ABOUT THIS TIME the Full Gospel young people of the Los Angeles area decided to hold a great rally so that all Pentecostal youth could get together for fellowship and spiritual edification. They estimated that advertising and rental of a meeting place would cost about $300 and they didn’t know where the $300 would come from. Someone suggested that Demos Shakarian be asked to raise the money for them. Always thinking in big terms, Demos suggested that they increase their budget to $3,000. He began to speak to some of his friends about the idea of several of them going together and helping finance a big one-night rally at the Shrine Auditorium, but those he consulted seemed to think the cost was prohibitive.
Then Demos and Isaac arranged a dinner at Knott’s Berry Farm, inviting about a hundred Full Gospel business men as guests. They were told that their dinner was to be free, but that an offering would be taken to sponsor the youth rally. Before all the details of the plan were fully explained to the gathered men, Fred Friedmeyer, Dell Arganbright, Bryan Smith and many others began walking up and laying checks for $500 and other large amounts on the table. This kept up for twenty minutes. When the voluntary offering was counted, it amounted to $6,200.
When the youth rally was held in the Shrine Auditorium, so great was the crowd that the building was packed and throngs massed on the outside. Among those unable to get in was a young evangelist by the name of R. W. Culpepper. Someone asked that he pray for them. The Lord sent a wave of glory over the gathering, and a mighty revival broke on the outside of the Auditorium. News was rushed to those in charge of the rally and the revival caught fire inside with an equal intensity. God moved in a mighty way inside and outside the Auditorium.
The offering was so liberal at the rally that it, combined with the $6,200 raised at Knott’s Berry Farm, paid all the expenses of the rally and left a fund of $5,000. In considering what to do with the money, it was suggested that a massive Pentecostal Rally be held in Hollywood Bowl. More than 22,000 people packed the Bowl for this event, and the news spread far and near that the Full Gospel people were becoming united and powerful. Money left over from the Bowl rally was used to help finance the Azusa Street Golden Anniversary, some years later, and was later transferred to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Greater Los Angeles which was formed as a result of the Anniversary.
These events revealed to Demos Shakarian what a mighty force for God the Full Gospel business men would be if they could only work together. He talked to many who had actively participated in the rallies and they all expressed a like feeling. One of the persons who encouraged Demos was the President of Southern California Bible College, Dr. Irvine, J. Harrison, who, in the providence of God, became Executive Secretary of the Fellowship five years later. A Full Gospel corporation lawyer, Paul B. Fischer, was employed to help draft the necessary organizational documents, and an organizational meeting was called to meet in Fresno, California.
Men gathered from many parts of the country, choosing Demos Shakarian as President, Lee Braxton, George Gardner and Miner Arganbright as Vice-Presidents, and Earl Draper as Secretary-Treasurer. It happened that Oral Roberts was holding a campaign in Fresno at the time, and he introduced the officers of the newly-formed organization to his tent audience.
THERE IS one question that people ask Demos Shakarian more than any other. They want to know how he can keep up his dairy and ice cream business, his real estate and shopping center activities, and still be so active in the work of the Lord. Here is Demos’ answer: “Business demands are very exacting. Besides our dairy herd of approximately 1,700 head, our four dairy drive-ins, and other retail and wholesale aspects of the dairy business, my father and I have two shopping centers and other real estate interests to look after. Any business man will admit that these holdings require a great deal of a man’s time. One thing that helps in our situation is that my father and I work together as partners, and we are both interested in the Lord’s work. The bigger you get in business, the busier you must be in God’s work to keep up your spiritual life!”
Richard is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather both in the business world and in the ministry. At the age of fifteen he was called to Washington, D.C., to address the Congressional Prayer Meeting. He has engaged in the work of the Lord as far away as the West Indies. He is shouldering much of the supervision of the vast Reliance dairy business as he, at the same time, continues his work for the Lord.
Florence Shakarian, miraculously spared from suffering and death or a life of invalidism when the Lord answered the prayer of Dr. Charles S. Price, has thrilled thousands with her beautiful and anointed voice. She, too, follows the Shakarian pattern by being busily engaged in the office of the Reliance Dairy headed by her brother and father.
We have told The Amazing Shakarian Story in as brief a manner as possible, beginning with God’s miraculous events back in Russia and Armenia, on up to the present time in America and around the world. If this story causes others to give God the glory due Him and causes them to strive, in some measure, to let God direct their lives as he has directed the lives of the Shakarians, then we shall have been abundantly repaid for our efforts!
Continue with … The Great Sleeping Giant