Operation Mobilisation’s (OM) six decades of mission reveals a story with a high improbability of ever being told at all, considering the characters and events involved.
From its beginnings, with a handful of college students to today’s fellowship of 3,400 workers from over 100 nations in over 115 countries and a ship, OM remains a movement at heart, an ideal, a challenge, an invitation, a celebration, a family more impressed with the greatness of God than the size of the task.
Over 60 years, large numbers are involved: hundreds of thousands of workers, hundreds of millions of people personally presented with the gospel, hundreds of other missions birthed as a result, and vast sums released to transform lives and communities.
But the real story is not about numbers; it’s about very ordinary people with a small faith in a big God. A core OM message is that God will use anybody seeking to put Him first, and we are living proof.
Weekly over the course of the coming anniversary year, we will present 60 such defining moments that have shaped OM into what we are today. Most were not planned mission strategy; rather, God allowed circumstances to refine us and prepare us for things impossible to imagine. Still being human, mistakes have been made, opportunities lost, relationships strained. And yet, overwhelmingly, the grace of God has been experienced and become central to our testimony.
OMers, particularly in the early decades, were often pioneers. Consider the breadth of initiatives launched:
Underpinning explosive growth and increasingly indigenous leadership worldwide lay a number of principles (our ethos) that still direct our discipleship and tie us together globally:
At a similar event, an agenda item was introduced from the front regarding the need for an earring policy for men. Heated discussion ensued for several minutes, until it was revealed that it was a hoax! Such humour is encouraged.
The re-telling of moments that will follow varies widely because OM has had a complicated history. You might say that, were OM a vehicle—and we have had thousands—it would have a very large accelerator pedal and very tiny rearview mirrors. We are forward-looking people keenly aware of the promises of God.
Part of our story reads, “Since our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. So we went. No place was too hard, no people too far, no idea too crazy, no dream too big and our failures did not hold us back. Tens of thousands have joined us and hundreds of millions have heard the gospel. But we are not done yet.”
Where will this ‘yet’ lead us? Journey with us in the coming year and find out…
Greg Kernaghan joined OM in 1978, a time when most of OM’s pioneers were still in leadership and when tales of early exploits could be heard of first hand. He and his wife, Anni, have served on the ships, in Finland, in Canada and as part of the OMNI (communications) team internationally.
Published: Friday, 21 October 2016
Credit: Greg Kernaghan