I thought I’d point out a few other things about the PromiseKeepers event I attended last weekend.
- They didn’t use big-name speakers. When I attended in Indianapolis a number of years ago, the speakers included John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Joe Stowell, Bill McCartney, and other big names. This year I was familiar with Dave Roever and Ken Davis, though I had never heard either of them speak, and they are both B-level speakers (in terms of celebrity). Nevertheless, all of the speakers were very, very good. There were no celebrities, no show-men, no motivational speakers–just men of depth. And a number of them were pastors or former pastors. I like that. (Plus, none of them plugged a book or some other event.)
- PromiseKeepers, as an organization, stayed in the background. I don’t know that anyone who appeared on stage was actually employed by PromiseKeepers. The focus was entirely on the purpose of the event. There was a short video from the new PK president, which I appreciated, and other little promos, but very low-key. That was another change from Indy, though in that case, the organization was just taking off nationally, and I’m okay with the prominence they gave to PK as an institution at that stage of its life.
- There were a lot of teens and younger kids, and I think PK intentionally aimed at them. The Newsboys is one example. At least, they were trying to appeal to younger males. With the Newsboys, they were actually appealing to me, at age 49, so I’m not sure what that means. Maybe I lack a clear understanding of this. But the presence of teens and younger boys (including one from my church) was a definite change.
- By coming to Fort Wayne, they were definitely hitting a smaller market. I understand that they’re doing a lot of that this year. I think there are 20 PK events, but many are in second-tier cities. Sounds like they’re doing the same thing next year.
- In Indy, PK (the institution) presented grand visions, including the coming event designed to draw 1 million men to Washington DC. There were no such grand visions this time. Just a focus on awakening men at the local level to being men of God. Those early years were no doubt days of some amount of headyness, of explosive growth and interest. But perhaps, with the initial interest cooled to some extent, they have dialed back their grand designs. I, for one, approve. I think PK has its act together.
- There was less idealism about male discipleship. In Indy, and in other things I’ve heard, they put out a vision of what God wants a man to be, but it was a bit gilded. Too far out there for me, and no doubt many others, to consider attainable. Like the “perfect wife” in Proverbs 31. But in Fort Wayne, I continually heard about how a man of God may regularly fail and fall flat, but what distinguishes him is that he’ll get back up and try again. That if we just inch forward in Christlikeness, God will be pleased. I think that connected with a lot of men. It did with me.
- The use of technology, particularly video, was absolutely outstanding. Maybe it’s been that way for several years–I woudn’t know, because it’s been a while since I attended a PK conference. But I was really impressed.
- The music was out of this world. PK7 is the best worship team I’ve ever heard–several absolutely superb worship leaders out front, backed up by an amazing, musically tight band. I’ve been listening to the “Awakening” CD over and over. There are a number of songs we absolutley must do in my church.