“Way back before Promise Keepers had a name, we looked up the word integrity in Webster’s Dictionary. He gave six definitions: ‘utter sincerity, honesty, candor, not artificial, not shallow, no empty promises.’”
– Bill McCartney
The name “Promise Keepers” also derives from the covenant that God fulfilled through Jesus Christ. In Christ, God kept all the promises that he made to mankind and we rely upon God as the original Promise Keeper to keep our promises.
March 20, 1990: The Birth of an Idea
Bill McCartney, then football coach for the University of Colorado, and Dave Wardell, Ph.D. traveled to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet in Pueblo, Colorado. In the context of praying and worshipping together, Coach asked Dave, “What do you feel is the most important factor in changing a man spiritually, from immaturity to maturity?”
Dave immediately replied, “Discipleship.”
Coach then shared how there is a special dynamic when men come together to honor Jesus Christ. He envisioned a gathering of 50,000 men at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field for training and teaching on what it means to be godly men. He was imagining a revival among Christian men who were willing to take a stand for God in their marriages, families, churches, and communities. Revival and discipleship are the two elements that became the foundation and focus of Promise Keepers.
Spring/Summer 1990: The Core Group
Dave and Coach met weekly in March and April of 1990 to pray and petition God for direction concerning these large gatherings of men. Chuck Lane, who was working with Campus Crusade, and Dan Schaffer, who had discipled men for years, later joined Bill and Dave for these prayer meetings. Dave, Dan, and Chuck each brought to this initial core group experience and gifts in discipling men one-on-one. They began to model one of Promise Keepers’ core values—the men’s accountability group.
In July 1990 seventy-two friends and associates of the core group gathered at Boulder Valley Christian Church to discuss a conference for the men of Colorado. The name Promise Keepers evolved out of Coach Mac’s messages given to a number of churches along the Front Range of Colorado. His theme was “personal integrity.” Additionally, those men committed to pray and fast on Wednesdays for a men’s conference to be held in July 1991.
A board of directors was developed, and Promise Keepers was incorporated in the state of Colorado in December of 1990. Promise Keepers first employee was Randy Phillips.
Promise Keepers ’91: “Where are the Men?”
The first arena conference drew 4,200 men to the University of Colorado Events Center. This conference was conducted entirely by volunteers. The men who attended were each challenged to bring 12 others to the next year’s conference.
Field Ministry Developed
Following Promise Keepers ’91, a Field Ministry team was developed to strategically reach out to churches throughout Colorado. Two ministries were developed: the Point Man and Ambassador. The Point Man ministry (later called “Key Man”) grew the first year to approximately 1,000 participating churches. The Key Man served his local pastor as the main organizer. The Ambassador volunteered to present the concept of Promise Keepers and men’s ministry to churches in a particular geographic or cultural area.
Promise Keepers ’92: “What Makes a Man?”
Promise Keepers’ board and staff planned for a two-day men’s conference and a three-day leadership conference for July 1992. In June 1992, Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” aired a radio program on the ministry and Promise Keepers witnessed extraordinary constituent growth.
Fifteen-hundred pastors and lay leaders gathered for the first National Leadership Conference, and 22,000 men from every state in the nation convened at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado for the first National Men’s Conference, made possible by a staff of five people and hundreds of volunteers. During this conference, the mandate was issued for men to pursue reconciliation across racial and denominational lines.
Promise Keepers first hardback book (and companion study guide), also named “What Makes A Man?”, was published by NavPress and distributed to every conference attendee.
Promise Keepers ’93: Face to Face
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Ex: 33:11a NIV
The initial goal of Promise Keepers to fill C.U.’s Folsom Field with 50,000 men was realized at Promise Keepers ’93. Men from every state in the nation and 16 foreign countries came to Boulder to honor Jesus Christ and to learn more about becoming godly men. In addition, over 3,000 pastors and lay leaders gathered for the second National Leadership Conference.
The landmark meeting concluded dramatically, as a single candle’s flame lit by Bill McCartney and passed to Dave Wardell eventually was passed on to every man in the stadium. A photograph of this event remains one of the most stirring in the Promise Keepers archives.
God subsequently expanded our vision to gather men in stadiums throughout the nation. More than events, we believe that God wants the ministry of Promise Keepers to be a spark in His hand, igniting a nationwide movement that calls men to reconciliation, discipleship, and godliness.
Promise Keepers’ first music project, also titled Face to Face, was produced and distributed in association with Maranatha! Music, as a way to help men prepare their hearts for worship, and learn some new choruses. Songs and sound bites from speakers were recorded and produced on a CD called “Promise Keepers ’93 – Live.”
Resources for Men
Promise Keepers developed its first resources for men and men’s ministry in 1993. Focusing Your Men’s Ministry by Pete Richardson was a case study of several successful men’s ministry models around the United States.
Promise Keepers’ foundational Bible study on men’s accountability was published by NavPress, Brothers: Calling Men into Vital Relationships by Geoff Gorsuch and Dan Schaffer.
Also published in 1993 were two Bible studies for men: What God Does When Men Pray by William Carr Peel, and Daily Disciplines for the Godly Man by Bob Beltz (both by NavPress). Men attending the 1993 men’s conference also received a copy of The Masculine Journey by Robert Hicks (NavPress).
Promise Keepers ’94: Seize The Moment
Men of Issachar, who understood the times and
knew what Israel should do.
1 Chronicles 12:32a NIV
This year brought an increase in our conference schedule to include six stadiums nationwide (Anaheim, Boise, Indianapolis, Denton, Portland, Irving) in addition to the regular Boulder conference. More then 278,000 men were able to attend these events, bringing honor to Jesus Christ and reaching out through teaching and worship to encourage the men of our world to make a decision now to become godly influences.
In 1994, Promise Keepers’ manifesto was published by Focus on the Family Publishing of Colorado Springs. The book, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, outlined the message of Promise Keepers, seven commitments to God, friends, purity, family, church, community, and world that frame a life of Christian integrity. Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper was translated into ten languages and published around the world (Arabic, Chinese-Cantonese – Mandarin, Danish, Dutch, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish).
Promise Keepers published a Bible study book for married men called Strategies for a Successful Marriage by E. Glenn Wagner and Dietrich Gruen (NavPress). Also in 1994, Promise Keepers launched New Man Magazine with Strang Publishing of Lake Mary, Florida.
Promise Keepers ’95: Raise The Standard
The total attendance for 1995 was 738,000 men at 13 conferences (Detroit, Los Angeles, Boise, Washington, D.C., Houston, Denver, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Oakland, Irving). Promise Keepers also conducted 13 training seminars for pastors and worship leaders. Some 280,000 men were recruited to be “committed promise keepers.” The response to the conference altar calls was approximately 50,000 men.
At five breakout sessions for youth, 3,500 young men and boys responded to the altar call invitations to the Christian faith. The practical expression of the mission of Promise Keepers is to encourage, equip, and motivate the men of all nations to raise the standard of Jesus Christ in their own lives, families, churches, and communities.
The impact of God’s grace upon men’s ministry was felt worldwide, as independent Promise Keepers organizations were founded in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada in 1995. Promise Keepers’ manifesto was published in Spanish (Siete Promesas) by Editorial Unilit and Enfoque a La Familia (Focus on the Family’s outreach to Latin America). Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper has since been published in a number of other languages.
The Power of a Promise Kept by Gregg Lewis was published by Focus on the Family. The book documented 12 true-life stories of men impacted by the ministry of Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers also produced a multi-media package (videotape, audio cassette and Bible study book) called the “Next Step Kit,” which included the first book in the “Promise Builders” Bible study series.
A Dove award was earned by the single “Godly Men,” from the 1995 music production Raise the Standard, a two-CD set co-produced with Maranatha! Music.
Promise Keepers ’96: Break Down the Walls
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.
Eph. 2:14 NIV
In February 1996, Promise Keepers hosted more than 39,000 Christian clergy for a worship and teaching conference in Atlanta. “Fan into Flame” was reported to be the largest gathering of Christian clergy in modern history.
The summer conference theme was “Break Down the Walls,” focusing men’s attention on God’s heart for reconciliation. The attendance at 22 stadium conferences was 1.1 million men nationwide (Los Angeles, Kansas City, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Boise, Syracuse, Charlotte, Denver, Chicago, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Eugene, Queens, Memphis, Jacksonville, Irving). Also in 1996, Promise Keepers produced a one-hour television special entitled, “The Power of a Promise Kept.” The special aired during Easter week on major television stations across the country.
Two radio programs were launched in 1996. “Promise Keepers Radio Highlights,” a 90-second feature of highlights from conference messages, and “Promise Keepers This Week,” a one-hour weekly magazine program that chronicled the impact of Promise Keepers on the lives of every day American men.
Promise Keepers’ official website was launched in June 1996 at www.promisekeepers.org.
The third in a “trilogy” of publications with Focus on the Family Publishing was released, Go the Distance by John Trent. Two more books were published in the “Promise Builders” Bible study series, Applying the Seven Promises and Promise Keeper at Work.
Promise Keepers ’97: The Making of a Godly Man
If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:15 NIV
Nineteen (19) conferences were held in 1997 (Honolulu, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Houston, Tampa, Chicago, Seattle, Birmingham, Kansas City, Knoxville, Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Miami, Fresno, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Irving). Some 639,000 men attended nationwide. The issues addressed included servant leadership in the home, moral purity, small group involvement, character and competency in the workplace, reconciliation and for the first time, financial integrity. In addition to the gospel, men were confronted with the daily disciplines of the Christian life and called to practice confession and repentance throughout the year.
On the Friday before the Washington, D.C. summer men’s conference, more than one thousand men were mobilized to paint up, clean up, and fix up 20 school buildings in the District of Columbia school district.
In addition to the annual worship CD Break Down the Walls, an all-Spanish language CD was produced, Canticos de Adoracion y Alabanza para Cumplidores de Promesas (“songs of worship and praise for promise keepers”).
In 1997, Promise Keepers and Moody Press published a workbook, Break Down the Walls: Experiencing Biblical Reconciliation and Unity in the Body of Christ, by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein, and Claude V. King. John Trent authored the Making of a Godly Man workbook, published by Focus on the Family. Also in 1997, Promise Keepers and Zondervan collaborated on the publication of the Promise Keepers Men’s Study Bible.
’97 STAND IN THE GAP: A SACRED ASSEMBLY OF MEN
I looked for a man among them who would
build up the wall and stand before me in the gap.
Ezekiel 22:30a NIV
On October 4, 1997, Promise Keepers hosted “Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The day opened as Jewish shofars sounded to commence the program. An estimated one million men participated in “Stand in the Gap”, a day of personal repentance and prayer. The event gathered men from every race, nationality, and most Christian denominations as well as from many countries around the world. The program was six hours of standing and kneeling in prayer, worship, confession, repentance, and declarations.
The event was carried live and in its entirety by C-SPAN, and was covered by international media as the lead story of that weekend. Photos and stories of the remarkable prayer meeting were run on front pages from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post to the New York Times to the Washington Post and virtually every major newspaper in the nation.
Resources produced in support of the sacred assembly include the 16-track compact disc, Stand in the Gap, a prayer journal by Bill McCartney (with Word Publishing), a commemorative edition New Testament (Contemporary English Version) produced with the American Bible Society, and A Revival Primer, an overview of historical and contemporary revival by Dale Schlafer.
Promise Keepers ’98: Live a Legacy: Make a difference in your lifetime
At the “Stand in the Gap” prayer meeting, Promise Keepers founder and President Bill McCartney announced that conferences in 1998 and 1999 would be offered at no charge. Chairman of the Board Bishop Porter said, “There should be nothing to hinder men from coming to hear the real-life applications of the gospel of Jesus Christ from some of the most dynamic speakers in America.”
More than 30,000 priests, pastors and ministers attended nine regional clergy conferences around the U.S. (Philadelphia, Denver, Portland, San Diego, Nashville, Charlotte, Dallas, St. Petersburg, Indianapolis).
A severe cash crunch in the first quarter forced the ministry to furlough its entire staff for two weeks in April, and a dramatic outpouring of contributions and volunteer effort restored the ministry to financial health.
More than 450,000 men attended 19 stadium and arena conferences around the United States free of charge (Detroit, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Fresno, St. Petersburg, Knoxville, Columbia, MO., Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Eugene, Omaha, Grand Rapids, Houston, Tucson, Milwaukee, Columbia, S.C., Sacramento and Colorado Springs). More than 17,000 men responded to the invitation to Christian faith.
The compact disc for the 1998 conference season, Live a Legacy, had 11 tracks, including a conference favorite, “Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear)” written by Graham Kendrick. Also in 1998, Promise Keepers began producing a daily devotional magazine with the editors of Christianity Today, called Men of Integrity.
Promise Keepers ‘99: Choose This Day
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
Joshua 24:15a NIV
Throughout 1999, Promise Keepers hosted its first international events in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Pretoria, South Africa; and Monterrey, Mexico, drawing in excess of 20,000 men. Also, 306,700 men attended Promise Keepers’ 15 free conferences in the U.S. (Memphis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Denver, Philadelphia, Tacoma, San Antonio, Charlotte, Hartford, Des Moines, Stockton, Kansas City, East Rutherford, St. Petersburg, Phoenix). More than 10,000 commitments to Christ, including 3,000 first time declarations of faith, were received. Bill McCartney, founder and president, said, “Given the crisis conditions facing the church of Jesus Christ in the United States and around the world, godly men are essential to accomplishing this mission of love, unity and righteousness called Christianity.”
Word Publishing published a revised and expanded second edition of Promise Keepers’ manifesto volume, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper. Word also published the first year’s worth of Men of Integrity devotionals in book form in 1999. Bible studies published in 1999 were Character Under Construction (Word), and Seven Promises Practiced curriculum (Nelson – Word Multimedia).
Promise Keepers 2000: Go the Distance
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
Promise Keepers celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2000. Since 1990, PK has reached five million men through more than 100 conferences. Countless others have been reached through our radio, television and Internet broadcasts and printed materials.
A total of 16 conferences were held across the United States including seven cities new to Promise Keepers (Lynchburg, Va., Pittsburgh, Dallas, Baton Rouge, La., Portland, Ore., Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Worcester, Denver, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Atlanta). The theme for 2000 Promise Keepers conferences was “Go The Distance.” The conference fee was reinstated after two years of no-charge. Training for 195,000 men included side-by-side training for fathers and sons. More than 7,700 men and boys responded to invitations to the Christian faith.
Another radio outreach debuted in 2000, a three-minute social commentary by Bill McCartney called “4th & Goal – Coaching for Life’s Tough Calls.” By the end of 2000 the program cleared on nearly 500 outlets. In 2001, a 90-second version of the commentary began airing on mainstream (secular) news talk and sports talk stations.
In 2000, Promise Keepers published Face to Face: An Encounter with Christ (Nelson – Word Multimedia), a print/audio/video kit designed for church-based men’s retreats. The kit included two video tapes including footage from presentations by Tony Evans, Jack Hayford, Crawford Loritts, Max Lucado and Joe Stowell. Also included in the kit were the 1993 worship CD Face to Face and a facilitator’s guide.
Promise Keepers 2001: Turn the Tide – Living Out An Extreme Faith
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Eighteen conferences were held in Promise Keepers’ 12th season of men’s events, including two single-day conferences in Grand Forks, N.D. and Rapid City, S.D. (Other cities included Jacksonville, Fla., Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Auburn Hills, Mich., Providence, R.I., Nashville, Indianapolis, San Jose, Calif., Kansas City, Mo., Charlotte, N.C., Houston, Tacoma, Anaheim, Nampa, Idaho, and Oklahoma City.) Attendance was more than 194,000. The theme for 2001 Promise Keepers conferences was “Turn the Tide: Living Out An Extreme Faith.” Promise Keepers founder and president Bill McCartney said the current culture is pulling men away from faith in God. Instead, McCartney said, an extreme faith is required to represent Christ to families and communities.
At 15 of the 16 two-day conferences, Missouri-based Christian camp director Joe White portrayed a Roman cross-builder, constructing a 12-foot cross on stage. Thousands responded by tacking handwritten confessions to the cross. Many of the confessors received Christ’s sacrifice and began their Christian walk at 2001 Promise Keepers conferences.
In December 2001, 14,000 teens, dads, and youth pastors took part in Promise Keepers’ first-ever conference designed specifically for youth age 13-17. The young men’s gathering, dubbed “The Passage,” filled Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and featured music by Cross Movement, Jars of Clay, John Reuben and Michael W. Smith. Speakers included Reggie Dabbs, Erwin McManus, Josh McDowell, and Bill McCartney.
Some 250 youth and adults in churches around the Midwest participated in a 12-week Promise Keepers mentoring program.
Promise Keepers 2002: Storm the Gates
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’”
As told by Matthew, chapter 16, verses 16 and 17
In 2002, Promise Keepers’ 13th year of ministry, 16 cities hosted men’s conferences (Tampa, Atlanta, Rochester, N.Y., Knoxville, Miami, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, N.C., Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Dallas, St. Louis, St. Paul, Denver, Los Angeles, Stockton, Phoenix) for more than 176,000 men.
Promise Keepers’ youth event, Passage, took place in Anaheim on Nov. 1-2 to an estimated 10,000 teens, dads, mentors, and youth pastors.
Promise Keepers published a 12-week study guide for conference attendees titled The Vision, Passion, Discipline & Risk of a Noble Man by James Ryle. Promise Keepers also published a companion volume, A Pastor’s Guide to Leading Men by Pete Richardson.
Highlights from the Bill McCartney’s radio commentary program “4th & Goal – Coaching for life’s tough calls” were published in a gift book by Tyndale.
The Promise Keepers/Maranatha! CD music project for 2002 “Live” featured four new songs, and several favorites recorded on March 16, 2002 at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Promise Keepers 2003: The Challenge: A Call to Action
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
PK held 18 arena conferences this year (Lubbock, Texas, Baltimore, Jackson, Miss., Peoria, Ill., Albany, N.Y., Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh, Louisville, Ky., Portland, Ore., Columbus, Ohio, St. Paul, Minn., Raleigh, N.C., Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., Denver, San Jose, Calif., Las Vegas, Nev.) attracting more than 172,000 men. The 2003 theme was “The Challenge: A Call to Action,” and reclaiming the culture and servant leadership were regular topics throughout each two-day event.
In addition to arena conferences, Promise Keepers held two special events this year including “Come Near to Me,” a pastor’s conference in Arizona, February 18-20. Come Near To Me gave more than 9,000 pastors an opportunity for renewal and encouragement as they gathered in Phoenix for a three-day confab. A first-ever prison conference was held in Ohio, August 12, called “Redeem the Time.” About 1,000 men at the medium-security Marion Correctional Institute in Marion, Ohio, attended the four-hour event, and 10,000 more in 70 other prisons participated via the free Web cast.
Bill McCartney published his fourth book, Blind Spots: What You Don’t See May Be Keeping Your Church From Greatness (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 2003). Maranatha! Music produced a CD for “The Challenge” featuring 12 tracks, including up-tempo contemporary songs, Latin salsa, new worship anthems and previously released songs from Plus One, Salvador, Take 6 and Chris Tomlin.
Also this year, Promise Keepers founder Coach Bill McCartney resigned as president of Promise Keepers. Thomas S. Fortson Jr., Ph.D., was named Promise Keepers’ third president and CEO on October 1.
Promise Keepers 2004: “Uprising – The Revolution of a Man’s Soul”
“I have run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”
Based on the book by Erwin McManus, Uprising – A Revolution of the Soul, Promise Keepers’ 15th season drew more than 179,000 men and boys to 18 conferences (Albany, N.Y., Baltimore, Greensboro, N.C., Dallas, Charleston, W.V., Detroit, Memphis, Tenn., Indianapolis, Atlanta, Ga., St. Louis, Mo., San Antonio, Texas, Oklahoma City, Des Moines, Iowa, Tucson, Ariz. San Diego, Calif., San Jose, Calif., Orlando, Fla., Seattle, Wash.) Nearly 1000 men signed up for the revived “Ambassador” program.
Almost 47,000 pounds of food were collected for local ministries in nine conference cities. Inmates at two West Virginia prisons enjoyed the Charleston, W.V. men’s conference, and active military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq watched conferences from Charleston and Orlando via the Internet.
“Haiti at the Cross,” a collaborative effort with New Directions International, drew thousands of Haitians for 4 days of prayer and praise events in December.
Promise Keepers 2005: “The Awakening – An Unpredictable Adventure”
“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” – Paul’s Letter to the Church at Rome, chapter 13, verse 11 (NIV)
Promise Keepers marked its 16th year of conference ministry with a 20 conference schedule from coast to coast, running from May through October. It’s the most ambitious schedule for Promise Keepers since 1999, and included a gathering at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, a 70,000 seat open-air facility in Fayetteville, Ark., plus visits to five other “first-time” cities.
It was a crowning achievement to an incredible year as over 3,300 gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time, while thousands of others came forward to rededicate their lives. On November 6-12, PK traveled into international waters as we took the “The Awakening” event to Nassau, Bahamas. Prime Minister Perry G. Christie invited PK to join our Bahamian brothers for a week of strategic ministry initiatives and a Day of Prayer to awaken the men in the region.
Promise Keepers 2006: “Unleashed – Releasing the Raw Power of Your Heart”
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus 1:18-19a (NIV)
More than 132,000 men were reached at conferences in 18 U.S. cities. Community impact in PK’s 17th year of ministry included collecting more than 170,000 pounds of non-perishable food for local faith-based charities, donating 213 units of blood in four cities (with the American Red Cross), and producing a two-hour conference for inmates at the Sanders Estes Unit prison facility in Venus, Texas (with the Christian Men’s Alliance). Promise Keepers also provided technical assistance to the ongoing prison ministry at Marion Correctional Facility in Marion, Ohio, including their September 2006 event, held under rainy skies out in the open yard.
Exhibiting at Promise Keepers events throughout 2006 was Operation Noah Rebuild, a non-sectarian, long-term construction project for the New Orleans area, coordinated by the North American Mission Board – Southern Baptist Convention.
Guest musicians at 2006 conferences included Dove-award winning Israel and New Breed, jam band Big Daddy Weave, Samoan soulsters The Katinas, Mark Harris (of 4Him), storyteller Mark Schultz, guitar whiz Lincoln Brewster and composer Paul Baloche.
At the Atlanta men’s conference in August, S. Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A Restaurants, was presented Promise Keepers’ first “Transformation Award” for a “lifetime of transforming family, community, workplace, and most importantly, the lives of the next generation.”
Motorcyclists increased their involvement at 2006 Unleashed events, with 750 bikers participating in special rallies in five cities. PK’s first-ever custom bike “Unleashed” (built by Carl Brouhard, www.brouharddesigns.com) was displayed at each event. In some cities, California minister Richard Wilkins (www.awakeninginhimministry.com) gave his testimony of triumph over near suicide and community service.
Close to 4000 volunteer “Ambassadors” signed up to help churches communicate with Promise Keepers year round since the program was re-established in 2004. Resources were developed and distributed, including a six-week Bible study Band of Brothers, co-produced with Man in the Mirror, and a music CD with Integrity Music, Unleashed. More than 3000 copies of All About Jesus, co published by the International Bible Society, were distributed free of charge.
Promise Keepers 2007: Flood – Energizing Men of Integrity
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 16:13-14)
Promise Keepers (PK) marked its 18th year of ministry with events aimed at community service, and a range of Internet-based tools to help men grow spiritually. An estimated 50,000 men attended seven Promise Keepers national conferences (Mobile, Ala., San Antonio, Nashville, Orlando, Columbia, S.C., Cincinnati, Fresno). More than 2,200 men made spiritual commitments to faith and life in Jesus Christ in 2007. More than 1,000 of that group declared their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the very first time.
Demonstrating “integrity in action,” attendees contributed back to their local communities in some significant ways. Men donated 210 units of blood, coordinated by local blood charities, including the American Red Cross and Florida’s Blood Centers. For the fourth straight year, Promise Keepers promoted a local food drives, gathering up more than 41,000 pounds of non-perishable food items. Local charities received the cases of food for distribution through church and community networks.
New online content, new resources from Promise Keepers
The Internet-based scripture memorization tool VerseMinder was launched in June, drawing more than 7,000 subscribers in its first six months. A new series of classic PK videos are now downloadable from the website, under the banner “PKOnDemand.” A Promise Keepers channel was set up on the popular video website YouTube. Released in sync with the feature film in February ‘08, a classic Promise Keepers musical presentation of the story behind the hymn “Amazing Grace” by Wintley Phipps gained more than 80,000 views.
PK’s national daily radio show was revamped. The “Family Night Guy” was picked up by more than 1,300 radio outlets world wide, and was available by podcast.
The San Antonio and Orlando men’s conferences were streamed to subscribers as a live “webcast,” reaching viewers in 22 states and Latin America. The archived video streams were also viewed later by churches coast-to-coast. Promise Keepers also distributed a 13-track compilation CD produced by Integrity Music, Energizing Men of Integrity. Todd Burkhalter’s volume Risking It All (Xulon Press) was a featured book for 2007 conferences.
On November 10, 2007, nearly 2000 men attended the premiere of PKAdventure digital cinema events at a dozen movie theaters around the continental United States. The 90-minute video presentation featured an exclusive interview with champion pro football coach and author Tony Dungy, a drama from L.A.-based Awaken, praise and worship performances by the PK7 conference band, and Reggie Dabbs. Attendees at all PKAdventure theater locations participated in a wide range of local community service projects, including food drives, building repair, landscaping and light construction, clothing drives, medical missions projects and blood drives.
Promise Keepers 2008: “Manhood ’08 – Let the Truth Be Told”
“”Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong”. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (New International Version)
Promise Keepers’ 19th year of ministry service included church-based men’s conferences for nearly 25,000 men in seven cities (Fresno, Calif., Atlanta, Peoria, Ill., Dallas, Cleveland, Ohio, Charleston, W.V., and Tacoma, Wash.).
The theme of the 2008 conferences was “Manhood ’08: Let the Truth Be Told.”
Clergy training workshops (“Grow Your Men – Grow Your Church”) were held in each conference city and were attended by nearly 1,200 ministers. One thousand nine (1,009) need-based scholarships were provided to conference and workshop attendees.
An estimated 1,300 local volunteers helped produce the various events. Two hundred seventy (270) volunteer specialists called “Ambassadors” received ministry training at 15 events nationwide. A national Saturday church/community outreach event called “PKAdventure” was distributed in the spring and fall through theater and church satellite networks. Related community service projects in 13 communities from coast to coast included building a youth camp, a barn-raising, park clean up, community barbecues and block parties, house painting and building renovation, food drives, blood drives, and clothing drives.
Resources developed for men included president/CEO Tom Fortson’s second book Manhood – Let the Truth Be Told (Moody Publishers), an Internet portal “PK Edge,” an on line educational tool “PK Verseminder” used by 7,000 subscribers, a webcast of a men’s conference to churches, military and correctional institutions, a radio feature “Family Night Guy” heard on 1,200 stations nationwide, PK’s 20th CD project “Manhood,” and electronically-distributed newsletters.
In September, Promise Keepers founder Coach Bill McCartney was elected Chairman of the Board. The Rev. Raleigh Washington, D.D. was named President/CEO.