The story of OM
Young turks to missionary patriarchs
The story of OM
By Ian Randall
Authentic Media. 268 pages. £8.99
Operation Mobilisation (OM) has been transformed in 50 years from a small group of passionate young Americans into a respected international mission and publisher.
Randall reminds us of the suspicion that accompanied the rise of OM in the late 50s and 60s. OM reproduced many of the principles that Hudson Taylor had set out 100 years earlier, pioneered the use of short-term volunteers, developed new ideas and ministry with a single-minded desire to bring the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world. While much of the story centres in the vision of George Verwer, Randall introduces us to other individuals who played pivotal roles in the development of the movement. But, without George Verwer, OM would be a very different movement. His pastoral care, as well as his great belief in the power of the written word, was vital to the development of the movement.
Towards the end of the book, there is a list of 94 other ministries founded by former OMers and, throughout the book, are the names of the hundreds who moved on from OM into other mission groups. This is some indication of the vital contribution OM has made to world mission in the 20th century. The book was written after George Verwer stepped down from the overall leadership of OM and there is already evidence not only of the successful transition to Peter Maiden, but of structures in place to facilitate the continuing growth and development of the organisation.
Randall is a steady chronicler. He includes the criticisms of OM and admits mistakes that were made, but this book is a celebration of a remarkable work of God and more critical evaluations must be left to others.
Director of World Mission Studies, Oak Hill Theological College, London;
and a member of the leadership team at St. Mary’s, Eaton Socon