I stood with a million men that day as they transformed Washington’s Mall into an open-air cathedral of gravel and grass. It was a remarkable experience to be there among so many men who were unabashedly proclaiming their commitment to Christ, to their families and their churches. If Promise Keepers has done nothing else in contemporary American culture, it has made it fashionable to be faithful again.
I had never been to a PK meeting before, though I had heard the stories of man laughing and crying, praising and singing, embracing one another in a way they would never have thought about doing in the pews of their own churches back home. There is something moving about being amidst hundreds of thousands of men who are prostrating themselves in confession and repentance. It is not out of the question to imagine such an event as part of a great spiritual awakening that could shake the nation as it moves into a third millenium.
As a preacher and former pastor who has experienced the challenge of involving men in the life of the church, it is hard not to stand amazed at the way in which these men were engaged by the sacred assembly. As I listened to the speakers and visited with other men, I was struck by the realization that Promise Keepers is filling a hunger that exists in the lives of millions of American men.
There is a hunger for relationships. A PK rally is already underway before the first word is spoken; it begins as men gather together on buses and vans, in trains and planes, and travel together to the event. The relationships are already being forged by the time the rally is underway, and the worship experiences simply serve to further reinforce the bonds that are already being developed.
Men in our society tend to be isolated, autonomous, alone. Our jobs, our neighborhoods, and our culture tend to drive us apart. Surely the churches can find ways — beyond an occasional PK rally — to help men build relationships with one another. That may be the real key to engaging men in the life and work of the church in the years ahead.
There is a hunger for significance. One of the things that interested me about the PK rally was the number of men who told me they came because they anticipated it was to be an event of historic significance, “and I just felt like I needed to be a part of it.” Men want to be part of something significant, powerful, awesome.
Could anything be more significant than to be part of the Kingdom of God? Perhaps we as preachers and teachers need to do a better job of communicating the awesome call to be Kingdom disciples who serve Christ in the midst of a crumbling culture. Instead of stressing how little we are asking of them, perhaps we need to be emphasizing how much God is asking of them.
There is a hunger for grace. As many as a million men stood on the Mall that October day and sought the presence of God. They were as varied as their cities — from leather-clad “Bikers for Jesus” to clean-shaven men in coats and ties. But they were united in their hunger for God’s touch on their lives. And in the many high and holy moments of that day, God’s presence was uniquely felt.
Some confessed that they had abused their wives and children — some physically, others through lack of interest and involvement. Others confessed to sins of racism — and some who reached out to men of other races for the first time in their lives. The confessions were legion but the need was the same: a fresh (or even a first) touch of the grace of God.
As those who are called to spiritual leadership in the churches, Promise Keepers offers a challenge and an opportunity. Our task is to call men to a new level of commitment to Christ, to a new community, to be the men God wants them to be. And as they hear us, they will expect to see the same in our lives. They deserve no less.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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