They looked like football fans on game day packed into the south side of Folsom Field on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. But the 22,000 men gathered at the stadium did not have touchdowns on their minds, even if they did perform some of the most spirited “waves” this side of the Super Bowl. Instead, the men witnessed the national kickoff of a growing Christian men’s group called Promise Keepers.

Founded in 1990 by Bill McCartney, head coach of the Colorado football team, the goal of the nondenominational organization is to motivate men toward Christlike masculinity. “To unite men to become Godly men—by making promises to Jesus Christ and to one another that last a lifetime,” reads Promise Keepers’ purpose statement.

It did not take long for Christians from across the country to unite behind that theme. Last year about 4,200 Colorado men attended Promise Keepers’ first statewide men’s conference, an event called “Where Are the Men?”

This year McCartney’s group brought together men from Bonney Lake, Oregon, to Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Wives got some credit for helping boost attendance: more than a few men admitted they received plane tickets for the event on Father’s Day. Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, said it was perhaps the largest single gathering of Christian men in America in his lifetime, even if the final head count was less than half McCartney’s stated goal of 50,000.

No Drum Beating

Among the faces in the worshiping and praying crowd was Karl Bear of Powell, Wyoming. Ironically, Bear was returning from a conference at a college that recently hosted a secular men’s “back to nature” retreat featuring drum pounding and caveman-style wandering in the woods. He found none of ...

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