Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

Twenty-five years ago, a group of six men embarked on a journey to bring prayer and encouragement to Macon County. Five men, from different churches, different backgrounds, different walks of life, all with one goal: to pray for their neighbors.

The Promise Keeper movement swept the nation in the ‘90s, with rallies being held in football stadiums across the country. Bill McCartney, then the head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder founded the movement, and wanted to speak to other mean about “training and teaching on what it means to be Godly men.”

Spurred by what they were learning about McCartney and the movement, Robbie Robison and four other Franklin men boarded a plan to Cincinnati to attend a Promise Keeper event in 1993. Inspired by what they learned, the group started a local Promise Keepers chapter in Macon County, meeting at the Sunset restaurant Thursday mornings for the next 25 years. The local Promise Keepers group has grown and shrunk over the years, but at its core, the original mission remained the focus.

“During the time we started, there were a lot of fatherless families,” Robison, an original member remembered. “We wanted to start a movement that encouraged men to stand up for their marriage, for their families, and to have integrity.”

Promise Keepers is self-described as “a Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, helping them to grow as Christians.” Promise Keepers is a nonprofit organization, not affiliated with any Christian church or denomination.

The core beliefs of the Promise Keepers, outlined in the Seven Promises, consist of the following:

– A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical and sexual purity.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and Biblical values.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor and by actively giving his time and resources.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of Biblical unity.

– A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Three men are left in the local chapter of Promise Keepers, but on Saturday, March 31, Robison is hoping to hold a 25-year celebration and encourage members to become active again and garner new members to revitalize the group.

“Today we are still meeting, we share a devotional, we pray for our county and our country and we just have fellowship,” said Robison. “That is what it is all about and that is what we have been doing for the last 25 years.”

The trio, who all hail from different churches and parts of the county, meet at Grace Presbyterian Church for the prayer and devotional before going to Sunset for breakfast. For as long as the group has met at the Sunset, there have been two waitresses who have also worked there and have served the group each week. Robison said part of the 25th anniversary celebration this weekend will recognize them for their continued kindness and support. Robison also plans to have memorabilia from events and rallies attended by the local Promise Keepers.

“We just want to be a prayer group for our country and our county,” said Robison, and I believe right now, we all could really use prayer.”

The 25-year celebration will be held at 9 a.m. at the Sunset restaurant on Saturday. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by calling Robison at (828)369-6453.