Promise Keepers pray for 70,000 at Fayetteville conference

Monday, May 23, 2005

FAYETTEVILLE -- Projections of 25,000 men are anticipated when Promise Keepers holds its only conference in the four-state area of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma on June 10 and 11 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. But organizers are praying for more than 70,000, with Black and Hispanic men being a big part of the attendance.

Since 1990, Promise Keepers has grown from an idea shared by then-University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney and Dr. Dave Wardell at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet in Pueblo, Colo., to a multi-state program of conferences attracting between 200,000 and more than 1 million men each year.

Fayetteville's conference is the first to be held in Arkansas.

Theme of this year's conference series is "The Awakening," based on Romans 13:11: "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

The foundation and focus of Promise Keepers is revival and discipleship. While women are allowed to attend, organizers state that men are more apt to receive the content of the message in the company of other men as opposed to a mixed gender setting. Programs are aimed at the hearts of men using language, illustrations and experience that are commonly understood by men in a setting referred to as "the masculine context."

Because of the length of programs, it is suggested that younger boys, those under 13 years, not attend, though young boys may benefit from the bonding time with their dads and other men.

Speakers and performers for the conferences vary from venue to venue, but several have been confirmed for the Fayetteville event.

Moderator will be Reggie Dabbs, staff evangelist at First Assembly of God in Ft. Meyers, Fla. Since 1987, he has developed a full-time ministry to kids, speaking in a humorous style about choices when faced with drugs, alcohol, suicide and other problems.

Entertainment will feature FFH, a quartet comprised of Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler and Brian Smith and Michael Boogs, and described as a "powerhouse pop band." The group is preparing to launch its fifth studio album, "Still the Cross."

Also on the bill is conservative in-your-face comedian Brad Stine. He states, "I represent something different, something I think is more in line with most of America." He has been seen on MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour, Showtime's Comedy Club Network, and A&E's Caroline's Comedy Hour, Evening at the Improv, and Comedy on the Road.

John Torres and Joby Harris of Awaken, a team of artists and innovators who design and provide inspirational resources and engaging experiences to help people discover the uniqueness, unleash their creative potential, and embrace a life of passion and purpose in Jesus Christ, will also perform.

Torres comes from a theatrical and musical family, and has performed lead roles in "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "BARE: A Pop Opera." He has also performed abroad in Florence, Italy, and at a USO show in Greenland.

Harris is a designer and prop maker for the film, television and theme park industries in Los Angeles, having worked for Walt Disney, University Studios and Warner Brothers as a model maker and sculptor. His design and prop credits include Alias, Malcolm in the Middle, Angel, Star Trek Enterprise, and the films Cat in the Hat, Bruce Almighty and Solaris. He also plays guitar and sings for the band Crash Rickshaw.

A worship band, PK7, will be comprised of worship leaders and studio musicians from across the United States. PK7 is represented at each of this year's 20 conferences, with personnel changing from venue to venue.

Speakers for the event thus far consist of:

*Dave Roever, of Roever Evangelist Association in Fort Worth, Texas.

* Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, president of The Urban Alternative, a national organization seeking to bring about spiritual renewal in urban America through the church, and chaplain of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

* Crawford Loritts Jr., associate director of U.S. Ministries for Campus Crusade for Christ, and author of Make It Home Before Dark and A Passionate Commitment ... Recapturing Your Sense of Purpose.

* Joe White, president of Kanakuk Camps in Branson, Mo., and founder of Kids Across America.

*Dennis Rainey of Little Rock, president and co-founder of Family Life, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ International, and host of the nationally syndicated radio program, FamilyLife Today.

* Ed Silvoso, Argentinian-born evangelist and founder of Harvest Evangelism, assisting the church in Argentina.

Registration for the conference may be done via internet at www.promisekeepers.org, or by telephone, toll-free, 1-800-888-7595.

Purchases for groups of 10 get one free, and 25 tickets will get three free. Registration costs $89 for adults, and $69 for youth.

Women who would like to support the conference may contact Diane Willits via e-mail at dianewillits@pknet.org.

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