(Photo: Promise Keepers / Jeff Stoddard)
Promise Keepers launched its 17th season of man-to-man talks in Mobile, Ala., over the weekend with more than 4,100 men and boys.
"This year, Promise Keepers is positioned to equip and encourage men in their transformation from promise maker to promise keeper," said Dr. Tom Fortson, president of the international men's ministry. "We have located thousands of men around the world who are identified by the word 'integrity,' as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. It's time to equip these men to put integrity into action."
Promise Keepers' 2007 seven-city conference tour is themed "Flood: Energizing Men of Integrity" and Fortson says, "It's time for men to move to action."
For some, that means staying married for life.
Giving some tips on understanding women to thousands of men at the first 2007 Promise Keepers event at the Mobile Convention Center, Dan Seaborn, founder of Winning At Home, Inc., lit a candle flame to illustrate that they need to do everything they can to keep that flame burning especially when Satan is trying to extinguish that fire. Love your wives like Christ loved the Church, Seaborn told them at the June 29-30 conference.
Seaborn made it clear that once that flame is lit, it needs to stay burning.
"I don't care if you're a teenager or you're 47 and on your third marriage. Stay married for life," he said. "It's God's idea."
Since April, Seaborn has been traveling across the nation to get one million couples on board for the M4L (Married for Life) initiative. Couples are being called to sign on to the commitment of being married for life and receive regular e-mails with marriage tips from Seaborn.
I can tell how you really feel about Jesus Christ by the way you treat your wife, and how students treat their parents," said evangelist Adrian Despres in Mobile. "But I cant tell you why there are so many hypocrites in church.
Promise Keepers has reached millions of men over the past 17 years helping Christian men to ignite the spirit of brotherhood, identify with the same struggles, and grow to be godly men in the house, at work and society at large.
"You need brothers to help you in life," said Bishop Joseph Garlington, Sr., senior pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. "How do you find someone who you can confide in that can help you grow closer to God and become whole? You need authentic relationships and biblical accountability."
Organizations such as NOW (National Organization for Women) have criticized Promise Keepers as a right-wing fundamentalist men's group campaigning for male supremacy. But wives and daughters of Promise Keepers participants and other women have shown support for the millions of men making the effort to be "better men."
"Throughout 17 years of interacting with men from every background and culture, we have seen the positive difference men can make in their communities when they apply biblical principles to every day life," said Fortson. "Now is the time to equip these men for integrity in action.
Last year, more than 132,000 men and boys attended Promise Keepers' 18 stadium events. For the first time in 17 years, the men's ministry has reduced its large-scale events down to seven this year and has planned smaller PK Selects of around 1,000 people at a time. The next conference is scheduled for July 13-14 in San Antonio, Texas, and will be available live on PK's webcast.