After several years of painful consolidation, the evangelical men's organization Promise Keepers (PK) is growing younger. Passage, a youth-oriented, $2.4 million pk rally on December 12, drew 14,000 boys, youth group leaders, and fathers to Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
More than half the boys publicly indicated a desire to receive Christ or rededicate their lives, says Randy Phillips, vice president.
"Some people say we're losing the young men, and they're not interested in spiritual things. That couldn't be further from the truth," Phillips says.
Attendees, who paid $55 each, came from 47 states. Robert Taylor, youth group leader at Family Missionary Baptist Church in inner-city Columbus, brought 12 boys to the rally. Five made first-time professions of faith, he says. "That's what the message of God is for—taking the light into the darkness."
To follow up, boys will work their way through a 12-week, Scripture-based study of character issues. They will meet in small groups with peers and youth leaders, or one-on-one with fathers or mentors. The Passage rally is "simply the start of the process," which is grounded in relationships in local churches, Phillips says.
Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, considers Passage a welcome development, based on reports of the event.
But Sommers, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and mother of a 16-year-old son, is concerned that the curriculum contains "a little bit of boys sitting in circles sharing emotions."
"I'd warn Promise Keepers not to go too far into the psychotherapeutic mode, treating boys as if they are fragile mental patients."
The second Passage rally is planned for this summer in Anaheim, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more