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Bill McCartney

It's a Guy Thing

In 1994 McCartney dramatically announced that he was sacrificing his coaching career so he could spend more time with his family, particularly his wife. He quit his high-paying CU job and vowed to repair his marriage.

Instead, he responded to the entreaties of his prayer partner Randy Phillips, who came to him in stocking feet with a message from the Lord that he should become the CEO of Promise Keepers. Much to his wife's chagrin, Coach Mac continued to pour all of his energy into changing other men's lives. Well, almost all: He also became a motivational speaker for waterbed salesmen. McCartney's main focus, however, was Promise Keepers. He continued filling stadiums full of men, built a $100 million operation and launched a remarkable revival that swept the nation.

It all culminated in last October's Stand in the Gap rally in Washington, D.C. Beneath the towering Washington Monument, McCartney asked hundreds of thousands of men to join hands and pray and hug one another and proclaim their undying, obedient love for Jesus.

"Interestingly," he writes in Sold Out, "I can see how God lifted me to an unmerited position of national prominence in sports, first, in order to provide the public platform to launch Promise Keepers."

Now 57, Coach Mac has a life that more than ever revolves around men. Last year's rally thrust him even further into national prominence. From its north Denver office, Promise Keepers has spread into a highly intricate national network of men's groups. Like McCartney's own Face to Face group, these men are supposed to pray together, take control of their families and work together to change society. That scares Coach Mac's critics, who fear a political agenda.

And even on the home front, the women in Coach Mac's life sometimes don't know what to think about his life's work.

"At first, I didn't understand the impact of Promise Keepers," Kristy writes in Sold Out. "Once I did, I was just in awe of what God was doing with men. But I confess, at times I've felt my dad was a hypocrite. Sometimes I thought, 'You've got a lot of nerve saying those things. You don't have your own house in order.'"

A single mom raising two biracial kids, she now works in the Promise Keepers Racial Reconciliation Department. "I know Dad has always done his best," she writes. "I know he loves me, even though it's still hard for him."

Mired for years in the background of her husband's life, Lyndi McCartney finally got to have her say in Sold Out--and even got her name in small type on the cover. "Men, go ahead and call yourself a promise keeper, even though you will fall short of that ideal repeatedly," she writes. "My husband was on the stage, speaking at ten PK conferences before he realized how much he needed to change his relationship with his family. It took ten times, but he finally got it!

"I vowed to take him 'for better or for worse.' I didn't know it would take over thirty years for it to start getting better.

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