In college, first at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, and then at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, George challenged other students to pray radically for countries of the world and to go as missionaries. In 1957, he and two friends used their summer break to take a truckload of Gospels to Mexico on their first mission trip. That trip was the birth of what would become OM.
After several trips to Mexico, they established ongoing work there and expanded to Spain. After two years there, George called for young people to spend the summer of 1962 distributing Christian literature in Europe. His radical commitment to simply hit the streets with literature inspired other young people to join him. That summer 25 million pieces of literature went out across the continent.
Always a visionary, George kept the work expanding throughout Europe, into the Middle East and India.
In the mid-’60s George had a huge idea: So many people live along the coasts, why not have a ship and transport teams and literature to countries in that way? He called for people to pray for a ship, and in 1970, the OM ship ministry was launched with the first OM vessel, M.V. Logos. This ministry has gone on to include four ships which have visited more than 155 countries and welcomed 39 million people onboard since that time.
As OM grew, George continued to be a voice for radical commitment to God. His books challenged readers to surrender all to God, walk with Him moment by moment, and live as Jesus would live in today’s world.
Even in his later years, George continues to be a favorite mobilizer among young people and has been a popular speaker at Urbana mission conferences, the Cornerstone festival and on college campuses. In addition to his energy and his passion for an authentic walk with God, part of George’s connection with anyone, including young people, is his willingness to talk openly about his own struggles, temptations and failings.
In 2003, George handed daily leadership of OM to Peter Maiden and gave his full attention to mission advocacy through speaking, writing, his website and other media. He has not lost his passion nor his ability to inspire people to make their lives count for God.
With George’s vision of reaching the world for Christ, OM has grown from its start with three college students to a ministry of over 6,100 people from 100 countries serving in more than 110 nations and on one ship, Logos Hope. Through George’s leadership and voice for missions, well over 125,000 people have served with OM and countless more have been mobilized into other ministries, more than 100 ministries have been started by people who served in OM, approximately 1 billion pieces of Christian literature and Bibles have been distributed around the world, and thousands of churches around the world have embraced God’s vision for the world.