Vision and History
Since 1930, CBMC International has been used by God to reach leaders in the global marketplace, perhaps the most difficult mission field in the world.
Our vision is a movement of God among business and professional leaders in every nation, resulting in lasting life change that continues to multiply.
While methods and strategies have changed over the years, CBMC International has remained focused on its clear and compelling Global Mission:
We serve God in the global marketplace by establishing and strengthening national and regional leadership teams to effectively present the truths of Jesus Christ to business and professional people and to see lives transformed to Christlikeness.
Today, with thousands of local ministry teams located throughout all six continents, CBMC International is uniquely positioned to influence those who influence others.
By enlisting, equipping and engaging business and professional leaders to its Global Mission, CBMC International is “Working in the Marketplace with Him.”
History of CBMC
CBMC began in the United States in 1930, when a group of Christian businessmen coordinated a series of pre-Easter rallies.
With the Great Depression in its second year, these men saw a need for a spiritual revival in the Chicago area, and a six week evangelistic crusade was held at the Garrick Theatre, located in downtown Chicago.
Public response from the first meeting on January 6, 1931, was overwhelming. Crowds regularly packed out the over 800-seat theater. Apparently, God had greater plans for CBMC than its founders (C.B. Hedstrom, A.H. Leaman, John L. Lincoln, John M. Oury, Frank W. Sheriff, Dr. Ernest Wadsworth, and Edwin G. Zorn) had envisioned.
The noon, weekday meetings soon were extended beyond the scheduled six weeks into six months, then one year. Eventually, the six weeks grew into 26 years as the meetings continued uninterrupted until 1956.
Another indication that God was blessing CBMC from its inception was that similar groups were being started in San Francisco, Seattle, and several other large cities throughout the country. These separate groups linked together and established CBMC in 1937.
Five men, Charles E. Gremmels, Arnold Grunigen, C.B. Hedstrom, Dr. N.A. Jepson, and R.G. LeTourneau, comprised the steering committee selected to direct the CBMC ministry.
International expansion begins
In 1938, the first CBMC international conference was held in Chicago, seeking to bring men from committees around the world into closer fellowship and mutual commitment. Our headquarters was located in Chicago, but not until 1953 did we purchase our first building. During the next 25 years, the administrative center of the ministry was in Chicago. In 1978, the center relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
As the years passed, our work spread throughout the world, into Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, India, and more, over 60 nations in all. Truly, men of all cultures have an equal need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We wrote Operation Timothy, a unique program of Bible study designed primarily for one-on-one discipleship, in 1970. It has become a vital tool for helping men along the path to spiritual maturity and equipping them to share their faith and to disciple others.
Diversity leads to reorganization
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.