Operation Mobilisation celebrates 50 years of ship-based ministry

This month, missional movement Operation Mobilisation is celebrating 50 years of ship-based ministry, sharing knowledge, help and the hope of the gospel in port communities around the world. As the 3 billion people around the world who have limited access to the gospel continues to grow daily1, OM Ships has set a visionary new course for its fourth vessel, Logos Hope, to act as a catalyst in turning the tide of this trend. The ministry’s leaders are calling on the UK Church and body of believers to join them in revitalising a passion for the Great Commission through discipleship.

OM Ships CEO, Seelan Govender, says,

“As we look back at 50 years of ships ministry, much in the world has changed; not least Covid-19 and the associated global challenges. However, nothing as significant, we believe, as the growing number of people groups – currently sitting at around 42 per cent of the world’s population1 – who have limited access to the gospel.”

Before Covid-19 hit, Logos Hope’s international crewmembers visited several ports a year, spending around three weeks in each place, and welcomed up to one million visitors a year (a total of 49 million people since the Ship Ministry began) through the onboard bookfair, conferences and events. Providing aid and relief to communities, while sharing the life-changing message of Jesus, has always been an integral part of the ministry.

Now, with port calls and public opening altered because of coronavirus restrictions, there is an even greater strategic focus on engaging in integral mission to positively impact a vulnerable or marginalised community on every level: whether it’s socio-economic or spiritual. Key to this strategy is staying longer in each port to better engage with and mobilise local churches towards praying, giving and going into mission. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, OM Ships volunteers have learnt the practicalities of maintaining Covid-19 safety measures, whilst participating in a deeper level of discipleship training.

Govender says,

“As Logos Hope visits each port and nation, we want to draw people to work together in order to accomplish something they could never do as an individual church, denomination, or even mission agency. This is a momentous opportunity for something hugely significant to take place, as we come together and focus on what God wants us to do. We’re looking to mobilise a million churches, a million intercessors and partner with a million believers to go and be a vibrant part of these communities over the next decade.”

Logos Hope spent much of 2020 helping communities in The Bahamas, devastated by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, rebuild their homes.  Right now, Logos Hope is visiting Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The crew is actively serving and encouraging local communities and believers through a prayer hotline and regular online meetings, as well as highlighting the needs of those least reached with the gospel. The ship is also livestreaming events, including global prayer gatherings, and broadcasting them around the world. Having seen the power of this onboard ‘virtual ministry,’ OM Ships is keen to expand this work with the support and prayers of the Church and believers, even after the pandemic is over.

Govender concludes:

“We are intentionally taking away the divide between the sacred and the secular in our discipleship journey with our crew, because the gospel of the kingdom of God impacts all of our life, not just eternity – it impacts our reality today. We would love to work with UK churches and Jesus-followers in their disciple-maker journey as well. We want them to be among the million churches we partner with, the million intercessors we pray with and the million people we partner with to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel of the kingdom of the God.”

For more information or to support OM’s Ship Ministry visit https://www.om.org/ or follow @OMUnitedKingdom on Facebook and Instagram.

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