Twenty years ago this month, the first Promise Keepers event (not held in Colorado) was held in Boise Idaho. From this event sprang a model that was used in many cities over many years to touch many men and their families. A group of men from Idaho were honored to have pioneered this effort. Hundreds of thousands of men have attended PK events over the past twenty years.
The national organization was then in its infancy from 1990-1993. A group of Idaho men challenged PK's founder, Coach Bill McCartney, to allow them to host a trial-event - to see if men would come to a venue other than in the coach's back yard of Colorado. Promise Keepers would lend us their name, a banner and we'd have to raise the nearly $100K to make the event happen.
It happened. May 1st 1993.
Men came from everywhere, filling Boise Hawks Stadium to overflowing proportions.
The speakers were outstanding.
Dave Roever, Bobb Biehl, Jim Zorn and a very young John Eldredge spoke at it, among others.
The success of that event gave credibility to the fledgling staff and board of Promise Keepers to move forward in other cities. You won't find much in the official history of PK about Boise's impact on the movement, unless you read between the lines.
Or unless you were there as I was. And many others were...
Here's some official text from the PK website below that speaks of the early days of the mens movement. Notice the city in red - not a big one, indeed - just surrounded by a bunch of big cites.
That's Boise's undying imprint in the history of the mens movement in America.
Twenty years ago this month.
"Fruit" seems to still be growing from that event two decades ago.
May it grow on into eternity.
Promise Keepers ’93: Face to Face
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Ex: 33:11a NIV
The initial goal of Promise Keepers to fill C.U.’s Folsom Field with 50,000 men was realized at Promise Keepers ’93. Men from every state in the nation and 16 foreign countries came to Boulder to honor Jesus Christ and to learn more about becoming godly men. In addition, over 3,000 pastors and lay leaders gathered for the second National Leadership Conference.
The landmark meeting concluded dramatically, as a single candle’s flame lit by Bill McCartney and passed to Dave Wardell eventually was passed on to every man in the stadium. A photograph of this event remains one of the most stirring in the Promise Keepers archives.
God subsequently expanded our vision to gather men in stadiums throughout the nation. More than events, we believe that God wants the ministry of Promise Keepers to be a spark in His hand, igniting a nationwide movement that calls men to reconciliation, discipleship, and godliness.
Promise Keepers’ first music project, also titled Face to Face, was produced and distributed in association with Maranatha! Music, as a way to help men prepare their hearts for worship, and learn some new choruses. Songs and sound bites from speakers were recorded and produced on a CD called “Promise Keepers ’93 – Live.”
Promise Keepers ’94: Seize The Moment
Men of Issachar, who understood the times and
knew what Israel should do.
1 Chronicles 12:32a NIV
This year brought an increase in our conference schedule to include six stadiums nationwide (Anaheim, Boise, Indianapolis, Denton, Portland, Irving) in addition to the regular Boulder conference. More then 278,000 men were able to attend these events, bringing honor to Jesus Christ and reaching out through teaching and worship to encourage the men of our world to make a decision now to become godly influences.
Promise Keepers ’95: Raise The Standard
The total attendance for 1995 was 738,000 men at 13 conferences (Detroit, Los Angeles, Boise, Washington, D.C., Houston, Denver, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Oakland, Irving). Promise Keepers also conducted 13 training seminars for pastors and worship leaders. Some 280,000 men were recruited to be “committed promise keepers.” The response to the conference altar calls was approximately 50,000 men.
Promise Keepers ’96: Break Down the Walls
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.
Eph. 2:14 NIV
In February 1996, Promise Keepers hosted more than 39,000 Christian clergy for a worship and teaching conference in Atlanta. “Fan into Flame” was reported to be the largest gathering of Christian clergy in modern history.
The summer conference theme was “Break Down the Walls,” focusing men’s attention on God’s heart for reconciliation. The attendance at 22 stadium conferences was 1.1 million men nationwide (Los Angeles, Kansas City, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Boise, Syracuse, Charlotte, Denver, Chicago, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Eugene, Queens, Memphis, Jacksonville, Irving). Also in 1996, Promise Keepers produced a one-hour television special entitled, “The Power of a Promise Kept.” The special aired during Easter week on major television stations across the country.