March 2020, Edmonton, AB, Promise Keepers Canada was in final preparations for a conference when the world began to shut down. That conference was cancelled. And the next one. And the following two. We could not know, as the first waves of COVID-19 began to impact Canada, that it would be more than two years before we could plan the next in-person conference . . . a crisis for a ministry built on conferences.
We’re all still feeling the effects of the pandemic. In some ways, we’re still discovering how COVID-19 changed things. Two dynamics are at play that affect the return to in-person gatherings:
- Hesitancy – from fear of gathering in churches to frustration with churches, there is a reluctance to return.
- Habits – The comfort of home and relaxed clothes, a full coffee pot, and an abundance of online programming formed new routines—habits that are hard to break.
It seems fair to ask: “After two years, why bother going back to in-person events?”
The writer of Hebrews, though writing under different circumstances, emphasizes the importance of getting together.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NIV
This verse has been used like a hammer to pound people into feeling guilty about poor church attendance. But the writer of Hebrews had something more than full pews in mind. When persecuted Jewish believers were being pressured to abandon the faith, the writer encourages them to find strength and encouragement from staying connected and gathered. As the pressure mounted, he challenged them to press in.
This is still relevant. It may not be persecution or the same kind of pressure, but the pandemic changes have allowed people to abandon their walk with Jesus through disconnecting. Many are satisfied to let their faith deflate. A fresh call to press into Christ and His people is needed. It is a call we intend to broadcast everywhere as we relaunch in-person conferences!
For conference old hands or newbies, our clarion invitation is to press back in (which is what the name Impactus means) to these transformational gatherings.
To go with our fresh look and feel, here are the top 10 things we will call men to press into:
- Fun – kick back, relax, and laugh with the guys.
- Connections – make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
- Unity – join brothers of different ages, backgrounds, and churches.
- Worship – lift your voice to praise the Lord with other men.
- Prayer – bring your needs and burdens; find hope and healing.
- Scripture – hear from God’s Word through our incredible speakers.
- Grace – experience the God who made the first move to meet with you.
- Focus – push away distractions and division to see Christ and His purposes.
- Mission – respond to the urgency of a world that needs men on a mission.
- God – come to Him, become like Him, grow in Him, and live for Him.
Years ago, a young ministry leader, who had poured his heart and soul into creating an innovative and impactful event faced intense pressure and deep discouragement. Cruelty and criticism had tried to shut it all down—cancel culture before it was cool.
Frustrated, he wanted to give up. Why keep going after giving so much and seeing only opposition? But at an altar at his very own event, God met him, and everything changed. If you didn’t guess, that young man was me. It’s why I am so passionate about conferences. No matter your situation that could be you. God uses moments like these to form and transform us.
We won’t guilt you into attending. But we want to invite you to join us and press into God so He might press into us.