After years of fading and stagnation, the once popular evangelical men’s ministry Promise Keepers is ushering in a “new era” with plans to host its first national stadium event in over two decades next summer in Texas.
On July 31, 2020, Promise Keepers aims to convene 80,000 people at AT&T Stadium in Dallas for the official relaunch of the national men’s gathering, which once saw hundreds of thousands from various denominational backgrounds gathered at its 1997 “Stand in the Gap” rally in Washington, D.C.
“Promise Keepers struggled. It really needed a new board and fusion of energy, a new vision,” Promise Keepers Chairman Ken Harrison told The Christian Post. “It has all those things now. Promise Keepers had to get back to the basics of what it was. … For Promise Keepers, we had to realize what is its brand and identity.”
For Promise Keepers, Harrison said, its identity is really as an “NFL stadium event with the greatest speakers in Christendom coming together.”
However, he said, the organization hasn’t held a stadium event since 1998.
“[I]t went down to arenas for a while. And then it went down to churches,” Harrison explained. “Quite frankly, for the last four or five years, it’s done almost nothing.”
Over the last few years, the organization has undergone a restructuring. The ministry’s founder, Bill McCartney, passed the mantle of the ministry over to Harrison in April 2018.
“The one thing I’ve heard so many times from literally hundreds of men is there’s nothing like the sound of 70,000 men singing ‘Amazing Grace’ together,” said Harrison. “Guys are just completely raw and real for two days. So you can’t recreate that anywhere else besides in an NFL Stadium. What we had to do is get back to who we are and do the NFL stadium event.”
In addition to the event in Dallas in 2020, Harrison says Promise Keepers plans to host annual gatherings on the last weekend in July in a different city every year.
Along with the reigniting of the Promise Keepers’ brand, the ministry will incorporate advancements in technology to modernize the ministry and help it sustain impact in the lives and families of men who attend the rallies.
According to Harrison, “it’s the difference between analog and digital.” He said Promise Keepers looks to get men “digitally integrated” — a reality that was not possible during Promise Keepers’ peak in the 1990s.
“What about when men leave the stadium and go home?” Harrison asked. “Many things were tried, but it just wasn’t possible to effectively network, encourage and strengthen men at home.”
Harrison said that one of the areas where Promise Keepers needed improve was on “follow-up.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith