Review of The Shakarian Story by Thomas R. Nickel

This is a review of The Shakarian Story, written by Thomas R. Nickel, and published by the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. As a short read, The Shakarian Story, follows the story of the founding of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International organization, tracing its roots to the family of the Shakarian family as they begin to feel the call of God in their life while living in Armenia. 

The Shakarian family starts in the Armenian village of Kara Kala, where as a family they are faithful to the Presbyterian Church in this area. The family and the Presbyterian Church, through the influence of some Russian Pentecostal Christians, came to receive “the marvelous Gift of God as promised by Jesus Christ before He ascended to the Father.”  It was in this era, and area, that we would find the signs of God’s Spirit and work and an inspiration for spiritual renewal and emerging revival in the Armenian people – despite their growing downtrodden situations. A little earlier, there was also a young Russian child living in Armenia, which had some apparent prophetic encounters with God that were significant enough that the church had recorded them and held on to them with hope and promise. That Russian child, who was eleven but illiterate, emerged from an encounter with God, apparently writing with beautiful handwriting and drawing detailed pictures, maps and charts.  It would be years later, decades even, that the prophetic things he wrote and drew began to make sense to these Armenian Jesus followers. The Armenian people increasingly became aware that they were entering the times that were described in the young boy’s prophecy from four and a half decades before. The Shakarian family, and many other Armenian families, began to flee their country due to religious persecution – which was prophetically described also by this boy some time before. It was then that Demos took his wife and children and settled first in New York, and then Los Angeles, California. 

Shortly after the Shakarian family began settling in Los Angeles, the Azusa Street Mission Revival also began to significantly emerge. Some of the Shakarian family encountered the sounds of the Azusa Street Mission Revival, while walking through the city, and realized it was in fact the same experiences and encounters that they had also experienced in Armenia.  In addition to finding similar religious experiences and convictions, the Shakarian family found an anointing of success in business. After the patriarch died, the children, especially Isaac Shakarian also began to experience success in business. This started with a wholesale fruit business at 19 years of age, and then by launching a small dairy which not only became a large dairy in Downey, but it is noted as the world's largest private dairy before the Great Depression. 

The depression not only affected the business but their search for meaning. After the depression, though the Shakarian family experienced success in business again – they wanted to have greater impact for the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God – and this led to a vision and desire in Demos to equip businessmen for the mission of God. A meeting of businessmen that started locally, quickly spread globally, and became the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International organization that we know today. Demos realized that pastoral staff alone would not create worldwide change and fellowship with Jesus. Rather, businessmen were much more numerous than pastoral staff and they needed to not only meet Jesus, but they needed released to be on mission for the Kingdom of God. This is the birth of marketplace mission.

Today, it is the purpose of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship to “connect people with opportunities to reach out and help others find a better life and work together to build better communities.”  [6]  Through their mission they want to (1) to reach men in all nations for Jesus Christ, (2) call men back to God, (3) help believers to be baptized in The Holy Spirit and to grow spiritually, (4) train and equip men to fulfill the Great Commission, (5) provide an opportunity for Christian fellowship and (6) bring unity among all people in the body of Christ. [7]  Through this purpose and mission, they want to see “business people on every continent working together to transform their communities, cities, and nations.” [8]

The Shakarian Story is an interesting story, but the author wrote it in a way that seemingly lacks a certain amount of flow and connectivity. Around chapter four, there is a notable shift to the beginning work of the FGBMF, but prior to that the story feels disjointed. The reader should also note that this story is super short and does not go into the details of each member of the family, their story and supernatural encounters, but rather it walks the reader through a general overview of the family and how they ended up experiencing the Spirit of God, the leading of God, and ultimately how they formed the the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. Though I grew up hearing about the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, their theological leanings and cultural backgrounds are different enough from me that I had not encountered their story before. For this reason, the book was helpful to introduce me to the family, their story, and the forming of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. If you are reading for the same introductory look at the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, then you may enjoy this read.

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[1]  Thomas R. Nickel, The Shakarian Story (2nd Edition) (Los Angeles, CA: Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, 1964), 3.

[2]  Thomas R. Nickel, The Shakarian Story (2nd Edition) (Los Angeles, CA: Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, 1964), 3.

[3]  Thomas R. Nickel, The Shakarian Story (2nd Edition) (Los Angeles, CA: Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, 1964), 9.

[4]  Thomas R. Nickel, The Shakarian Story (2nd Edition) (Los Angeles, CA: Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, 1964), 10.

[5]  Thomas R. Nickel, The Shakarian Story (2nd Edition) (Los Angeles, CA: Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, 1964), 13.

[6]  “About Us,” accessed October 5, 2022, https://www.fgbmfiusa.life/.

[7]  “About Us,” accessed October 5, 2022, https://www.fgbmfiusa.life/.

[8]  “About Us,” accessed October 5, 2022, https://www.fgbmfiusa.life/.


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