CBMC began as Christian Business Men's Committee in the United States in 1930,when a small group of Christian businessmen coordinated a series of pre-Easter prayer rallies. With the Great Depression in its second year, these men saw an urgent need for spiritual revival and took it upon themselves to plan a six-week evangelistic series of meetings at the Garrick Theater, in the Chicago loop area. Public response to the first gathering on January 6, 1931, was overwhelming, as more than 800 packed into the 800-seat facility for all six sessions.
Apparently, God had greater plans for this ministry than its seven founders could have ever imagined. As the meetings were drawing to a close, the downtown business community wanted to continue the gatherings as more and more men were experiencing life change through their newfound relationship with Christ.
Another indication that God was blessing this ministry from its inception was that similar groups were soon popping all over the nation: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and many other large and small cities began staging their own version of these prayer vigils. In 1937, just six years after that first meeting at the Chicago Theater, all of the splinter groups around the nation were linked together under the acronym: CBMC. Five men, Charles E. Gremmels, Arnold Grunigen, CB Hedstrom, Dr. NA Jepson and RG LeTourneau, comprised the steering committee that directed the early years of the CBMC ministry. They planned and executed the first CBMC international conference in 1938, with a charge to bring men from committees around the globe into closer fellowship and mutual commitment to Christ.
The ministry moved its offices from Chicago to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the 1970’s, when Ted DeMoss, a successful insurance executive took the reigns of CBMC. As the years passed, our work spread not only across the United States but also into Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Indiana, across South Africa and Latin America. Businessmen of all cultures, regardless of where they lived and worked had, and still have an insatiable need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our ministry continues to move at warp speed to fill that void.
The decade of the 70’s also saw the first release of Operation Timothy. We knew there was a felt need for a discipleship tool to help men ignite their walk with Christ. It was that realization that led to the creation of this disciple-making resource that remains one of the finest ever created. It was designed to be used for one-on-one applications where a mentor (whom we call a Paul, sits down with someone wishing to know more (a Timothy) and together they embark upon a transformational journey of exploring Christ’s word. Over the years, Operation Timothy (OT) has undergone a number of facelifts and updates (1995, 2008, 2011, and the digital release in 2014) but the desire to help men along the path to spiritual maturity remains the same. We are still about helping a man to become the man that God designed him to be.
In the 1990’s CBMC officially changed its name to Christian Business Men’s Connection, but no matter what the name, there have been so many faces and names that have made this ministry thrive. RG LeTourneau, Joe Cogeshall, Ted DeMoss and Ted Hubbard. There was Roger Erickson, Tim Philpott, and Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. All of these ministry giants embraced two core beliefs: share the gospel with those who don’t know the Good News and then go and make disciples. Be intentional about carrying out The Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Today, there are strongholds of CBMC men in 48 of the 50 states and in 98 nations around the globe. No matter where you go, businessmen agree, impacting the world for Jesus Christ is paramount. In the past few years, Operation Timothy has gone digital; likewise Living Proof, a reality-based video series created to help you share the gospel in a natural, caring, and Bible-centered lifestyle. Both of these amazing resources are offered absolutely free of charge at: advance.cbmc.com
We underwent a significant reorganization in 1973, with autonomous CBMC organizations being established in individual countries to better deal with linguistic and cultural differences. Although these CBMC bodies have independent governing powers, an International Board of Directors oversees the work around the world, seeking to pool effective strategies and to show how they can be adapted in differing national environments to successfully present the Gospel to non-Christians.
In 2015, our Marketplace Ambassador Initiative debuted and the interest level has exceeded our expectations. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are all ambassadors for Christ; but the question is, how effective are we? To learn more about what it means to be an effective Marketplace Ambassador go to: marketplaceambassador.com
CBMC is highly focused on embracing the next generation of Christ-centered men and we understand to accomplish that, we must be relevant. We must care about their dreams and their desires. We must embrace them authentically and lay out a path for them to run on. Most of all, we must excite and engage their imaginations; because if we don’t something else will.