When Christians today think of well-known pastors or missionaries, they mention names like Billy Graham, Jim Elliot, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, Joel Osteen, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren or John Piper. Most people would not list George Verwer nor would they even recognize his name.
As it turns out, that’s probably just the way George Verwer prefers it.
Who is George Verwer
George is probably best well-known for founding and directing the world’s largest missions organization, Operation Mobilization (OM). He’s also been termed a “global evangelist” and it’s hard to find him not wearing his iconic world map jacket.
As Justin Taylor wrote in his article for the Gospel Coalition, George has a larger-than-life personality and even though he’s nearing the age of 80, his energy level is hard to match. With this energy, George is never short of humorous and pithy sayings, like “Where two or three of the Lord’s people are gathered together, sooner or later there will be a mess.”
The life Verwer has experienced as a worldwide missionary, evangelist, author, speaker and eternity-altering missions movement founder is a life that’s hard to capture in one article or a book, but George Verwer is worth writing about, researching and listening to. The Lord has used him in Christendom across the globe and as a critical voice for the Church, especially in the West.
What is Messiology?
Messiology is a term created by George Verwer himself to represent the mess of being a Christian that exists in the Church or missions ecosystem. Messiology is also the title of his latest book. For those who serve in a church or are familiar with missions, you’ll notice the play on words that George is working with in this word.
“Missiology” with an “i”, not an “e” is defined by Dictionary.com as the theological study of the mission of the church, especially the character and purpose of missionary work. George’s life work in missions and his personal experience in failure, conflict and interacting with imperfect people makes him a subject matter expert on the topics of messes in life and in this Christian life.
“I believe history will show that God was doing way more in the midst of our messes than we realized at the time.” – George Verwer
In Messiology, George reflects on his life and ministry to remind us that God works in mysterious ways. He cautions us from getting critical. He urges us toward love, patience, affection, and grace. Major in the majors, minor in rest, and trust God always, even in failure.
It’s a quick read and a good reminder that ministry can be messy, that God’s grace abounds, above our judgment and criticism of others. One reader was reminded “that God works in a lot of different ways, through imperfect people and organizations.”
In his interview on CBN, George’s history and true message behind Messiology were unpacked for viewers. It can be watched in the video below:
Why Does Messiology Matter?
The U.S. population’s trust in nonprofits and churches is decreasing and there is a large emphasis on “transparency” from leaders and companies. A recent poll by The Chronicle of Philanthropy stated that, “Fifteen percent [of Americans surveyed] said they had a great deal of confidence in charitable organizations over all, with 21 percent saying that about charities in their own communities.”
George’s reminder that no one person or organization is perfect needs to be shared and remembered.
News and social media coverage of individuals, companies and leaders is 24/7. Instagram users are always looking for that “perfect” shot to show the world how great their life is. Facebook statuses rarely bring a dose of “real life” to the conversation, but rather share how wonderful things are or will be.
Our expectation for our life and then our expectation for others is that “perfection” is the norm.
At the same time, news runs 24/7 showcasing the hardship and realities of this failing world. Can Christians step into the mess of the world around us? Can Christians admit the painful realities that exist in their own lives and in the lives of their fellow church members?
George’s book and life call Christians to work together through the failings and complexities of this life. He reminds us, through his own life failings, that we need to forgive one another. Working together is not simple nor will it ever be simple and instead of backing away casting blames, let’s work together to reconcile and serve others.
George Verwer Takes a Stand With Gospel for Asia
George not only writes about this topic of working together in the mess but he lives it too. Recently, he stood with Gospel for Asia and K.P. Yohannan when multiple voices were hurling accusations against the missions organization and its founder. In a letter from George, posted on Gospel for Asia’s website, he stated, “With all my heart, I believe now is the time to stand with this ministry and not to attack it. This is the time to support Gospel for Asia like never before.” George continued in the letter, “…If you could see for yourself what I have seen personally, you would know — as I do — that they [Gospel for Asia] have been good stewards of the money you have given and will be good stewards of the money you will provide. In fact, K.P. has always received a modest salary, and their facility in Texas is modest compared with the facilities of many churches and Christian colleges, and certainly so for a ministry of this size and influence.
Of course, Gospel for Asia is not perfect.
No ministry is – and no leader is -…”
When a person with the international and missions experience like George Verwer states with confidence that now is the time to support Gospel for Asia, the Christian world should take notice. George Verwer might be one of the few qualified people on the planet to comprehend the complexities and needs a missions organization like Gospel for Asia has to deal with. After founding and leading what could be the largest missions organization, it would seem that George has the experience and understanding to comment with authority on the needs and issues of the “2nd largest missions organization” in the world.
Throughout his life, George has been willing to dive into the mess and get things figured out. He’s used to controversy and unpopular opinions since his motivation is not self-preservation, but rather his duty and call to see the world come to know Jesus.
George Verwer will be speaking on Gospel for Asia’s Texas campus on February 11, 2018 about the topic of Messiology. More information and free tickets can be found on the event site.