- What is FGBA
- Original Vision
- FGBMFI in Australia
- The Vision Intensifies
- FGBA in the Nation
- Past Presidents and National Structure
WHO WE ARE
Full Gospel Business Australia (FGBA) is an organisation dedicated to influencing the seven gates of the culture of Australia with the principles of the Kingdom of God.
The seven gates of our culture are:
A - Art, Sports, and Entertainment
B - Business
C - Church and Religion
D - Distribution, Communication, and Media
E - Education
F - Family
G - Government and Law
Australia under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Full Gospel Business Australia is a body of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit to transform the culture of nations through discipling men and women for the work of the Kingdom of God.
FGBA is called to:
Evangelise - Reach men and women in all nations for Jesus Christ
Empower - Baptise believers with the Holy Spirit and fire
Equip - Train and disciple believers to fulfil the Great Commission
Enlarge - Multiply disciples and enlarge our reach and spheres of influence
Extend - Establish the Kingdom of God in the marketplace, cities and nations
The Original Vision - The Birth of the FGBMFI
As told by the founder, Demos Shakarian (1913-1993)
(In the early 1900's... led by God, the Shakarian family escaped the Holocaust in Armenia and made their home in Downey, California where they started a 20-acre dairy with three cows. Faith in God, good judgment and hard work eventually multiplied that first little herd, until in 1943 the Shakarian herd had reached three thousand, the largest private dairy in the United States at that time. Their story is found in the book, “The Happiest People on Earth”,” read by millions of people and translated into 25 languages.)
On Friday, December 26th, 1952, I told Tommy Hicks, a guest in my home: “Tomorrow morning is the last meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.” After fourteen months of meetings, thousands of miles of travel, phone calls, letters, “free breakfast” ads to entice men to attend, and 100% of my energy, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship seemed dead. Our most recent Saturday morning meeting at Clifton’s on December 20 had… SIX FEWER men attending than when I had started the Fellowship fourteen months before!
Nothing MAN could do made any difference! No amount of careful planning, enticements, or even personal effort could launch this Fellowship. On that lonely Friday evening, just before midnight, I told Tommy and my wife, Rose, “I am going into the living room and will GET DOWN ON MY KNEES UNTIL I HEAR FROM THE LORD about this.” When I started to walk into the living room, it happened. The air around me became suddenly heavy. Overwhelmed, I fell on my knees, then my face, stretched full length on the floor. I knew GOD’S SPIRIT WAS UPON ME, pulsating through the room in endless WAVES of power. Time stopped. Place disappeared.
Then I heard His voice: “Demos, will you ever doubt my power?”
Lord Jesus, forgive me, I sobbed.
He continued, “I am the One, Demos, WHO ALONE CAN OPEN DOORS. I am the One who removes the beam from unseeing eyes.”
“I understand, Lord Jesus. And I thank You.”
“And now I will let you see, indeed.”
With that the Lord allowed me to rise to my knees. Lifted me, almost, as though the power which had put me to the floor was now pushing me up. At that moment, Rose, my wife, came into the living room, did not say a word, but walked over to our Hammond organ and began to play.
As the music swelled through the living room, the atmosphere grew brighter. To my amazement the ceiling seemed to have disappeared. The cream-colored plaster, the ceiling light – they were simply gone, and instead I found myself staring up into the sky, a daytime sky although it must have been pitch dark. How long she played while I gazed into the infinite distance I don’t know. But all at once she stopped, fingers still resting on the keys, and began to pray aloud in tongues. She paused a moment, then spoke in English:
“My son. I knew you before you were born. I have guided you every step of the way.
Now I am going to show you the purpose of your lifespan.”
It was the Spirit’s gifts of tongues and interpretation, given together. And as she spoke a remarkable thing began to happen. Although I was on my knees, I felt as if I were rising. Leaving my body. Moving up, away from the living room. Down below me I could see the rooftops of Downey, California. There were the San Bernardino Mountains, and over there, the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Now I was high above the earth, able to see from the west to the east.
Whether the world was turning, or whether I was traveling around it, I do not know. But now beneath me was the continent of South America. Then Africa. Europe. Asia. I could see people on the earth – millions and millions of them standing shoulder to shoulder. Then, just as a camera can zoom in at a football game to show first the stadium, then the players, then the very laces on the football, my vision seemed to move in on the millions of men. I could see tiny details of thousands and thousands of faces. Everywhere it was the same. Brown faces, black faces, white faces – every one rigid, wretched, every one locked in his own private death.
“Lord! What is the matter with them? Lord, help them!”
Afterward Rose told me that I said nothing. But in the vision it seemed to me that I wept and pleaded aloud.
Suddenly Rose began to speak. Humanly speaking, of course, she had no way of knowing that I was seeing anything at all. But what she said was:
“My son, what you see next is going to happen soon.”
The earth was turning – or I was moving around it – a second time. Below me again were millions upon millions of men. But what a difference! This time heads were raised. Eyes shone with joy. Hands were lifted towards heaven. These men who had been isolated, each in his prison of self were linked in a community of love and adoration. Asia. Africa. America – everywhere death had turned to life. And then the vision was over.
The Growth of the FGBMFI Globally
FGBMFI was founded in 1951 in Los Angeles by Demos Shakarian, a California rancher. Following a difficult start (for a year nothing happened to the original group that met weekly), then a donation of $1000 was given to start a small publication titled, “Full Gospel Business Men's VOICE”, it grew steadily, the second chapter was in Phoenix, Arizona, and after a few years chapters were set up throughout the world.
In 1972, the membership was 300,000. By 1988, there were 3,000 chapters in 90 countries.
The FGBMFI in Australia
1960’s – The Beginnings
From what can be discerned from the historical documents available, two men independently established FGBMFI chapters in Australia under the auspices of the FGBMFI in USA.
In 1960 Howard Seidel had approached Demos Shakarian and brought into Adelaide some Voice magazines and felt he had to commence the work in Australia. In 1960, the Adelaide FGBMFI Chapter was chartered. Their mission statement included “To help believers be baptised in the Holy Spirit and grow spiritually. Early committee members were Harry Seidel, Lawrie Wallquist, Colin Pitman, Bill Britcher, Derek Corbell, Peter Cracknell, Don Ridge, Percy Ridge, Gerald Rowlands. Later Ken Durrant was appointed as Australia’s first field representative.
In those early years, the FGBMFI was very often the catalyst, a forerunner, for the Charismatic Renewal. Miracles of healing, many salvations and men and women being baptised in the Holy Spirit was the norm for most meetings.
In 1961 Ray Moulton, founder of Gospel Film Ministry in Melbourne, attended a Booksellers Convention in Los Angeles California USA. Having found a magazine called “Voice” he returned to Melbourne with a number of this publication. Within a few days he sent copies to his contacts in each Capital City throughout the nation. In Queensland John McKewen received the “Voice” magazines and immediately called Bernie Gray and his son-in-law James Tatters. They came together to explore the possibility of circulation of this new found evangelistic tool for the marketplace as they all had business interests in Brisbane City. The men in the other States of Australia began in a similar way discovering the value of what they were given.
In 1966 the Toowoomba chapter was chartered. FGBMFI was now national within Australia.
In Brisbane, Bernie Gray and others invited other men to join us in discussion, regular prayer times and reading numerous testimonials of successful business men who had become Christian believers. They also took note that these stories spoke of Breakfasts, Luncheons and Evening Dinner meetings held in the type of venues where business people frequented. An organisation called Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International convened these functions and men testified to the wonderful and miraculous power of the Holy Spirit being resident in the ordinary everyday happenings and issues of business life.
Eventually when they attended a World Convention in Los Angeles, Bernie found a man who was the World Ambassador so Bernie visited him in his office the next working day. During his visit Bernie met all the office workers and Demos Shakarian, Founder of FGBMFI and was greatly impressed with what he had seen. Then the Lord burned into Bernie’s spirit that which was without any doubt whatsoever, “This Fellowship is birthed in the Holy Spirit and therefore it is maintained by the same Holy Spirit and will always be alive to the time only when the Holy Spirit is taken out of this world.
1970’s – The Decade of Influence
In 1974, an unincorporated voluntary association known as the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International was formed to strengthen the FGBMFI movement in Australia. During the second half of 1974, a special meeting of Chapter Presidents and officers was held at the Noah Hotel in North Sydney, with fourteen men in attendance. John McKewen, an architect, was appointed first National Chairman with Bernie Gray as National Secretary.
In 1976, the first National Convention was held in the Park Royal Hotel in Brisbane.
In 1978, John McKewen stepped down and Ron Oastler, an Executive Training Officer and premium speaker for IBM Australia, was appointed National President at a special meeting during the National Convention that year.
1980’s – The Decade of Growth
In 1980, Demos Shakarian visited Adelaide for the 20 year celebration. By then, there were three chapters in South Australia, Adelaide, Regency and Eyre Peninsula, and others elsewhere around the nation.
However, in 1983, due to Lawrence Fraser stepping down as Regional Director because of family and other commitments and Barry Young moving his family to Adelaide, the Eyre Peninsula chapter closed. But then the was a powerful prophecy that God would establish the FGBMFI throughout the nation.
In 1984, Bernie Gray was appointed National President with Ron Oastler remaining as the Chairman of the National Board.
Also in 1984, Adelaide Chapter was renamed South Adelaide Chapter, and new chapters formed elsewhere in Adelaide, namely Adelaide East, Adelaide North, Glenelg, which was later renamed as Adelaide Central. New chapters were also formed in the country areas, namely Riverland Loxton, Balaklava and District, Naracoorte, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Mt Gambier, Port Augusta and Coober Pedy.
Elsewhere around the nation, other Chapters were being established and were gaining momentum. The Gold Coast Chapter was believed to have been the largest Chapter in the nation.
Early in the 1980’s it became apparent the FGBMFI needed to be restructured to manage the rapid growth of the FGBMFI in Australia, and on 10th August 1985, a not-for profit company, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International Ltd, was formed, with Bernie Gray, James Tatters, Ron Oastler, David Grantham and Keith Cleland as the directors of the board.
Also in 1985, the FGBMFI World Convention was held in Melbourne.
1990’s – The Decade of Change
With the passing of Demos Shakarian in 1993, the FGBMFI began to decline in membership and chapters in many parts of the world, including Australia. From a high of around 2500 members in Australia during the 1980’s, membership fell to around 800 in year 2000 despite the strenuous efforts of the national board.
THE VISION INTENSIFIES – New life within the FGBMFI
Shortly before Demos Shakarian passed away in 1993, he wrote a book called, “The Vision Intensified”, in which he made a plea to all who were familiar with the previously mentioned God-given vision to get ready for a new wave of revival that would explode within the body of Christ.
In this booklet, he predicted that the original Vision he saw and re-told in this booklet “will intensify in an increasingly powerful wave of His glory!” Demos also implored his readers to re-focus on that original call, especially as many believers sensed, as Demos did, that we are in the end-times.
In both his books, “The Happiest People on Earth”, and, “The Vision Intensified”, Demos emphasised that the Vision was not for a big, centralised organisation. As the writer says in “The Happiest People on Earth”, “the Spirit of God conveyed to Demos the message, “I do not want a big centralised organisation . . . of course, come together on occasion to inspire and encourage each other, to light a fire bright enough for many to see. But for your day-in, year-out work, I want you to be small, local, sensitive to Me. I do not want uniformity. I will never come to two men or two places in just the same way. Give Me outlets for My infinite variety’.”
In keeping with that exhortation, may we today be encouraged to share in the heartfelt prayer by Demos on the last page of this booklet, reflecting positively on lessons learned from the past and for the achievement of God’s purposes for FGBMFI in the future.
Australia’s response to The Vision Intensifies
In the year 2000, Fred Krueger, then the National President sensed the FGBMFI need to change from its original evangelical purpose to embrace the FGBMFI’s high calling. In his report that year at the National Convention in Canberra, he wrote prophetically:
“The very basis of the FGBMFI is “church without walls”, ministry in the marketplace, and God’s mandate for us to continue with this good work. Building, supporting, reaching into and influencing the very fabric of our society with the presence of God in our lives.”
He reminded the members:
“You are called of God to make a difference in your sphere of influence and His equipping in your life makes it possible”.
“This fellowship was birthed by the Holy Spirit and by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone, with our co-operation and obedience, will continue to be effective.”
“There is an apostolic anointing on the life of this fellowship. We all have great memories of how the Holy Spirit has used the men and women of the FGBMFI to bring new things of God into people’s lives. Today is no different as we are called to be on the “cutting edge” so to speak, of what God is doing in His earth. Amongst the many facets of the apostolic anointing we see that it is an anointing to pioneer, to gather, to build, to impart, to bring fresh revelation, to invade, to defend and hold, to enforce and to finish.”
In presenting his report, Fred spoke on the need to bring Jesus to meet the needs of the market place, the FGBMFI being called to fulfil the five-fold ministries and focusing on the “Great Commission”.
Over the decade, men prayed for a fresh revelation of the original vision and the new wave of revival that was prophesied by Demos before his passing.
By 2012, the leaders and many others discerned that our revelation was shifting from what can be best described as the gospel of salvation and empowerment to the gospel of the kingdom of God, a shift from evangelism to the true gospel call of making disciples in all nations.
In August 2012 the National President of FGBMFI Australia Bill Sgro, National Vice President Rod Winter, and National Board Member Dinko Miocevich were invited to attend the Full Gospel Business Fellowship Asian Council. At this meeting they heard for the first time about Making Disciples in the Market Place Seminars that were being held in Singapore, and Bill was invited to attend the next seminar in November 2012.
When Bill returned home from the Asian Council Meeting he sent an email to all FGBMFI members in Australia inviting them to join him in attending this Making Disciples in the Market Place Seminar in Singapore. Three people joined Bill and attended the seminar. All four men caught the vision that was presented at this seminar, and believed that God was calling FGBMFI Australia to implement this vision in Australia.
More FGBMFI Australia members attended future seminars in 2013, with 20 members from around Australia attending the seminar in August 2013. It was clear that this was what God was calling FGBMFI Australia to do.
During 2013 The FGBMFI Ltd National Board proposed to create a new trading name for the organisation called, “Full Gospel Business Australia (FGBA)”. This proposal, along with a number of other changes to the structure of FGBMFI Australia, was put to a vote by all members across FGBMFI Australia. The vote was carried with a clear majority, and the new trading name “Full Gospel Business Australia” was created.
In October 2015, Bill Sgro determined it was time to step down as National President. Dr George Perry was then elected to lead the FGBA / FGBMFI Ltd as National Chairman. The Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Association that had served the FGBMFI Ltd so well for 30 years was replaced by a new constitution.
Roll of Honour
National Chairman / National President FGBMFI / FGBA
1974 - 1978: John McKewen
1978 - 1984: Ron Oastler
1984 - 1999: Bernie Gray
1999 - 2002: Fred Krueger
2002 - 2006: Brad Manfield
2006 - 2015: Bill Sgro
2015 - Current: George Perry
FGBMFI Ltd Board of Directors
There are five directors on the National Board. They are as follows:
Dr George Perry
FGBA National Council
The members of the FGBA National Council are as follows:
Dr George Perry
National Director for Leadership Discipling
National Director for Queensland
Mobile (SMS only): 0427 310 896
National Director for Northern Territory and Western Australia
Mobile: 0438 818 047e
National Director for Business and Finance
National Director for South Australia and Tasmania
Mobile: 0423 228 125
National Director for Women
Mobile: 0427 607 367
National Director for Communications
Mobile: 0401 847 036
National Director for Leadership Pastoral Care
National Director for ACT and New South Wales
Mobile: 0449 127 695
National Director for Victoria
Mobile: 0411 035 102