Thursday, March 16, 2006

Promise Keeper panel says churches must change

A panel said that traditional Protestant congregations must change, or they will continue to see men leaving.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Spero News

A panel said that traditional Protestant congregations must change, or they will continue to see men leaving. "There is a disconnect between men's deepest wants and needs and the churches that need men so badly," said Dr. Thomas S. Fortson, president and CEO of Promise Keepers.

In the face of mounting evidence that men in particular are exercising spirituality away from the traditional Protestant churches, Fortson explained Promise Keepers' position. "We find ourselves in the middle of this question -- inspiring men to go deeper and loving our pastors who shepherd the communities of faith."

James Ryle, of TruthWorks Ministries and a founding PK board member, said that times are changing and that the biggest mistake the church can make is not to change. "The people who are leaving the church aren't leaving God, truth, Scripture, or community - they are just leaving the game." Ryle argues that churches are becoming too institutional in a culture that is starving for what is real, relevant and significant.

Alvin Simpkins of Emmanuel Christian Center, leads a growing congregation in Denver where 40 percent of the membership is men.

Although sympathetic to the difficulties pastors face reaching men, he believes that Christian leaders should demand more from the men in their congregations. "You demand much, and your men respond enthusiastically," he said, noting that he gathers men from his congregation at 5:30 a.m. every Monday morning for prayer and discussion on issues that matter.

"The critical question is going to have to transition from 'how to get men to the church' to 'how to get men to become the church," said Ryle.

Stan Perea, HIS Ministries, agreed, "You must reach men for Christ and then set them free to transform the community - whether they come to church on Sunday or whether they don't."

In his opening remarks, Fortson acknowledged the importance of the church. "Jesus loves his Church, his people, wherever they are," he said. "And we believe that He is drawing them together, but, perhaps, in some new and surprising ways."

Dr. Bob Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and a keynote speaker at all 19 PK events this year, opened media day forum in Denver with a message on what it means to be on mission for God. "God has not changed the strategy of winning the world for Christ," Reccord said. "The strategy is having one man telling another man about the Savior."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Promise Keepers gets leaner

Media conference today will focus on home church trend

By David Montero, Rocky Mountain News
March 15, 2006

Gone are the heady days of packing football stadiums, annual operating budgets not far south of $100 million and a massive merchandising blitz to rival a mid-market basketball team.

Instead, these are the days of small arenas, lean budgets and modest-to-minimal merchandising.

This is the emerging face of Promise Keepers, the Denver-based nonprofit evangelical group founded by former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney back in 1990. And, according to spokesman Steve Chavis, they're good with this approach.

"The mythology was, by going great guns the way it was going, we'd reach every man in the country and we'd finish the job. The fact is, encouraging men spiritually was a much bigger systemic cultural nut to crack," Chavis said. "Now that we're smaller, what kind of impact can we make? I think we're going after a deeper conference experience so the Friday night, all-day Saturday experience is hopefully more profound and had more impact."

In that vein, Promise Keepers is hosting a media conference today that will tackle an issue somewhat controversial in the evangelical Christian community - the recent trend of men and youth leaving the traditional church to host services in the home.

Chavis remembered the days in the '90s when Promise Keepers could pack Invesco Field with men searching for spiritual answers and help in figuring out their role in families and churches. Near its zenith in 1996, the group hosted 22 stadium conferences and drew 1.1 million men.

There are 19 conferences scheduled this year - including one at the World Arena in Colorado Springs this summer. Each gathering, according to Chavis, doesn't come close to the scale of those mid-'90s events. The World Arena, in fact, only has 7,343 fixed seats in it. All the other conferences are in small- to mid-sized venues.

And the unaudited operating budget for 2005 was just over $23 million compared with $79 million in 1997.

"We had to get lean and mean," Chavis said. "The nonprofit sector will paint you a picture of tough sledding in this century with 9/11 and the recent hurricanes, so we're being really frugal and creative. It's a tough environment."

Paul Lichterman, an associate professor of sociology and religion at the University of Southern California, has studied trends and patterns in the evangelical community and believes the recent machinations of Promise Keepers are entirely in line with the direction of the evangelical Christian movement.

He said Promise Keepers took its initial model of large stadium gatherings from a point of view largely held by activist movements of the '60s - namely that large public showings and gatherings will generate media coverage and awareness of the issues facing the group.

But Lichterman said the scaling down is more in line with the Christian view of change - that smaller, individual attention affects deeper, long-lasting results.

"Mass meetings and mass movements may be exciting and a way to affirm your faith, but they're not necessary for being a good evangelical Christian," he said.

"Think about the the kind of relationship that is central to evangelical Christians - it's the one-to-one personal relationship that is most valuable and is modeled after the relationship they have with Jesus Christ."

Chavis said the original mission of Promise Keepers has remained. It's still on the Web site and reads, "Revival and discipleship are the two elements that became the foundation and focus of Promise Keepers."

Stan Perea, executive director of HIS Ministries in Denver, said the original mission is "a worthy one," but added that if Promise Keepers is to remain successful, it has to address issues he doesn't believe the church as an entity is talking about.

Perea will be on the panel today discussing why men are leaving the church. He said part of it is due to an overpoliticization of faith and that pastors aren't addressing the everyday concerns of men.

"The church is driving the issues - gay marriage, abortion - and to the average guy out there, those aren't really critical," Perea said. "The things they consider critical are, how do you make a marriage work? How do you get up and go to work every day in the same old tired job? There is a disconnect there."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Big Dawgs Howl for PK

(from Promise Keepers)

More than 50 men showed up at Christ Church in Nashville, TN last weekend to help PK7 producers lay down choral vocal tracks for the 2006 CD project, called “Unleashed.”

PK Program Department’s Chantell Hinkle reports, “You could tell these guys were pumped up to be a part of the project. There was a serious ‘gung ho’ vibe in the church.”

Brothers came in from all over, including the Cincinnati Promise Singers (who have been singing together since the PK choir days of the 90s), and a couple of men from The Father’s House in Atlanta (pastored by Bishop Wellington Boone). Real men from the host church and congregations around the Nashville area sang real loud from 10 a.m. until 5:15 that afternoon. Those in the know know that singing all day is real work.

The producer said he was amazed at their stamina. They stayed ‘til the job was done. Way to go, promise keepers!

“We’ve got to have that manly sound,” said Harold Velasquez, executive producer on the project. “When you listen to PK7 music, you want to feel what a room full of men sounds like.” The choral vocal tracks were recorded for seven of the 11 songs on the 2006 project.

Shaggify thyself

OK all you Big Dawgs 4 Christ, here's something you can do for those young pups in your litter at home or at Sunday School.

Courtesy of Disney, promoting the new movie "Shaggy Dog", you can shaggify thyself. Unless you're anti Disney, just boycott this article and move on. Ain't nothing to see here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Deer heads in the sanctuary

Frank Stirk writes:

My first pastor did something during a worship service one Sunday I’ll never forget. Placing a chair on the stage, he said to us, “Imagine that Jesus is sitting here watching us worship Him. How would you react knowing He was here, physically present?” I confess that during the rest of the service, I kept glancing furtively at that (empty) chair.

I relived that memory after reading David Murrow’s Why Men Hate Going to Church, and thought about the very serious issue of what churches can do to encourage more men to become active participants in worship and ministry. In his book, Murrow takes a no-stone-unturned approach—including a challenge to men to reclaim the décor of the sanctuary from the women who’ve had free rein to put things up that appeal to them.

Murrow believes this is all part of cultivating “a healthy masculine spirit” in the Church. “A man must sense, from the moment he walks in, that church is not just for Grandma, it’s something for him,” he writes. “It can’t feel like a ladies’ club. The quilted banners, fresh flowers and boxes of Kleenex in our sanctuaries make a statement.”

In an interview, Murrow told me that men ought to feel just as free to make their own statement as the women have done. “I mean, why can’t the sanctuary look like a hunting lodge? Why can’t we mount deer heads around the sanctuary? Why are quilted banners holier than God’s created animals?” he wondered. “We don’t ask those questions.”

Read the rest here...

Photo source

Promise Keepers Media Day ’06...

from Christian News Wire (press release) - Washington, DC:

Promise Keepers Media Day ’06 Features Baptist Leader, Panel Debates Exodus of Men from Church:

WHAT: An afternoon media forum on perhaps the most pressing issue facing the American church, the exodus of its men. Originating in front of a live audience at Promise Keepers’ national offices in Denver, Colo., Promise Keepers 3rd annual "Media Day" features a live address by Dr. Bob Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board – Southern Baptist Convention, and a panel of leading thinkers and strategists on men’s ministry. The address and panel discussion will be audio and text linked to world through Internet, with reporters from around the United States asking questions via e-mail.

WHY: The hottest book in men’s ministry is David Murrow’s Why Men Hate Going to Church. Pollster George Barna’s latest book Revolution points to a long term trend of men and youth leaving the traditional church. Even Time Magazine’s February 27, 2006 issue tracks the new-styled "home church." Charisma magazine’s Lee Grady calls Barna’s notions "dangerous." If these trends prove true, this migration from the pews will profoundly impact America’s religious life.



• 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Promise Keepers CEO Tom Fortson introduces Bob Reccord, speaking on "Hearing God’s Invitation"

• 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Panel discussion – working title: "The Church in the Balance: Where Are The Men?"

PANELISTS: multi-cultural consultant and author Stan Perea, HIS Ministries, Denver, Colo., teacher and author James Ryle, TruthWorks Ministries, Franklin, Tenn., pastor Alvin Simpkins, Emmanuel Christian Center, Denver, Colo.

• photos and audio clips posted throughout the day, complete transcripts posted by late afternoon!!

Promise Keepers Media Information Page

Passion and Desire for God

Pastor Benji Kelley from newHope Church in Chapel Hill, NC shares a great insight about the Lord. He is teaching a “Consumed” series. One of the themes is, “Me Consumed with God.”

He writes:

Did you know our Lord finds our desires often not too strong, but too weak.

CS Lewis, that great scholar from Oxford, said, "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." (C. S. Lewis, from the sermon "The Weight of Glory")

As for “Me Consumed with God," the Bible says,

“But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:29)

Now that is passion. That is strong desire for God.

Learn from Jeremiah and one another how to be consumed with God similar to the way in which God is consumed with us.

- Pastor Benji Kelley

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

E = mC ^ 2

Monday, March 06, 2006

Socializing with Christ

Socializing with Christ
Men's group at UGA turns fraternity life on its head

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/07/06

Athens — In a sea of Greek letters on the University of Georgia campus, Beta Upsilon Chi stands apart.

Not for what it is — a social fraternity — but for what it stands for: Brothers Under Christ.

"The biggest thing you hear is 'Why?' " said Jake Webster, president and founder of the fraternity and a third-year student from Alpharetta. "People don't understand why you're here."

Fraternities and Christ seem unlikely bedfellows at a football-frenzied university with a party school reputation.

But since Beta Upsilon Chi — BYX, in Greek letters — was chartered at UGA nearly a year ago, more than 30 male undergraduates have pledged. They've joined about 1,000 young men in schools across the South who have bonded through their commitment to God "in a college setting that is often contrary to Christianity," according to the Brothers Under Christ Web site.

"We're very much a social fraternity," said Jason Hoyt, executive director of the Brothers Under Christ national organization in Fort Worth, Texas. "But we're very much a ministry."

Read the rest here...

Big Dawg Tees now available!

Need a new wardrobe makeover?

Get 'em while they last!

Announcing the limited edition BigDawgs4Christ "Unleased" Tees, FREE with your paid registration by May 1...

You too can be clothed in righteousness, BigDawg style with these luxurious red cotton Tees! Only 100 Tees available! When the BigDawgs show up in mass at the Phillips Arena, you gotta know that those good ole boys will be Georgia Bull Dog red-with-envy seeing you on the prowl with these Tees on!

Posing with pride are our March Issue Cover BigDawgs::

John Parks (front champion view)

Jeff Walker (rear knockout view)

and Jeff (in a relaxed "wear at any Cracker Barrel" look)

Even the Hulkster is getting a new BigDawg Tee!

This trip will SELL OUT, so register ONLINE via Clearview Baptist Church's Men's Ministry website today!

Speaker Line Ups posted at Promise Keepers

(Joseph Garlington)

The Atlanta speaker lineup has been announced...

Reggie Dabbs returns as MC for all the conferences

Bob Reccord is the evangelist for all of the confrences. Dr. Bob Reccord is the President of the North American Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention (NAMB)

Joseph Garlington, Founder and senior pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh is the PK superman - does it all; speaker, MC, Worship Leader and great humor with relevant teaching.

Rick Kingham... One of the original 72 men that founded Promise Keepers.

Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development.

Mark Schultz Saturday lunch concert.

Drama skits by AWAKEN... Founded by author and pastor Erwin Raphael McManus, AWAKEN is a team of artists and innovators who design and provide inspirational resources and engaging experiences to help people discover their own uniqueness, unleash their creative potential, and embrace a life of passion and purpose in Jesus Christ.

PK7 is the Worship Band.

Register ONLINE today!

BigDawg Tattooed

Big Dawg and Jesus tattoos spotted over at Billy Joe's TATTOOS here in Nashville.

Young pups, ask Poppa Dawg and Momma Dawg before you even think of branding yourself !

Weaker brother asked to leave men's group

SATIRE! Alert - A BigDawg would never do the following...

ATHENS, Ga. ˜Tired of accommodating their legalistic friend, members of a men's group have asked Harold Beihn to loosen up or move on.

"His standard of personal holiness fits us a little too tight," says one member.

But Beihn says he just "wanted my guys to be holy as the Lord is holy. I think God put me in their lives to remind them of the rules."

By all accounts, Beihn's lifestyle was out of synch with the others'. He vetoed most activities the other guys wanted to do because they "didn't accord with righteous living." This ruled out movies, sporting events, even bowling because the atmosphere at the lanes is "too loose," says Beihn.

Beihn also took accountability so seriously that he often called the other men at 7:30 a.m. and asked, "Did you kiss your wife yet?" If the answer was no, he'd report them to the men's ministry pastor.

The situation recently came to a head when everyone but Beihn wanted to play darts and drink beer every Monday night in their garages, creating a casual venue for inviting unsaved friends.

But Beihn had a major hang-up with it.

"He kept saying, 'Darts, I can handle, but beer ˜ I can't go there, guys,'" says one member. Subsequently, the other members asked Beihn to leave the group, saying they were "moving in different directions."

Beihn joined another group, which he enjoys and whose members "run a tighter ship, morally speaking."

"They have respect for the rules I live by," says Beihn. "We get along great."

Note: SATIRE! SATIRE! from Lark News

Thursday, March 02, 2006

BigDawgs4Christ Registration NOW OPEN!

Has it been some time since you went to a PK event?

Run with the Big Dawgs to Atlanta for Promise Keepers ‘06!

This year, you can register ONLINE via Clearview Baptist Church's Men's Ministry website here!

Register today for your Bonus T-Shirt and discounted registration by May 1, 2006!

FAbdQs - Frequently Asked BigDawg Questions

Friday & Saturday July 28-29 Phillips Arena in Atlanta

What is included in my registration fee?
Your registration includes a wristband for admission both days, transportation, hotel room (double) within a very short walking distance and 5 meals total… plus a BigDawg4Christ hat! Less expensive than going on your own!
Register by May 1 for a 10% discount and a T Shirt !

What are the departure times for Friday and Saturday?
Deluxe tour buses leave at 8:00 am sharp on Friday, July 28 from Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin and arriving home approx. 11:30 pm on Saturday July 29. Friday's program will run from 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. and Saturday will run from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m. The hotel is a short walking distance with five meals included! You can leave your car at Clearview Baptist Church located at 537 Franklin Road, south of Moores Lane.

What should I bring?
Invite a friend! Bring a Bible, pen and a BigDawg4Christ attitude ready to be challenged, encouraged and set on fire for the Lord.

Can I volunteer?
Absolutely! Conferee lunch feeding, evangelism workers and ushers are needed and greatly appreciated – consider donating 1 to 2 hours of your time. Volunteer online:

Dang it! The devil messin’ with my schedule and I can no longer attend the event I registered for; what do I do now?
Prayerfully consider attending another Promise Keepers conference in the area; better yet, sponsor a friend or bless a church member in need and/or honor your pastor by sending him with your wristband. Note that there are no refunds on registrations.

I have more questions; who can I contact?
For specific Nashville conference information and updates, or for additional registrations, please call one of the following leaders – they’re ready to serve:
Jeff Walker (615) 347-7784
John Parks (615) 300-7060
Eddy Richardson (615) 371-9249
Troy Madge (615) 828-9081
Mark Wanee (615) 430-9062
Durand Hite (615) 298-4935
Rick Lee (931) 334-4424
Al Aigner (931) 486-1444
Kerry Woo (615) 336-9360
Tim Richards (615) 319-7150

This trip will SELL OUT, so register ONLINE via Clearview Baptist Church's Men's Ministry website today!

Promise Keepers UNLEASHED!

It is not about learning how to be a nicer guy. It's about becoming the powerful man God designed you to be.

There is courage bound up in you. Unleash it.
There is passion and fire tied up in you. Unleash it.
There is a warrior held captive in you. Unleash it.
There is an untamed spirit held down in you. Unleash it.

And when the power of God in you is unleashed...
...the adventure truly begins.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."
Ephesians 1:18-19

Register online at Promise Keepers

STAY TUNED for Registration details locally in the Nashville and surrounding areas!