The Missionary Mindset series looks into the lives of notable missionaries to provide valuable insights and inspiration.
George Müller was a Christian evangelist who founded the Ashley Down orphanage, providing care and support for over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime. He traveled over 200,000 miles to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 42 countries.
His devotion to fighting poverty sparked his pursuit to minister and advocate to orphans through radical obedience out of his deep love of God.
George was born in Kroppenstaedt, a village in Prussia. In his early life, he was a disobedient teenager and was often get caught stealing, lying, and drinking. While his mother was dying, he was playing drinking games with his friends. George’s father was determined to change his lifestyle and sent him to a cathedral school in Halberstadt to become a clergyman in the church.
Later on, George went to the University of Halle to study divinity. While studying, a student invited him to a Christian house meeting focused on reading the Bible. After realizing the power of God through prayer, he left behind his sinful life to become a missionary.
In 1829, he was offered an opportunity to work with Jews in England through the London Society of Promoting Christianity but fell ill. While in recovery, he asked the Society to allow him to preach. They refused, so George left to go preach in Teignmouth and eventually became the minister of Ebenezer Chapel in Devon. That same year, he married Mary Groves. George learned that the church rented out pews to cover his salary. In response, he renounced his regular salary because he wanted the congregation to give out of desire, not obligation.
In 1834, George founded the Scripture Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad for aiding schools and missionaries in Bristol, England. Five branches of the Institute developed:
- Bible school for children and adults
- Bible distribution
- Missionary support
- Book distribution
- Care for orphans
Then in 1836 George and his wife became deeply involved with orphans. Initially, they took care of 30 girls in their own rented home. As the number of orphans grew, they opened up three more orphanages to hold 130 children. As growth continued, he established another separate facility called the Ashley Down orphanage.
By now, there were five houses that could accommodate 2,000 orphans. Through all this, Müller never asked for financial support but trusted that God would provide and fulfill his needs to maintain the orphanages. His prayers would be answered from many unsolicited sources giving out free donations to fund the buildings, feed the children, and support the staff. Through mentorship, the children gained experience and knowledge to leave the orphanages and thrive in life.
In 1875, George began his 17-year period missionary where he traveled to preach in 42 different countries, often returning to visit the orphanages. He preached in English, French, and German and his sermons are translated in over 12 different languages.
In his lifetime, George addressed three million people with the gospel while caring for over 10,000 orphans.
He was one the founding members of the “Open Brethren” movement that committed to missionary work and held that the Bible was the final authority in faith and practice. George Müller died on March 10, 1898 after leading a prayer meeting the night before. He spent his life glorifying God by helping people take God at his word.
More Inspiration from George Müller
The power of prayer was evident in George Müller’s life. Müller recorded over 10,000 answered prayers in his journal. Here are a few quotes from George that inspire us to missions:
- “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.”
- “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”
- “Laying up treasures in heaven will draw the heart heavenward.”
- “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”
- “The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.”