Some 7,000 men were joined by audiences worldwide during Promise Keepers' fifth visit to Orlando, Fla., over the weekend.
One of the largest men's organizations in the nation, Promise Keepers has picked up on interactive media this year with on-demand podcasts and live webcasts from two of this year's seven nationwide conferences. Viewers in 22 states and Latin America tuned in to the July 27-28 Orlando conference.
"My husband and son are both attending with about 25 men and teens from Turning Point Worship Center," Stephanie in Bartow wrote via live chat. "They come back different men!"
For the past 16 years, Promise Keepers has been intentional about transforming men into men of integrity – better Christians, husbands, fathers and breadwinners – and positioning them to be promise keepers. Filling a gap in the church in America that is reportedly 61 percent female and losing touch with men, the prominent parachurch organization was "a huge eye-opening" to the needs of men, as Rick Kingham, president of the National Coalition of Men's Ministries, has described it.
The men's ministry movement has gained traction in recent years with Christian men still in need of male bonding and man-to-man talks, including struggles with pornography.
"The safety net of fellowship between men is important," Bishop Joseph Garlington, Sr., senior pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, told thousands of men and boys in Orlando.
"The enemy wants you to think that if you discuss your issues with somebody, it will ruin you. The truth is, if you don't, it will ruin you."
Giving pointers on marriage, Dan Seaborn, founder of Winning At Home, Inc., said, "God created marriage. Don't mess with it!"
Promise Keepers in Orlando follows 9,000 men in Nashville the previous weekend and is part of the 2007 season of seven stadium-size conferences, a reduction from their usual 16-or-so large-scale events each year. The men's organization is going through a period of refocus and recalibration and is currently making some significant changes including the addition of smaller local events called Promise Keeper Selects.
Making a community impact at each city stop, Promise Keepers collected in Orlando an estimated 8,000 pounds of food which will be distributed by the Central Florida Dream Center. Since the June 29 launch of Promise Keepers' 2007 conferences, 135 units of blood have also been raised.
Promise Keepers' next stop is Columbia, S.C., Aug. 3-4.