Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) is a fellowship of evangelical businessmen. The main purpose is to arouse interest in the Gospel. Theologically, the organisation has its roots in Pentecostalism. It is currently active in some 160 countries around the world.
FGBMFI was founded in 1952 in Los Angeles by some twenty people led by Demos Shakarian, a Californian dairy farmer of Armenian descent. After a difficult start, it steadily grew, and after a few years branches were set up in other countries as well.
After Demos Shakarian passed away in 1993, his son Richard became the leader. A few years later, a group separated and started a similar organsiation under the name Business Men's Fellowship (BMF), which is mainly active in the US, the UK, Brasil and some Baltic countries.
FGBMFI is currently (Nov. 2008) active in approx. 150 countries all over the world. In some countries, it uses a version of its name transalated in the local language. In Germany, e.g., Christen im Beruf (“Christians in professional life”), in Finland Suomen Täyden Evankeliumin Liikemiesten Kansainvälinen Veljesliitto (STELK), in several Spanish-speaking countries Fraternidad Internacional de Hombres de Negocio del Evangelio Completo (FIHNEC), in Poland Miedzynarodowa Spolecznosc Biznesmenow Pelnej Ewangelii - Chrzescijanie w Biznesie, etc.
Attention is drawn toward the “Full Gospel”, a term which often is used as more or less a synonym for the gospel as preached within the Pentecostal movement. Doctrines that are not essential to the very heart of the Gospel, are kept out of discussion within FGBMFI. An example of this is discussions about different forms of baptism. As a consequence, there are basically no denominational restictions to membership.
FGBMFI targets at "business men" in the broadest possible sense. Originally, this was limited to men, but today in a growing number of countries membership is open to women as well.
FGBMFI mainly operates in local groups, so-called chapters. These chapters organise meetings, usually once a month, in hotels, restaurants etc. In such meetings, one or more members tell about their faith experiences, preferably using a business man's language, avoiding 'churchy' jargon. Most chapters start their meetings with a dinner. At the end, it is possible to have a talk, people can be prayed for and if they whish so. In addition to the local meetings, regional and international conferences are held from time to time.
The meetings are open to everybody. Membership, however, is reserved to those who agree with FGBMFI's 10-points doctrinal statement. Church leaders may become ordinary members, but are not accepted as board members, so as to avoid any denominational bias.
FGBMFI should not be confused with Christian Business Men's Committee (CBMC) and International Christian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC). CBMC, which was founded before the 2nd World War, has a broader theological background. ICCC was founded by FGBMFI members in Sweden, but is has a different purpose. Simultaneous membership of two or more of these organsiations is generally not considered a problem. Besides these, the Business Men's Fellowship (BMF) split off from FGBMFI (see subheader History above) and must not be confused either.
- Demos Shakarian, John & Elisabeth Sherrill: The Happiest People on Earth. Old Tappan, N.J.: Chosen Books: distributed by F. H. Revell Co., c1975. ISBN 0912376147. 187 pages.
- Val Fotherby: The awakening giant. London (UK) (Marshall Pickering), 2000. ISBN 0-551-03234-0. 200 pages (out of print).
- See FGBMFI International website, scoll down to bottom, click Who are we?, then scroll down to Our Doctrinal Statement