Today Operation Mobilization evangelizes around the world with sixty-one hundred workers, representing more than 100 nations, in more than 110 countries, and onboard an ocean-going missions ship. This ministry of evangelism works to motivate and equip people to share the love of God and to plant churches in areas where Christ is least known. The organization was started in the 1950s by George Verwer.
When he was in high school, George Verwer was given the Gospel of John by one of his teachers, Dorothea Clapp. She had a mission to acquaint young people with God’s Word. When he was sixteen years old George became a Christian at a Billy Graham revival in New York, and dedicated his life to the Lord.
After graduation he and two other friends began to travel and distribute Gospels and other Christian literature wherever they went. While traveling in Spain, they soon realized that the task of reaching nonbelievers around the world was overwhelming.
As they shared their desire to distribute the Word world-wide, they found good response from other Christians who wanted to be part of it as well. The idea of Operation Mobilization was born (officially named in 1981). They had a vision of a global mission.
At first, the focus was on Europe. Verwer believed that leadership should come from the local Christian community and not be led by foreigners. In the 1960s the men concentrated on training national leaders to take the Gospel throughout Europe, including what was then Eastern Europe. As they developed teams for the work of global mission, they found that moving the teams around from one country to another was expensive and took a lot of time.
By 1970, when the first Logos ship was purchased, the vision had evolved into using a ship ministry to transport the training teams to various countries. They could dock for extended periods and train local Christians to become leaders in their own country. This proved effective and more economically practical.
Since then OM's various ships have gone to more than 1,400 ports in 151 nations. Over four million visitors have come aboard. The visitors are from all walks of life, from presidents and prime ministers to street children and the homeless. Today the 6,100 workers in the family of ministries, representing 100 nationalities, are bringing God's unchanging truth to literally millions every year.
Since 2009 the mission team has sailed with its fourth ship, the 12,519 ton MV Logos Hope. Originally built in 1973 as a car ferry, it was refitted for their use. The ship has visited 73 different ports in Europe, the Caribbean, West Africa, the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. The ship in service prior to Logos Hope was called Logos II. It had seen over ten million visitors come aboard in more than eighty countries in the two decades it was in service.
The MV Logos Hope sails with a crew of four hundred, all of whom serve as volunteers. They come from over forty different countries. Most are young people who dedicate two years of their lives to this service and raise their own money for support. The members of the ship’s crew are also voluntary. This includes the captain. They are trained and qualified as required by international maritime regulations.
The funding for the ship operation comes from three sources: (1) Half comes from the personnel serving on board, raised through funds given by their friends, family and other supporters. (2) A quarter is raised through the sale of books and non-book items (such as souvenirs) at the family book fairs that are held onboard. (3) The last quarter comes from gifts and donations provided by individuals, trusts, foundations, etc.
Up to one million visitors come on board each year to browse a large floating book fair. Visitors can select from over five thousand book titles, which appeal to a broad range of ages and interests. The books feature many subjects in addition to Bibles, study materials and books on Christian living – cooking, sports, science, hobbies, children’s books, biographies, novels, etc. Also included are books for university studies. Grants of books have a huge impact in developing countries, especially when they are provided to schools, libraries, colleges, churches and universities.
As they sail to various ports, the crew sees the needs of the world first-hand. They help by distributing food, medical and other donated supplies, building houses, providing education and training, and giving medical aid. The volunteer crew members lend a listening ear and share the message of the Gospel. They help visitors to the ship get to know God in a personal way. The handling of immediate needs is always there, but they also strive to do what they can to start and foster long-term life-changes in the community. Crew members are richly blessed by the experience and develop a life-time desire to serve the Lord.
As stated on their website: “Our desire is to share the knowledge of God’s love and compassion with every visitor to our ships and with the wider community in every port”.
This is another way that God is working in today’s world to spread the Gospel in order to fulfill Jesus’ command as found in Mark 16:15: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:3
“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
Additional information on this ministry can be found on the website: www.om.org/