Merrill Oster is the Founder of Pinnacle Forum America and current member of its National Board. He is a dynamic businessman, international journalist, publishing entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker. (For a complete bio, see www.pinnacleForum.com.) Merrill resides in Illinois and Arizona with his lovely wife Carol, has 2 children and 6 grandchildren.
Accomplished businessman, Merrill Oster, Founder of Pinnacle Forum America, is humble. It’s easy to see why God chose this man to help begin this movement.
“Pinnacle Forum really was started as a result of a conversation I had back in 1996 with Dr. Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, who thought that business leaders had a great opportunity to advance the cause of Christ and have a huge impact on our culture.”
Dr. Bright wanted Merrill to prayerfully consider leading such a challenge, activating peers in some way that would cause them to become more active in influencing ‘their’ peers.
Merrill prayed, took existing research and started a pilot project in Phoenix, while making contacts around the country. Pinnacle Forum America, was born. Today, there are approximately 89 Forums nationally.
“This frequent meeting of 6-10 guys has a very, very strong impetus in our spiritual lives. The idea of co-coaching is a very powerful concept. It’s not like I’m teaching you something- we’re sharing one another’s life stories and learning from them.”
“It’s a powerful dynamic in which the Holy Spirit speaks to us obviously through His Word, but also speaks to us directly and then through our peers. The confidentiality, the mutual respect, make Pinnacle Forum different from other platforms.”
Research shows once a person joins Pinnacle Forum, he or she is much more likely to invest significant more time in Bible reading, going to church, fasting, or solitude; things that stimulate spiritual growth.
Many highly successful individuals ask themselves at some stage of their life;
“Is this all there is?”
Pinnacle Forum answers with a resounding, “NO.”
“We help people then think through this question and get a real, bigger vision for their life.” Like thinking about a longer time horizon, eternity. Like helping them invest their lifetime of accumulated influence; making connections with others; advancing the cause of Christ through personal and cultural transformation.
Getting into a Forum stimulates, or in some cases ‘jump starts’ their spiritual growth. Merrill’s own Forum has blessed him. New friendships encourage him, providing insights into his personal life.
”It’s a non-threatening way for people to engage with one another, and for us to invest in our friends, giving them the best of what we have.”
“We keep hearing from outsiders who look at what we’re doing and say that we are on the cusp of something really, really big taking place as a result of Pinnacle Forum. So it’s exciting, it’s humbling and it’s invigorating.”
How much impact can Pinnacle Forum have on society?
“I think it’s very, very possible that if we had 20-30,000 of the nation’s most influential leaders thinking and acting in a Christian way, the culture would return to having a Christ orientation, noticed in every segment of our society, more conscious about our Godly heritage. The Judeo-Christian ethic has really launched the whole idea of the free enterprise system so there would be a higher appreciation for job creation; investment in positive things- the moral fiber of our country- and then that effect would be a much, much stronger economy. There would be more people actually living out the life of Christ.”