Almost eighty years after that challenge was first posed on those pages, Robert L. “Bobby” Mitchell, a young Atlanta businessman, received a copy of In His Steps as a Christmas gift from his mother. Bobby found his own challenge clarified in the struggle of Sheldon’s character Milton Wright, a businessman for whom applying the question “What would Jesus do?” had incredible ramifications. Nevertheless, regardless of the potential ramifications, Bobby, like Milton Wright, determined that following Jesus’ steps through the business world was exactly what God was calling him to do.
Bobby’s commitment to Bible study had previously led him to join a group of business people – many of whom were top Atlanta executives – meeting every Friday morning at 6:30. Their integrity and faithfulness impressed him, and it did not take long to discover that God was calling others to walk with Him in their businesses, even though there seemed to be no clear sense of what that really meant.
As Bobby and his wife, Sue, prayed for God to lead them to a business that Bobby could operate based on a walk with Christ. A friend, B.G. “Bert” Stumberg, approached him about a company – Applied Ceramics, Inc. – that was in need of new direction and fresh leadership. God had provided the platform…now, “What would Jesus do?”
The first thing Jesus did was to renew and deepen the relationship He had begun during World War II with Bert. After attending Bible study with Bobby several times, Bert renewed his commitment to Christ, and the two dedicated themselves to operating their companies based on Biblical principles.
Their search for wisdom and resources led to a 1977 Leadership Dynamics meeting in Point Clear, Alabama, where two things happened: their vision of leading a company for Christ was clarified, and another close friend, Bill Leonard, accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.
As Bill began to walk with Bobby and Bert, God brought another friend, Larry Burkett into the group. Together these men invited 70 of Georgia’s Christian business leaders to meet at the Edwards Baking Company to hear the vision that God was developing, and to encourage them to join in pursuing that vision. Out of that meeting came a group of seven that struggled together for the next two years learning how to walk step-by-step with Christ in their personal and business lives. In addition to Bobby, Bert, Bill and Larry, Jim Moye, Ben Lively and Tom Harris formed a nucleus that actually functioned much like what has become an FCCI Local Fellowship Group or CBO Resource Team. These men, along with Jim Pursell and Smith Lanier, became the original FCCI Board of Directors.
1978 | First Business Leader Group formed
1980 | First Annual Conference, Downtown Atlanta Marriott Hotel
1980 – 1985 | Bruce Wilkinson, Larry Burkett, and Ron Blue join the Fellowship casting vision and articulating the key teachings
1985 | FCC becomes FCCI, emphasizing the fellowship’s international vision
1985 – 1989 | Don Kline and Buck Jacobs and Mike Stevens become the first Area Coordinators and lead expansion
1989 | Growth triggers restructuring. Board of Directors appoints Ray Miller as the first President and CEO to take over operations
1990 – 1994 | Executive Team grows to include the first Vice-President, Doug Hunter, active for many years as a member and business owner. Area coordinators grow to 20 under the supervision of Don Kline
1996 | A changing of the guard prompts the development of a new God-sized strategic plan. Bert Stumberg retires as Chairmen, Bobby Mitchell takes his place, and Alan Ross comes on as the new CEO
Fall 1996 | Largest ever International Conference challenges members to support new vision; changing our world through Christ one company at a time
2002 – 2008 | Kent Humphreys steps into the role of CEO, bringing his dynamic leadership and powerful teaching to FCCI at a critical time. Under his leadership, FCCI grows to over 850 member companies and 3000 members involved in FCCI / Christ@Work groups. God moves leaders to expand the mission to serve business leaders – owners, executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and business students. Vision recast as transforming the world through Christ, one business leader at a time
2002 – 2008 | The international mission takes off, as groups are added in over 20 different countries. FCCI resources are translated into numerous languages
2008 | Doug Hunter returns as CEO with a heart to inspire business leaders everywhere for maximum Kingdom impact and global transformation
2009 | With significant expansion in Asia we are now engaged in over 30 countries
2010 | Our emphasis in the USA is on new groups in every state, bringing the ministry of FCCI closer to every Christian CEO
2011 | Terence Chatmon is unanimously appointed President & CEO, bringing a heart for discipleship and a passion for encouraging and equipping business leaders to further the Kingdom, Sept, 2011. Terence Chatmon, CEO, launches Global Cities Plan, targeting the top 100 strategic cities–worldwide, Sept, 2011.
2012 | New York City Area Team launches, April 2-3, 2012. Terence Chatmon, CEO, announces new technology advances, including the 2012 launch of FCCI’s first Global Learning Portal and Conference Streaming event. Global Cities Plan announced.
As we look to the future, we see an unprecedented opportunity to unite business leaders worldwide, and see Christ honored in the workplace as never before.