Looking down over the stadium, Danny MacKay was in awe. At 17, he had only become a Christian a few months earlier. Yet standing there, with 10,000 men all worshipping God, MacKay knew two things: that he would spend the rest of his life pointing people to Jesus and that one day he would stand and preach on a Promise Keepers’ stage.
“To be in a stadium, like that, where everyone is singing — it was powerful,” he says. “I remember the hair standing up on my arms, goosebumps, and looking around thinking, ‘Wow, this is incredible.’ I had a huge sense of what it is going to be like in heaven. That was my first experience.”
Today, MacKay is part of the global team with I Am Second, living out what he felt that day at Promise Keepers, more than 20 years ago. MacKay leads teams around the world on mission trips to share the gospel with unreached people groups. He is also preparing to speak at a Promise Keepers event this fall.
“Whenever I see a Promise Keepers event, I still remember that [first one]. So being invited to speak at one, after all these years, is really special to me. I get the session where they call guys to put their faith in Christ or re-surrender if they need to do that. I get to do that part, which, to me, is the best one.”
“It’s interesting, back then I really had a sense of calling on my life. I had no idea it would look like this. As I think about all those things that shaped me to be who I am, Promise Keepers was part of that — especially right there at those beginning moments. To have conferences, like Promise Keepers, where men stand up and challenge us to be men of integrity, to live for God, to make an impact in our communities — it’s been those light posts along the way that have really helped shape me.”
MacKay attended a few more Promise Keepers events over the years. One powerful moment he remembers is when a speaker led the men in attendance through a time of confession. He says it lifted a weight off his chest and receiving prayer that day really instilled that as a value in his life.
That first event, however, still stands out as the one that impacted him the most.
“Seeing, with my eyes, massive amounts of people getting together to focus on God and worship Him; that made me realize how important it is to be a godly man. I remember feeling that I am not just wading into this, I’m diving in. I’m going to serve Him with everything I have.”
MacKay walked away from the event with a deep joy, peace, and a sense of belonging.
“I had never felt like that before. I had never felt so connected to something so much bigger than myself.”
As he prepares to join the leaders of Promise Keepers Canada on stage, MacKay says, “I’m so thankful for how consistent Promise Keepers has been. I really appreciate the faithfulness of the organizers and leaders, that they’re still doing it. They are serving the Kingdom, and it matters. I’m super excited to be part of it this year.”
CRAIG MACARTNEY is a freelance writer who lives in Ottawa, and is the former Eastern Correspondent for ChristianWeek.
On a recent podcast, Danny shares examples of how we can be godly disruptors to those around us, reaching the unreached with the gospel. He also talks about how a “disruption” became a catalyst for him coming to Jesus in the most unlikely way—in the back of a stolen car.