By Rick Kern
“I’ve heard people say that people go where they’re invited and they keep going where they feel welcome,” observes Steve Olczak, President of the Buffalo Chapter of the Business Men’s Fellowship (BMF). That being said, it is very likely that you’re going to feel like you mean something if you check out the Buffalo Chapter of BMF — and odds are that you’re going to want to come back. Steve is a man with a mission, “So, if they’re feeling that they’re getting something out of this, they come out of there refreshed, they come out of there with a little knowledge, they come out of there after having networked with someone. Then it’s worth two hours of their time on a Saturday.”
Headquartered in California, BMF is a national organization with about 60 chapters throughout the country and a handful in New York State. The Buffalo Chapter meets the first Saturday of every month at the Denny’s Restaurant Meeting Room, 4757 Transit Road (at the corner of French Road), Depew, New York 14043. The gathering runs from 8:30 AM through 10:00 AM.
A typical meeting has about 12 to 14 guys and includes not only a meal, but a guest who shares a personal testimony about their life’s journey then fields a few questions. A personal testimony is shared at each meeting to demonstrate the life-changing power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “The real reason is we’re there,” says Steve, “is that because no matter what we do outside in life, what we do for our jobs, no matter what churches we go to, this is a non-denominational group where we can leave those issues at the door when we come in and we can inspire and motivate each other and encourage each other.”
“So it’s kind of like an incubator,” he continues, “once a month for an hour-and-a-half, we can be there with people of like minds and kind of reevaluate our minds and our spirits. I’m encouraging the members who want to participate to make the announcements or bring in a speaker to develop those skills. In addition to being together, to share our Christian faith, to edify each other, we’re all trying to give them an opportunity to have real role skills so they can go out and be confident, not only in their faith, but in some real hard skills that they have.”
BFM members are commissioned by God and challenged to claim Christ in the marketplace. BMF chapters offer a variety of meeting options to accommodate participants. Some are one hour midweek breakfast or lunch meetings centered on the strong personal testimony of a Christian businessman. Others are evening or weekend meetings with a longer format. Most importantly, all meetings are designed to reach those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ and to strengthen believers through a clear Gospel presentation and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister.
“We provide a supportive and positive faith environment in the marketplace where men can be men,” says Steve, “and where members encourage, inspire, and motivate their Christian brothers.”
The Buffalo Chapter has a number of community focused events with the only function specifically for men being the monthly Saturday Fellowship Breakfast meetings. For example, the guys team up on a Nursing Home Outreach where the “Good News” message of God’s love is shared with nursing home residents. Typically they work it out so that the visit includes a mix of Gospel music and old time favorites. Some other activities are a winter bowling event and a summer canoeing trip.
Additionally, there are unique events often developed to address specific concerns. One of the members lost his son to an overdose of opioids two-years ago on Thanksgiving Day. BMF has taken advantage of a two-hour session on the opioid epidemic offered by Erie County. The program also includes a Narcam demonstration and instruction on its use. “I have scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2018,” says Steve, “our men’s fellowship will host the two-hour session.” He goes on, “The entire demonstration will be given and attendees will walk out of our events, I believe, with two doses of Narcam, if they wish.”
It is a community event that will be open to the public. “You don’t have to be Christian,” Steve stresses, “you may be Christian, you can be a part of the fellowship, you can be off the streets, again this is a bring the pulpit into the awareness event and they’ll have the opportunity to network with our group. We’re Christians and you might get some interest, maybe invite some people to come to our breakfast, but again, for the drug awareness, I think it will be a fantastic opportunity.”
Maybe it’s true that guys will be guys and they need some place to figure out what that is. And maybe the biggest challenge is that sometimes, those lingering paradigms that we had drilled into our heads for so long are kind of empty. So when men come to the meeting together, they have to focus on their common strengths and what they have in common rather than any differences that might exist. Visit www.bmfcheektowaga.com or call Steve at (716) 601-8941 to learn more about the local BMF meetings.