Promise Keepers: Tackling the Problems That Confront Men

Earlier this month, the national men's ministry, Promise Keepers, had their second annual media day to confront the difficulties in a man's life.

Taking place in Denver, Colo. on April 6, a panel of speakers addressed the topic: "15 Years of Transforming Men - What Next?"

The world is experiencing many natural and man-made disasters and crises, and men have a "critical role" in promoting a positive outcome to these challenges, according to a PK statement. At the heart of the problem are men's responses to the family, the congregation, and the community.

Panelists included Pastor Rick Kingham from Overlake Christian Church, Seattle, Wa., newly elected president of the National Coalition of Men's Ministry, and former Vice President of Promise Keepers; Pastor Ruben Mendez from Faith Bible Chapel, Arvada, Colo., Dr. Dave Wardell, Ambassador-at-large of Promise Keepers, with Dr. Tom Fortson, President of Promise Keepers as moderator.

This year's PK theme is 'The Awakening - An Unpredictable Adventure,' which calls on men to wake up from their deep slumber.

According to Fortson said, some needs of men have not changed over the years. Men are still "friendless," "emotionally isolated," "confused over masculinity," too "success-driven," and spiritually seeking. Therefore, PK's vision is to impact men with the ultimate male role model: Jesus.

Each panelist gave opening remarks to start the discussion. Fortson then presented some of the problems facing Christian men and panelists gave answers on what the biblically correct response should be.

In his opening remark, Kingham pointed out that men break promises, and thereby break families and communities.

He said, "We at Promise Keepers have to keep in mind that it's about one man keeping his promises to his wife, one man keeping his promises to his children, one man being a great supporter of his pastor in the local church because I believe that the hope for the world is Jesus Christ."

But the answer is that men must become "radical, passionate, intense, godly, holy, clean, moral, great men of God," like the "early church," he said.

After opening remarks from all three panelists, Fortson asked a question that is of interest to both men and women: "What is it about a man that causes women so many problems?"

The speakers coalesced around the answer that when men become "intimate" with God and can "respond" to God, then not only will men be blessed, but the women and children of America, as well.

Another discussion topic presented by Fortson was illegal immigrants. According to Fortson, it is a big issue that needs to be addressed from a biblical perspective.

"He wants to take care of his family, so he will cross a border… He's labeled an illegal alien… But he's a man," said Fortson.

Kingham replied that the biblical perspective is: "America has always had the wonderful gift of hospitality. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free.

Mentioning that America has a "mandate" from God to welcome the stranger, he added, "I hope that America will never lose sight of the fact that God has prospered us for a reason."

Mendez said, they're children of God too.

"They're not just here robbing us or taking from us, but God placed them here for a reason, even."

Then, Fortson challenged the three panelists, why is it so difficult to sustain the men's ministry in a local church?

Dave Wardell believes the answer is in serving the men.

However, Rick Kingham believes exactly the opposite. He thinks men want to be proactive and make a difference. In other words, men want to serve.

Coming full circle, the panel discussion ended by addressing the issue of marriage.

What is it that a man truly wants from his wife? asked Kingham. Contrary to the wide-spread belief that women hold - that a man wants sex - Kingham said, "What a man wants more than anything else is to know that his wife believes in him."

These and other topics were discussed in a roundtable fashion at PK's Media Day 2005.

Promise Keepers' mission is to ignite and unite men to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ. Through their platform of crusade-like conferences, the PK vision of "Men Transformed Worldwide" has been communicated to more than 200,000 men.