CBMC is not a new ministry. In fact, its roots date back to 1930, to the Great Depression when businessmen committed suicide because they saw all their life savings wiped out in the Black Tuesday stock market crash. CBMC began in the United States when a group of Christian businessmen rallied to turn people's hearts back to God during those desperate times. Public response from the first meeting in 1931 onwards was overwhelming. Looking back, the founders of CBMC acknowledged that God had greater plans for the movement than they had envisioned.
The Great Depression has come and gone, but CBMC has endured. This is because it is not a 'fix-it' for an ad hoc problem. CBMC addresses a perennial need of men; we can even go so far as to say, "As long as men are in the marketplace, they will need an organisation like CBMC."
The first meeting in Singapore was started by an American banker who was posted to our shores in the 1970's.
It was a small gathering of a few men. The American was Herbert Lalka and among the early members were Edwin Choo, Geoffrey Abishneganaden, Yeo Oon Boo, Goh Ewe Kheng & Fred Sabapathy.
These faithful few met regularly to encourage one another and spur each other to serve our Lord through their business & professional lives. The best Christian to understand the daily struggles of business people is the Christian businessman who has grown his business successfully while remaining true to godly principles. "In order to earn the right to be heard, the product or service that we as Christians in the marketplace offer must be of comparable standard," Chairman Lionel explained simply. "The idea of CBMC is to encourage members to learn from one another and to bless each other."
16TH CBMC ASIAN CONVENTION
The current Committee took the bold step of hosting 16th CBMC Asian Convention in 2004. It was proposed that the Singapore chapter should aspire to organise and host this Convention. This would be a first for CBMC Singapore and it would be a big step of faith as CBMC Singapore is one of the smallest chapters in Asia and all members in the team were volunteers with their own professions.
Vice-Chairman Joseph said, "Hosting the Asian Convention was a big job. However, under the guidance of Chairman Lionel Ong, we were able to pull off a successful event by working together in unison. About 500 people from all over Asia attended the Convention and we also celebrated CBMC Singapore's 30th anniversary. Lionel often reminds us that we should give our best because we are serving our God. He never claimed the credit for the success of our efforts. Instead, he credited all the successes to the grace of God."
Lionel was subsequently elected to be the Chairman of CBMC Asia in 2006. And in 2009, he was also made a member of the International Board.
Organising CBMC 9th World Convention
During a regular Singapore board meeting in March 2008, it was suggested that CBMC Singapore request to host the 10th CBMC World Convention in 2013.
The CBMC World Convention is held once every four years. This idea met with favourable response from the members and it was decided that they would speak with the Asia CBMC President first. However, just months later, they were given the challenge to host the 9th World Convention, scheduled for 2010 which was supposed to be hosted by another country.
This gave the group only two years to organise the event which normally takes four years to plan. But they jumped to it gamely.
About 900 people from 50 countries attended this event in Singapore, 3rd to 6th November 2010.