Let's Return to Being a Fellowship
I have just returned from the Canadian National Convention of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in Canada last week.
The Convention which was held in Regina, Canada was the best attended Canadian Convention in ten years. The final banquet was sold out before the convention started. I believe that people left the convention with a new vision for their chapters.
FGBMF/BMF Global Prayer Summit in London
We are experiencing a tremendous interest in the Global Leaders Prayer Summit scheduled for London on January 13-14, 2012. As of today more than one hundred Directors from FGBMF and BMF nations have responded to the committee invitation.
The International Prayer Summit Mission Statement is summarized as follows:
“With the realization that the Holy Spirit alone can change the world, we propose this Leadership Prayer Summit as an avenue for the Full Gospel Business Men around the world to unite together in prayer and fasting for the fulfillment of the Vision which God entrusted to Demos Shakarian, and to seek God’s direction together for the future of the Fellowship.”
I am asking the men of FGBMFAmerica to continue to pray for the success of the Global Prayer Summit in London.
A NEW WAVE OF REVIVAL – THE VISION INTINSIFIES!
In last month’s President’s newsletter I shared several excerpts from one of Demos’ last messages to the men of the Fellowship taken from his book, A New Wave of Revival – The Vision Intensifies! In that book Demos says:
My Dear Partner,
The BREAKTHROUGH revelations I’m about to share with you can change your life – and literally change the spiritual face of our world – if you allow the Holy Spirit to plant these truths deep into your spirit.
You see, God has shown me that He is going to have a people … a powerful people willing to participate in this final hour of endtime spiritual history.
If you desire to experience this New Dimension, this New Anointing from God, then you’ve got to be READY.
That’s why I’ve written this book.
God has shown me the future, and has revealed that “A New Wave of Revival” is about to EXPLODE within the body of Christ. The powerful miracle VISION God gave me for the Fellowship, and the world, is not over…
IT HAS JUST BEGUN!
We haven’t seen anything yet!
In October of this year I had Demos’ book reprinted and I sent a copy to each Chapter President and National Director. I asked them to read it and to share excerpts from the book in each chapter meeting. How many of you have read the book? How many of you have shared it with your members?
Men it is time to stir yourself up…
It is time for the Vision to intensify…
The book touched the heart of Ben Schertel, one of our chapter Presidents in the State of Montana. He writes:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the little book, The Vision Intensified, that you sent me recently. It laid around for awhile and then one day I started reading it. Now I sit here alone in my little room in one of the biggest man camps in North Dakota, and weep as I am reading this booklet, because it reminds me so much of our own experience in starting a chapter in Libby. The only difference is with us it was 6 years of struggling (instead of 14 months as with Demos) when we started the original chapter in Libby. I could so relate to the frustration he felt as he looked out over the empty chairs in the meetings. Then when he said the mighty move of God could not have happened without that first year of struggling, and without the Power of the Holy Spirit, I wept because I always thought of our own struggling period as our failure, more than something necessary for a move of God. Demos’ book was a great encouragement to me. Last night as I was down to the last couple pages in the book, it hit me that we needed to return to our humble beginnings of prayer and winning men to Jesus one at a time. I needed to hear that myself. I nealt down and said, “Lord I am willing to start all over as I did 12 years ago, and return to my original call of intercession, and taking the time to visit men one-by-one, men who are sick or oppressed.” I have to get back to spending time alone with Him daily and hearing His voice. That is the secret of our strength. Demos is gone to his reward but you and I remain here on Earth, and the choices we make will impact multitudes of men for eternity.
-Ben Schertel, Chapter President Libby, Montana
Since our founding in 1952 we have called ourselves a Fellowship.
The word Fellowship translates the Greek word koinonia, Strong’s #2842. It means Sharing unity, close association, partnership. It is a communion, a brotherhood. Koinonia is a unity brought about by the Holy Spirit. In koinonia the individual shares in common an intimate bond of fellowship with the rest of the group.
Koinonia cements the believers to the Lord Jesus and to each other. The word koinonia denotes a deep sense of spiritual unity – spiritual communion with the Lord and with each other.
That was the way the Fellowship was when I first became a member in the mid-1970s. We were a fellowship flowing together in love and unity brought about by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and we were expanding rapidly into Europe, Africa, Central and South America, Australia, and Asia. It looked like nothing could stop the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship from fulfilling the vision that God gave the Fellowship through Demos Shakarian.
Then on Sunday March 25, 1984, Demos Shakarian, the man through whom God gave “The Vision” suffered the first of a series of strokes that nearly killed him and left him unable to fulfill his duties as the International President of the Fellowship for many months. During this time the International Executive Board of the Fellowship was forced to take over the leadership of the International Fellowship. It was several years later before Demos began to resume some of his presidential duties, somewhat haltingly due to the effects of the stroke. Then in 1987 a crisis erupted when three members of the executive board requested that Demos retire as International President and become Chairman of the Board. Demos refused. A member of the Shakarian family began to write letters to the membership charging that the executive board was attempting to take over the Fellowship.
Although much of the struggles in the leadership took place behind closed doors, by the time the International Board of Directors met in Toronto, Canada, in July 1988, the hostilities between the Executive Board and the Shakarian Family was becoming public information.
One year later when the International Board of Directors met in Nashville, Tennessee, the leadership of the Fellowship was in disarray. The letters written by the Shakarian family rallied the International delegates to remove seven members of the executive Board. This caused a large number of International Directors to resign and form a new organization.
During these two years of strife in the leadership of the Fellowship there was a membership drop in USA Membership from 40,000 to 30,000 US members. Upon Demos’ death in 1993, Demos’ son Richard took over as the International President. The appointment of Richard caused a second split in the Fellowship and in the years between 1993 and 2011 a number of other groups have left the Fellowship and today the membership in the FGBMFI USA has fallen to considerably less than 1000 members.
The Leadership Prayer Summit scheduled for London on January 13-14 was birthed by the Holy Spirit and was met with open arms by every individual and group that has been invited to attend. Our Goal is simple: We want to repent before God for breaking fellowship with each other, and with God. We want to ask the Holy Spirit to return to us as we come together in love and harmony to re-establish fellowship with each other and with the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is quite clear concerning the benefits of walking together in unity in the Body of Christ.
The Psalmist David proclaimed, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).
Just before His death, Jesus prayed fervently to His heavenly Father that His disciples would be brought into complete unity, just like the relationship that He had with His Father (John 17:20-26). Jesus closes His prayer with the words, “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them.”
The book of Acts documents the wonderful unity and love that existed in the early church after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The followers of Jesus in the early church, who had been baptized by the Holy Spirit, devoted themselves to unity with God and with each other. In relationship with God they continued steadfastly in the Word of God and in prayer. In relationship with each other they devoted themselves to fellowship and to breaking bread with each other.
The third chapter of Acts relates the story of the first major crisis faced by the early church. Peter and John had been put in prison by the authorities and commanded not to speak or teach any more in the name of Jesus.
Instead of fleeing from the authorities they came together in prayer and raised their voices to God “in one accord” and said, “Now Lord look at their threats and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders my be done through Your Holy Servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30). “And with Great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).
Paul exhorts the believers “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all loveliness and gentleness, with longsuffering bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
As long as the Fellowship moved “Under The Banner Of His Love” in “The Unity Of The Spirit” we prospered. But when strife and division entered into the fellowship, the anointing of the Holy Spirit lifted.
Robert W. Bignold, National President
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America