After two years of reorganization and staff consolidation, Promise Keepers (PK) is setting ambitious goals for this year: holding 17 conferences in the United States, cosponsoring two overseas events, launching a new radio program for PK leader Bill McCartney, and reinstating registration fees for its meetings.The Denver-based men's ministry begun by McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Overall, the group claims to have reached more than 3.5 million men through 98 stadium and arena conferences."It's been very encouraging to get the level of support we got and still be around for folks to throw stones at," says Steve Chavis, PK's director of public affairs.PK's high point may have been the 1997 Stand in the Gap rally in Washington, D.C., which attracted close to 1 million men, as well as sharp criticism about the group's stance on gender equality.Now, Chavis says, concerns about groups of men invading communities and demanding submission from their wives are largely passé. "There isn't as much opposition as there was in the past," he says.After the Stand in the Gap rally, PK went through a series of crucial events involving lack of financial support. In January, the group closed its eight regional offices. PK went from a staff of 180 in 1998 to 160, although some positions are being added seasonally for work on the rallies.PK rallies offered free admission during the past two years, but the effort fizzled when it did not draw additional attendance or higher donations."Men say to us, 'Just tell us what you want. Don't require me to have to pray about it to decide, just tell me what you want,'" Chavis says. "We wanted guys to bring friends when we removed fees. ...1
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