knowing that this would the last such platform for George. I am thankful to George himself, who came despite being limited by his health already. And I am especially thankful for his message about his shirt with the world map on it; on world mission, the central topic of WEA since 1846; and on radical discipleship, the fulfillment of the topic of the GA surrounding the Decade of Discipleship.

George Verwer and Thomas Schirrmacher at the General Assembly of WEA in Indonesia November 12, 2019 © Thomas Schirrmacher

In my private meeting with George after his message (see photo), he was worn out but extremely happy that his lifelong investment in recruiting, encouraging, and always pushing people to do more for Jesus had brought forth so much fruit and was accepted by the global church. We promise to champion his legacy of radical discipleship for Jesus.

I first saw George Verwer as a small boy, when he visited my family. Already at that time, he seemed somehow chaotic in style, shocking others with what seemed to be strange ideas about short-term missionaries or buying large, old ships and turning them into global mission tools. God blessed his out-of-the-box thinking mightily! George—much like Billy Graham—spoke openly about his failures; he even wrote a book called “Messiology”. In his sermons, speeches, and books, he always gave examples of his fallibility. He was rightly convinced that this should be part of every sermon, every witness to the grace of God. He encouraged me, in my leadership position, not to listen to those who expect one always to do the right thing, never to fail, never to sin. Instead, he assured me that we can be leaders only by the grace of God, who uses us for his purposes despite our limitations and our constant need for forgiveness.


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