A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The world is experiencing the devastating effects of having a lower standard of manhood. The deterioration of societies, both nearby and around the world, has reached an all-time high.
Statistics show that we are on a path of self-destructive behavior. That must change. Yet that change will not occur unless men stand strong in the roles God designed them for.
However, many men feel they are unable to be the men they know they need to be (great husbands, fathers, and leaders in their churches). They try to live vicariously through others. One of the primary ways they do this is through sports. They become fanatics . . . men who will wear another man’s jersey with another man’s name and number on the back of it. Any man who must wear another man’s name on the back of his shirt may need to ask himself how he views his own manhood, his own work, his own honor or integrity.
When the Promise Keepers began their work, they distinguished themselves with a list of Seven Promises that they asked men to adopt. The first promise: A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. This promise sets up the other promises by using the term honor.
When we honor something, we give it prominence in our life. This promise means we must give Jesus Christ the place of honor in our lives. He must reign as our Lord and Master. Our desires, ambitions, and plans must give way to His will for our lives.
The remarkable thing is that when we honor Christ, we also become men of honor – worthy of respect and admiration from those around us.Proverbs 21:21 teaches, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.”
Today, resolve to be a man who honors Jesus Christ first and foremost in your life. As you do, He will empower you to stand strong and you yourself will become a man worthy of honor.
Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.
Humility is clear eyesight. It is the ability to see things as they really are. A successful follower of Christ is humble. He places the needs of those in his care above his own. He doesn’t get his identity from what he has accomplished. He gets it from God.
Our flesh and our old nature see through a lens of self. We perceive things based on how they affect us. Pride distorts how we see the world. It causes our identity to be based on our accomplishments or lack thereof.
The thicker our lens of self — our pride — the less we see things as God sees them, which is how they really are. This is evident in the musings of a crazy person. As G. K. Chesterton described in Orthodoxy, a madman looks at himself as the center of all things. If he were to recognize that no one actually is focused on him, he would be infinitely happier because his world would suddenly become infinitely bigger.
Pride shrinks the universe to a tiny world in which we are the god. As we die to self, we are able to see the world more clearly, as larger and more wonderful than we can comprehend. Pride is a miserable state because we don’t really inflate ourselves or our value. Instead, we shrink the universe to meet our limited imaginations.
Because we are fallen and therefore see things through our pride, we have difficulty judging ourselves properly. The more wicked people are, the higher their opinion of themselves tends to be. In order to properly judge ourselves, we must look at things from outside our own perspective. The way we react to things tells us where we are in our walk with Christ.
The insignificant things of daily life are the things that show us who we are. They show what spirit possesses us. It is our most unguarded moments that show us whether we walk in the Spirit or in the flesh. How do you react when you’re tired, hungry, cold, irritated, or stressed? Here we see what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much” (Luke 16:10).
People often mistake confidence for pride. Actually, the most confident people are usually the humblest, such as the great saints Abraham, David, Joseph, Paul, and Apollos. The Bible calls Moses, who led an entire nation out of slavery, the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3).
Let’s look at some aspects of a humble person. Search your heart. Do these characteristics look like you?
■ No longer compares himself with others.
■ Seeks no recognition for self.
■ Sees every person equally as a child of God and honors him or her as such.
■ Enjoys hearing others praised, even if he is forgotten.
■ Lives a life marked by patience.
■ Relationships are known for peace and unity.
■ Constantly encourages others.
We see humility as a virtue, but it is really the symptom of something else — the Holy Spirit reigning in a person as self has become less. The holiest is always the humblest.
Pride doesn’t always show up as arrogance. It can appear as self-loathing, shyness, obsession with guilt, or anger. This is because pride always comes from a focus on self.
I once confronted a Christian who was living in sin, and he yelled at me, “Don’t you think I feel bad about it?” I asked him what his feelings had to do with anything. Pride thinks that feeling guilty is some sort of penance. Guilt without repentance disregards those whom your sin has hurt. It is just a continued focus on self, simply flipping from arrogance to self-loathing. It’s all self.
Humility grows as our Lord is revealed to us. As we come to know the Savior and look up into His face, we become more aware of our own depravity. Not in a self-deprecating way, but with the gratitude of a child who realizes that he is completely dependent on God and that God loves him and has promised to never leave or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).
Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.”
Given the media’s choice to largely ignore the story, you may have missed the details about a recent court case in Dallas centered on the custody of a seven-year-old boy. The mother of the boy said that he should be identified as a girl, claiming he made that decision himself at the age of three because he liked Disney princesses and so-called “girl toys.” She saught sole custody to “transition” the boy against the father’s wishes, and administer hormone treatments as the child neared puberty. She also wanted a court order to forbid the father from calling his son “son,” speaking his name, or referring to him as a “he.” The father said that the boy still wanted to be a boy while in his custody (in fact, the mother’s own paid “experts” testified that he “does not identify with only one gender”). He also accused the mother of contributing to his son’s perceived confusion by telling him that “monsters only eat boys.”
Thankfully, after a jury recommended 11-1 to confirm the mother as sole custodian, the judge has intervened by ruling that joint custody will be maintained. The judge’s ruling will at least temporarily slow down the likelihood of the boy soon beginning harmful hormone therapies which would have suppressed his natural development. It is, however, easy to imagine a different judge deciding the opposite, perhaps in a state without the governor and other top politicians speaking out against it.
Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: cases like this will come up again, and the judges sometimes will decide differently, in ways that will harm children and set dangerous precedents for others. So, if you “identify” as a Christian and as a mature adult, how should you respond?
For starters, if you have kids yourself, be a parent. It is your job to be the adult. Children will be childish, by definition. They think like children (1 Corinthians 13:11). They are not reliably knowledgeable, reasonable, or wise. They lack life experience, a firm grasp of reality, and the ability to make decisions of ultimate importance. In fact, they are legally not allowed to make any major decisions on their own, and any such agreements they try to enter into are not binding.
You are to teach them and guide them through this early stage of life. You will often, quite literally, save them from themselves. If a kid wants to put on a cape and jump off the roof because they say they are a superhero, you don’t affirm them in that decision no matter how passionately they believe they can fly. You can try to reason with them by explaining the facts of what the consequences might be. But if they don’t listen to reason (and they often won’t), you don’t just throw up your hands and let them experience those consequences. You protect them because you love them. You are the parent and parents are there to protect, not enable.
The progressive “experts” of the day say the loving thing to do is to embrace a child’s self-proclaimed “gender identity” (a new term), and give them drugs to block puberty (and likely make them permanently infertile) so they can later more easily “transition” by surgically removing healthy organs. Considering that 80 to 95 percent of kids with gender dysphoria end up identifying by their true birth/genetic gender after puberty, helping kids prevent puberty in order to change genders seems like an especially twisted form of lifelong abuse.
In addition to being a parent to those in your own family, you need to speak up for what is universally right for all members of the human family, and especially those who have no powerful voice of their own (Proverbs 31:8-9). A key strategy of those who seek to redefine truth or promote progressive postmodern ideologies is to try to bully those who disagree with them into silence. That’s why we have a “cancel culture,” the advancement of the idea that “words are violence,” and countless other efforts to curtail free speech and civil discourse both online and off. A loud and vocal few can sound like a majority when the majority is too afraid to speak up. The resulting “spiral of silence” leaves multitudes afraid to acknowledge the “emperor has no clothes” even in the face of his obvious nakedness.
Speak up now, lest we are soon in a world where courts do say that it’s illegal to call your son a “son,” and judges decide for you how to raise your kids. By speaking with conviction now, you can at least take comfort in knowing it wasn’t your silence that made the abuse possible.
Finally, above all, you should love people in word and deed. Every single one of us has areas where our natural tendency is to stray from God’s design for our lives. All of us have “gone astray”; each of us has areas where we have “turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). None of us is without need of admonishment, encouragement, and help. When we meet someone who is struggling, we meet ourselves, and we should lovingly point them towards the same truth we want them to use for our encouragement. That especially includes the Truth that making choices which go against God’s desires will not bring ultimate joy, peace or fullness of life.
To speak is to love. Love without truth is not loving, and truth spoken without love will not be heard.
The greatest Truth we must continually share is that even when we do make foolish or rebellious choices, God still loves us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He made provision for our sin, so that we don’t have to remain a slave to its consequences in this life or the life to come. His love waits for all who seek it. Let’s make sure we daily speak of God’s love and model its effects, so that we may make it known to every human who has lost their God-given identity as a son or daughter made in His image.
Much to my surprise, I have found dropping off (“turning loose” may be a better term) a young man on a university campus to be a much more sobering experience then dropping off a young woman.
The first two times I loaded the Suburban and headed to college towns it was to drop off my oldest daughters, which, as you can imagine, has its own set of concerns. When I dropped off Ally and Kirby, they were ready to meet, enjoy, and integrate into their college campuses with their eyes wide open and their hearts cemented to the idea that whatever college was about, it was more than just themselves.
My girls and I had long ago shared all the necessary conversations about the duties and dangers of being a young woman in a university setting. Though it is never easy to leave any child you have invested in and enjoyed daily for eighteen years in a strange land to care for themselves, I knew it was time and we were all sad, excited, and ready.
Fast-forward a few years and all of a sudden my wife and I were about to make our way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks (the boy had said “no” to the Ivy League option) to drop off our firstborn son. As the day neared, and much to my surprise, I had a growing and much different sense of responsibility in sending off a young man to college then I did a young woman. I knew college meant my son, like my daughters before him, would have a new and greater freedom to live and lead his life as he wanted, AND I knew that there were dads, just like me years earlier, who were dropping off their freshman daughters where they would either be blessed or burdened by the young men around them.
One might think that dropping off a girl and leaving her alone around a bunch of newly unleashed young “men” with unlimited freedom and limited maturity was the more daunting task, but such was not the case for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I found it more sobering to turn loose a potential predator then I did potential prey.
What you have below is a summary of the last hours of conversation this father had with his son as he dropped him off to prayerfully be faithful in “Fayetteville and forever.” I pray daily that these truths would be embedded in his heart for more than just the four years of college, and you can be certain that I am praying now that they will be in some way useful to you as you seek to be faithful yourself and with any men you are charged with shaping. Fayetteville is not the only place that needs faithful men…right where you are does too.
So to my son Cooper (and later Cade and Camp) and to you today, I say…
It’s all about Jesus.
College is not a time to taste the world. It’s a time to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
First, believe that college is not a time to sow your wild oats. It is a time to show your world Whose you are.
If you’re dropping off your own son at college (or know that you will be in a few short years), now is the time to teach him these things. And if you are the newly-minted freshman yourself, commit to building your adult life on these life-giving truths.
Ken is the Chairman and CEO of Promise Keepers. These questions are adapted from Ken’s recent appearance on New Life Live, a nationally syndicated Christian counseling call-in program hosted by Steve Arterburn.
Question: My wife and I have been married 32 years but separated for four years. She said she’s not happy and checked out of the marriage. I found out she was having affairs. She doesn’t want to be divorced because I take care of everything, and she likes that. What do I do?
Answer: I’m deeply saddened your wife has chosen to violate your marriage with the sin of adultery. Yet it’s also clear your wife has reached a point she doesn’t respect you. You need to re-establish her respect for you. Go to her and ask her, “What kind of man do you want me to be?” Then see if you can be that man. You will also need to draw boundaries about the kind of behavior you are willing to tolerate from her. In order for you to have a real marriage, she will need to give up her sin. Finally, don’t forget the power of prayer. If we humble ourselves and hit our knees, it’s amazing what God can do to affect other people’s hearts.
Question: When a marriage fails, is it always the man’s fault? My wife is moving out and we’re headed for divorce. I feel like I’ve done everything I can. How is it my fault?
Answer: You, as the husband, are accountable for what goes on in your home, but not everything is your fault. You are the leader and must lay down your life to try to address whatever challenges arise in your home, even if you did not cause them. However, you cannot control other people. If your wife chooses to leave, she is ultimately responsible for her own actions. Jesus, the Love of our souls, still has people reject Him. If you’re struggling under false guilt, let it go. But do continue to pray for your wife and hope for reconciliation.
As a person grows in Christ, he or she becomes a prayer warrior. I can’t think of a better example of a person who serves others through prayer than my own wife, Elliette.
She prays with women constantly. She prays late at night when someone needs help; she prays early in the morning with women who need her guidance; she prays in the hospital for people who are suffering.
Elliette prayed one day for a heroin and meth addict whom I’ll call Andrea. Elliette had prayed with Andrea’s grandmother for a year that her granddaughter would come to Christ. Finally Andrea consented to meet Elliette.
When she did, Andrea showed off the “daughter of Satan” tattoo on her neck, along with satanic symbols tattooed on her arms and chest. Unimpressed, Elliette explained that God defeated Satan and was waiting with open arms for her to turn from the defeated master of this world — and run to Him.
Elliette soon had Andrea and her boyfriend praying to receive Christ as their Savior. Only a few days later, Andrea learned she was pregnant. She was terrified because of all the drugs she had done and the damage that would have been done to the growing life inside her. She called Elliette and begged for money for an abortion.
Elliette didn’t give her the money.
Instead, she gathered several women and they prayed for Andrea and for her baby’s life.
I asked my men’s prayer group to do the same.
Elliette asked Andrea to meet her, and she showed up with another addict, a friend from high school who was not the father. This young man insisted Andrea must have the abortion. He explained that of their eight-person group of friends from high school, he and Andrea were the only two still living four years later. All were dead from suicide or overdoses.
He didn’t want to lose his last living friend.
Andrea and her friend raised the money for her abortion. Then Andrea called my wife and apologized for what she was about to do — as she was walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic.
We prayed. Inexplicably, Planned Parenthood turned her away. Our suspicion was that Andrea was too high on drugs at the time.
Andrea made another appointment the next week and called Elliette again as she walked into her appointment. “How could I not have an abortion?” she asked.
She hadn’t been able to stop her drug use, she said. The baby was loaded with heroin and meth and would likely be disfigured and sickly, she felt.
Her next appointment for an abortion would require more money because she was now nearing the 26-week legal limit for terminating the life within her.
While we were praying, the nurse gave Andrea an ultrasound. When the nurse left to go get the doctor, Andrea wept. The nurse never returned.
No one came.
After a very long time, Andrea got up from the table and walked out — only to make another appointment for another day.
Andrea’s next appointment for an abortion would require more money because she was now nearing the 26-week legal limit for terminating the life within her. She struggled to save enough money, but a few days before the deadline, she had saved enough.
On the day of her appointment, she headed to Planned Parenthood again. True to her pattern, on her way there Andrea called Elliette.
And that’s when God met her.
Suddenly Andrea had an overwhelming love for the life growing inside her. She panicked at what she had almost done — and cried out to God that He would protect her baby from all the abuse she had heaped on him.
She called Elliette again and told her the news.
We prayed for Andrea’s battle with addiction, for the health of her little baby, for self-control for her during the rest of her pregnancy.
A few months later, Andrea gave birth to a completely healthy baby boy.
The child is now being raised by Andrea’s aunt, who is overjoyed. Andrea visits her son three times a week. That’s the legal limit set by the state of Colorado while she tries to finish getting herself completely off drugs.
I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately in conjunction with my new book and the launch of a new era of Promise Keepers.
She prays with women constantly. She prays late at night when someone needs help; she prays early in the morning with women who need her guidance; she prays in the hospital for people who are suffering.
A lot of the questions are the same — but every now and then a question takes me by surprise, as one did the other day. And that’s when I answer from my heart more than my head.
This was the question I was asked recently: “Why is it that you have such a heart for men’s issues that you’re bringing Promise Keepers back?”
It was a fair question. And my answer was immediate: “I don’t really have a heart for men’s issues. I have a heart for women and children.”
The answer welled up within me. I couldn’t respond any other way.
Women and children are the ones who suffer when men are messed up. If it’s true that 70 percent of men in the church look at pornography twice a week or more, then who are our daughters supposed to marry?
How are we supposed to expect men to treat women with respect as their partners — unless we change the hearts of men?
What I saw in my days as a Los Angeles Police Department street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of men.
Calling men to be men isn’t chauvinistic or somehow against women, although it is countercultural and controversial. But it is a fact that when men check out of their families, women suffer the most.
four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
Look at all the ministries that are fighting sex trafficking in the world. They’re all very, very, very important.
But every one of them is fighting a war that cannot be won by only attacking the supply side of the issue.
And for every girl rescued from the horrific world of slavery, traffickers will enslave 100 more.
But if we can change the hearts of men, we change the demand side. When we attack supply and demand — then we defeat this evil.
That’s why Promise Keepers is so necessary. It’s not that we’re aiming for men; it’s that we’re aiming for the whole world. We owe that much to our kids.
There’s a desperation in America, as I see it. Too many men are becoming too passive. Many of them are obsessed with video games, sports, and pornography — and it’s women and children who are suffering.
But when a man is a man and keeps his promises, those around him are cared for and provided for, as I see it.
Real men never do anything solely for their own benefit. But they’ll swim shark-infested waters for those who count on them.
That’s what a man is — being a leader, being courageous and stepping into the fight, cherishing our wives and families, and being unshakable in our commitment to making the world a better place.
It’s urgent today for men to come back to the basics of what it takes to be a man and what it means to be a man of God. That’s what Promise Keepers is about. That’s our mission, to help men understand who they’re called to be.
And when men understand that — it will change the world.
Independence Day reminds us that when powerful ideas capture the hearts of purposeful men, the very course of history can be changed. Those men — our Founding Fathers — faced fearsome odds in standing up against the might of the British Empire.
And they relied on the “protection of Divine Providence” and each other, “mutually [pledging] to each other [their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor.” It was no idle pledge.
Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, “Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.”
But they ignited a spark that couldn’t be extinguished.
When people ask me what the goal is for Promise Keepers in the new era, I tell them with a smile, “We’ve got our sights set low: All we want to do is change the entire foundation of America.” Men can absolutely do that — again — but we must get out of the stands and onto the field.
When men get saved — and not just saved but when they become disciples and give their lives to Christ — their families change, and their kids learn what it is to be men and women of God.
Men need action. And the problem today is that most Christian men are only expected to sit down, shut up, listen, and lather, rise, and repeat next week. That is not how men operate.
That is not how Jesus said the church is supposed to be. We’ve got to get involved in the lives of the people around us.
Dr. Howard Hendricks, a former board member of Promise Keepers, was fond of quoting this definition of football by legendary coach Bud Wilkinson: “I define football as 22 men on the field who desperately need rest and 50,000 people in the stands who desperately need exercise.”
Gallup found that 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as “born again” or evangelical. That’s over 134 million people. Imagine if every one of us got out of the stands and took responsibility for five houses on our street, prayed for those people, served those people, helped them out when they needed something — and witnessed to them. That would cover pretty much the whole country.
Imagine the impact if we just did that.
That’s why Promise Keepers in this new era is not only going to gather men from across the country and around the world in annual massive stadium events to remind them they’re not alone, we’re also going to connect men to each other in change-making teams in their local communities for discipleship and service.
And we’re going to teach the most dangerous, revolutionary book that’s ever been written: the Bible.
I was talking with a man recently who was complaining about how many millennials today aren’t clear about what the Bible says about being a man and sharing the faith. I told him plainly, “That’s because their dads didn’t teach them God’s word.” He didn’t like my answer, but that’s absolutely the problem.
When you look at Scripture, God gives the parents and specifically the dad the job of teaching his children. Unfortunately, we’ve outsourced the education of our children to others — but it’s our responsibility as dads to teach our children the things of God.
We need to be understanding, humble and loving with our kids — teaching them the Bible to be sure, but modeling righteousness and integrity as well.
I recently spent time with a bunch of well-known musicians, youngsters in their mid-20s. We started talking about Scripture, and they were enthralled. So for the next three nights, I just taught them the Word.
Much was new to them — as was the process of an older man teaching a younger man. They said to me, “We need older men to teach us like you’re doing.”
And I said, “Absolutely. The Bible commands older women to teach the younger women and older men to teach younger men.”
I believe that through Promise Keepers, we can get hold of the hearts of men through proper discipleship and follow-up. The Christian men of our country want to know the Bible. They’re looking for someone to get hold of them and teach them, train them, and show them how to train their kids.
This is the way to change our country — and it’s not too late.
Ed: In your new book you write that, “Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived.” Where exactly have Christian men been deceived?
Ken: Satan has been playing the long game on separating Christians from the love and unity we have in Christ. God says in Genesis 1-3 that male and female are the image of God, meaning that a fully masculine man and fully feminine woman coming together as “one flesh” in marriage is the best image of God that we have in this broken world. By attacking our understanding of what a man is, Satan is re-writing our understanding of who God is.
We must understand that God defines what a man is, not society. Men are called to stand up for justice, care for the poor and oppressed, and be jealous for God’s name. This is why I often say that humility is the mark of a person who is in love with Jesus and the outward expression of humility in a man is courage and generosity.
Courage, because when you don’t see yourself as any more important than anyone else, you will always stand up for the truth and for others. Generosity, because a humble heart gives possessions, time, and spirit with abandon because humility trusts in God to fill our cup back up to overflowing.
Ed: We live in a culture that attacks the very idea of masculinity, that wants men to be silent and soft. How are men supposed to act today—especially Christian men? What does it mean to be a “true man?”
Ken: A man is one of action, not reaction. He understands that he is accountable for solving problems and making the world a better place for everyone in his charge. He is constantly looking for areas where those he loves are struggling or in need and he fills those needs.
A man is designed by God to initiate, a woman is designed to respond to a man who initiates in humility and love. Too many men today are waiting for someone else to initiate.
When we see a problem in our lives, we first examine what we may have done to cause it, then we look for ways to solve it. We don’t blame others, we lift them up.
Lastly, a Christian man understands that his life must be one that points to Christ in every way. We are responsible for the spiritual state of our wives and kids. This means that knowing and understanding God’s Word so that we can teach our families and give them perspective to counter the lies of the world is one of the most masculine things we can do.
Ed: What do you mean when you say, “a hallmark of being a man is accountability?”
Ken: One of the most important aspects of masculinity is accountability. And the beginning of accountability is self-control. A man takes responsibility. A passive man looks to take from his relationships. He looks to be served rather than to serve. A real man comes to his relationships with an offer to serve and he evaluates his relationships based on how well he keeps his promises and commitments within those relationships.
Ed: You write about a time when God broke you when he brought you completely to the end of yourself. Why is the experience of brokenness so essential?
Ken: Pride is an insidious disease from which we all suffer. It must be destroyed before we can really walk hand in hand with our Savior. If you look at your spiritual failures, even the fleshly failures like slandering others, sexual sin, or greed, you will see that pride is usually at the core, spurring on your flesh. Not serving and lifting up others stirs up so many sins. It is a lack of following God’s words: “In humility, consider others as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
“Walking with God is a long process of going from the sinful nature’s pride to a place of complete faith. We’re all on that journey, and God wants to bring us each closer to him.
Sometimes it is through his gentle nudging as we read the Bible and pray. Sometimes, though, it takes a time of great pain because God must break us in some area so that we can really grow. I have found that real, life-changing growth always come through pain and sometimes, pain that results in utter brokenness before we’ll come to God in desperation where He can then truly work in our hearts.
Ed: Last year you became the new chairman of Promise Keepers and your team is in the midst of preparing for a huge stadium event next summer in Dallas. Why is this a good time for a new era of Promise Keepers?
Ken: God’s timing on this is so perfect because the church is finally nearing the state of desperation that I described previously. Women and children are suffering under the yoke of emasculated men, and men themselves are tired of living lives without meaning.
Promise Keepers will remind men of who God says they are and what he called them to be. Our lives matter greatly and our families are counting on us to rise up and be counted. Promise Keepers is not only calling men back to their identity in Christ but we, as an organization, are returning to our identity, which is an NFL stadium full of men praising our Lord.
I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately in conjunction with my new book and the launch of the new era of Promise Keepers. A lot of the questions are the same, but every now and then a question takes me by surprise, and I answer from my heart more than my head.
This was the question, “Why is it that you have such a heart for men’s issues that you are bringing Promise Keepers back?” It was a fair question, and my answer was immediate: “I don’t really have a heart for men’s issues. I have a heart for women and children.”
This might not have been the smartest thing for the head of a men’s ministry to say, but it welled up within me and I couldn’t answer any other way.
Women and children are the ones who suffer when men are screwed up. If it’s true as Josh McDowell says that 70 percent of men in the church look at pornography twice a week or more, who are our daughters supposed to marry? How are we supposed to expect men to treat women with respect as their partners unless we change the hearts of men?
What I saw in my days as an LAPD street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of little men.
Calling men to be men isn’t chauvinistic or somehow against women — although it is countercultural and controversial. But it is a fact that when men check out of their families, women suffer the most, and so do their children.
Look at all the ministries fighting sex trafficking in the world. They’re all very, very, very important. But every one of them is fighting a war that cannot be won by only attacking thesupply side. And for every girl rescued from the horrific world of slavery, traffickers will enslave 100 more. But if we can change the hearts of men, we change thedemand side. When we attack supply and demand, then we defeat this evil.
That’s why Promise Keepers is so necessary. It’s not that we’re aiming for men, it’s that we’re aiming for the whole world. We owe that much to our kids.
I think there’s a desperation in America. I think men are becoming more and more passive, obsessed with video games, sports, pornography, and it’s women and children who are suffering.
But when a man is a man and keeps his promises, those around him get cared and provided for. Real men will never do anything solely for their own benefit. But we will swim shark-infested waters for those who are counting on us.
That’s what a man is — being a leader, being courageous and stepping into the fight, cherishing our wives and families, and being unshakable in our commitment to making the world around us a better place.
I believe that the time is incredibly urgent for men to come back to the basics of what it takes to be a man, and what it means to be a man of God. That’s what Promise Keepers is about. That’s our mission, to help men understand who they’re called to be.
And when men understand that it will change the world.