Promise Keepers’ Comeback Event Goes Virtual


Tony Evans and Michael W. Smith on the lineup for the first major program of the men’s movement in nearly a decade.

Thirty years ago, a Christian men’s movement began as a meeting of dozens of men with a prominent former football coach. Its biggest moment was a gathering of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall in 1997.

Now, Promise Keepers is attempting to make a comeback, but not in the way it had planned.

Starting Friday, the organization will hold a free two-day virtual event, bringing together men from more than 65 countries to hear from former sports figures, Christian musicians, and famous pastors and authors. Organizers originally hoped to draw 80,000 men to a stadium outside Dallas for their first major arena-based event in close to a decade.

“We’re showing this to a huge conglomeration of churches in India—it’s going to be translated into Hindi—and all over South America, translated into Spanish, and it’s also being translated into Polish,” said Ken Harrison, the organization’s unpaid CEO for the last two and a half years. “What seemed like a huge disappointment ended up being a huge blessing.”

He said about 500 churches in the US are planning to host public simulcasts of the virtual event, with others choosing to keep their plans private in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual event—prerecorded mostly in Nashville, Tennessee—will feature messages from Dallas megachurch pastor Tony Evans and Indiana-based Christian counselor Steve Arterburn and the music of contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith and American Idol finalist Danny Gokey.

Harrison said he expects some women who are “curious” will watch and be able to see for themselves what Promise Keepers is about. But the official response to registrants—estimated …

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