'That Stadium Became a Sanctuary'

July 19, 2021

At a time when we truly need men to step up in our homes, churches, and communities, the "in person" return of Promise Keepers this past weekend at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, was indeed worth celebrating. Ken Harrison, whose résumé includes a tour in the Marine Corps and tough inner city assignments in law-enforcement, has persevered in leading a renewal of Promise Keepers, a ministry whose events back in the 1990s inspired millions of men to fulfill their God-given callings as husbands, fathers and sons. Over the weekend, there were about 30,000 men in attendance with hundreds of churches hosting many more men online after COVID forced organizers to do a digital only event last year.

On Saturday, our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin, who oversees our Stand Courageous ministry to men led prayer for military members and first responders. He also challenged the men: "Everyone in the kingdom of God has a specific calling on his life...It's time for you to stand up and be the warrior that God called you to be." The General also received the Men of Great Courage Award at the event. The award was originally slated to be given back in 2020 but delayed because of the pandemic. This year pastor, author, and Stand Courageous speaker Stu Weber, who suffered through COVID himself earlier this spring, presented the award in an emotional exchange between himself and his longtime battle buddy, General Boykin. For more about our ministry and to tap into all the resources for men, visit standcourageous.com.

There were a number of powerful speakers during the two-day event, like Tony Evans' son Jonathan, who is the chaplain for the Cowboys and presented a clear call to come to Christ. To a nation becoming increasingly divided over race, Pastor A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, encouraged: "Jesus can take a heart of hatred and turn it into a heart of love." Best-selling author and Christian psychologist Les Parrott reminded the men: "Your relationships can only be as healthy as you are." Hall of Fame wide receiver and former Cowboys player Michael Irvin urged the men: "Make sure you go to the owner's manual, the Bible, to get your name and find your identity."

Other notable speakers included Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, and Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who encouraged the men that one thing that "woke cancel culture" cannot cancel is the church. Friend of FRC, James Robison of Life Today, followed him by encouraging that "In God's Kingdom purpose is where we fulfill our Father's dreams." Summoning a football analogy, FRC board member, Pastor Carter Conlon of Times Square Church in New York City declared: "Because of Jesus Christ we are already in the end zone, all we have to do is spike the ball and say we have won. We are more than conquerors in Christ!"

Also present was our own David Closson, director of our recently launched Center for Biblical Worldview, who was struck by the scene: "Here is a stadium known for football, but instead of beer and profanity, it was filled with men confessing their sins, praying and praising God." He added, "It was encouraging to see men kneeling at the 50-yard line on the Dallas Cowboy star, surrounded by thousands of men on their knees, crying out to God. That stadium became a sanctuary."