UK Christian Leaders Pay Tribute To George Verwer Following His Passing On Friday

Christian leaders from around the UK have been mourning Operation Mobilisation’s founder and leader of 45 years, George Verwer, who died on Friday.

George has been described as “the most outstanding North American missionary statesman of the last 60 years” by Lindsay Frost, former International Director, IFES. and spent a large amount of his life living in the UK, in which time he had a significant impact on inspiring and developing the next generation of Christian leaders to grow and share their faith.

Even towards his later years, George never lost his passion for reaching people who had not heard of Jesus. In 2018 he visited 20 different UK train stations to talk to strangers about Jesus over coffee.

Andy Frost, Co-CEO of Gather Movement and Director of Share Jesus International, said: 

George was the real deal. An out-and-out evangelist who had a heart for those on the margins. He was always an inspirational speaker, packing a gospel punch with humour and passion. He would share on big platforms about the importance of global missions, but I will treasure the moments we hung out together in coffee shops as he encouraged me in my calling. I’ll miss his regular emails and words of encouragement. The baton is now in our hands.

Krish Kandiah, founder of Home for Good, said:

I will never forget the first time I met George Verwer in person – with his iconic globe jacket and his infectious passion for sharing God’s love for the world. I was a student at the time and felt so immensely privileged to help carry his suitcase full of pay-what-you-can books to the meeting. George inspired me, like countless others of my generation, to begin to pray for the world, and to see that every single page of the Bible is infused with God’s mission. He will be greatly missed.

Andy Hawthorne, founder of The Message Trust, said:

Over the past 30 years of ministry, very few people have encouraged and spurred me on like George Verwer. I’m so grateful to be one of many hundreds of people that he regularly prays for and have loved his timely phone calls, shouting at me not to give up, often from some far-flung place in the world. Has there been a more beautiful, eccentric, fruitful Firestarter in the kingdom for the last 60+ years than my friend George Verwer. I will miss him massively but can’t wait to meet many of the literally millions who I believe are in heaven because of his obedience.

Eddie Lyle, President of Open Doors UK & Ireland, said:

When the roll is called up yonder, George Verwer’s life and ministry will be recognised as one of the great mission leaders of our time. He and Brother Andrew enjoyed a wonderful collaboration in pushing the frontiers of mission into areas where the church was under chronic persecution. His writing was a must-read for young men and women who were considering full time Christian service. The world was written on his heart and on his shirts. What a wonderful example of visionary leadership, courage and endurance. Heaven will be richer and we will be the poorer as he receives his ‘well done, you good and faithful servant’.

Nigel Harris, CEO at Tearfund said:

George had an unwavering passion for sharing God’s love and bringing about His kingdom. He was an extraordinary leader with a servant heart, and his inspirational writings and vision leave a lasting legacy on the Church and Christians around the world. George was a friend of Tearfund, who cared deeply about people in need and will be greatly missed.

Mark Finnie, Vice President of Biblica MENA/Eurasia, said:

Millions of people around the globe have a closer relationship with God because of George’s infectious passion for life-changing books. Even more have been introduced to Jesus for the first time because of George’s cascaded vision for the world.

Andrew Palau, Evangelist and Director at the Luis Palau Association, said:

I’m sure George never wanted to be categorised in this way – as an elder – because he was always so youthful in attitude, vision, and energy. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think of George when I read 1 Timothy 5:17 –’Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching.’ George’s preaching and teaching had an impact on all of us, so it is an honour to stand with so many others, whose lives were transformed by his passion and vision, and say –  We will miss you, George. Thank you for engaging and empowering the next generations!

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