Many will remember the Promise Keepers movement of the 1980s, when big arena rallies drew crowds of 15,000, more or less, to venues across Canada.
Their American counterparts filled football stadiums with 50,000 or more during the same time frame. (I recall attending such an event at the long-gone Kingdome in Seattle.)
Those days are gone, but Promise Keepers Canada (PKC) has by no means disappeared. It is still influencing men to be followers of Jesus – disciples willing to make a deep Christian commitment to themselves, their families, their communities and their nation.
When I interviewed PKC president Kirk Giles during the run-up to a one-day Fearless event in Surrey this Saturday (February 21), he talked about what has changed and what hasn’t since those glory days.
Giles said: “We have transitioned from a conference-based ministry to one that – among other things – does conferences.”
“In the early years,” he added, “hosting arena events was a large part of awakening and igniting men in and to spiritual life.” The goal was to follow the Jesus’ command to “make disciples. But one event does not make a disciple. It is part of a journey over a lifetime.”
PKC has had a pretty low profile in Metro Vancouver in recent years. That does not mean nothing was happening. Giles listed some of the services and resources that have been available through the ministry:
- Materials for men to use at home, to get into the Bible and grow in their walk with God.
- Podcasts, twice a month, to assist in that personal spiritual development.
- Seven: A Christian men’s magazine for Canadian men.
- Extensive leadership training, workshops and discipleship curriculum.
- The Fatherless Project. Giles said it is important for men to serve, as part of their spiritual development. This project develops Christian men as potential mentors to boys who have no fathers. Then they are connected to such organizations as Big Brothers, or encouraged to work with fatherless boys in their own churches.
As to this Saturday’s event, Giles hopes for a crowd of about 400. Each year, the conferences have a different theme; ‘Fearless’ was chosen this year to encourage men to tackle the things in their lives that bring fear.
The website promotion notes:
Fear often plays a greater role than we realize. The fear of the unknown, fear for our jobs, our relationships, leaves many of us anxious. The fear of failure leaves other men stuck rather than pursuing the life God has called them to. Far too many men are either held back by fear or are afraid of nothing and leaving a trail of damage in the lives around them.
Discover the freedom that comes when we fear only God. Walk in the fear of the Lord as a daily lifestyle. Consider the great things God has done for you and allow him to do great things through you.
Speakers at the Surrey event include Giles, motivational speaker Bill Farrel and sports marketing specialist Dave MacLean; the worship leader is Andrew Thompson. It will take place at Surrey Pentecostal Assembly.
Fearless/Surrey is the first of the season; others will take place in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Regina, London and Toronto.
The Seven Promises
The goal of Promise Keepers Canada is “to see men maturing in living out the Seven Promises while exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23):
- A promise keeper is committed to honouring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Spirit.
- A promise keeper is committed to pursuing Christ-centred friendships with a few other men, connecting regularly, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.
- A promise keeper is committed to practicing biblical integrity: spiritually, morally, ethically and sexually.
- A promise keeper is committed to strengthening families and marriages through love, honour, protection and biblical values.
- A promise keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honouring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.
- A promise keeper is committed to reaching beyond racial, social, economic, generational and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.
- A promise keeper is committed to influencing the world by his fervent love for God while loving his neighbour, seeking justice for the poor and oppressed, and making disciples of Jesus Christ.