About 10,000 men and boys are expected at the annual Promise Keepers' event at the Pepsi Center Friday and Sept. 9.
The crowd will be one of the smallest ever to attend a gathering sponsored by Promise Keepers, the Christian men's organization, in Denver. In the mid-'90s, the group attracted more than 75,000 people to its conference at Mile High Stadium and a total of 1.2 million people throughout the season of events.
In those days, Promise Keepers boasted an $87 million budget and 300 employees.
However, when the organization stopped charging for the conferences, attendance fell off. This year those attending will again pay.
McCartney, the former University of Colorado football coach who founded Promise Keepers in 1990, will likely address the Denver conference, although he isn't listed as one of the keynote speakers, said Steve Chavis, Promise Keepers spokesman.
McCartney may speak near the end of this year's meeting during the prayer session, which Chavis calls "a kind of group confessional." The conference runs from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 9.
Chavis said that part of the reason attendance will be less this year is that many New Mexico men who usually come to Denver had their own gathering in Albuquerque in August.
"I think some of the men coming this year are just anxious to see the Pepsi Center," he said, laughing.
Promise Keepers was formed to help men become better husbands, fathers and Christians. McCartney has stressed seven promises that men should keep to reach those goals.
This year's arena conferences are geared toward teenage boys, and there has been a 15 percent increase in registration by youngsters, Chavis said. Music and some of the speakers will focus on teenagers.
Adults pay $69 for the Friday night, all-day Saturday event, and boys pay $49. The ticket price includes a Saturday lunch.
Sponsors this year include Compassion International, Sight and Sound Theatres, Select International Christian Tours, Shepherd Financial Services, Olan Mills Church Directories, Western Seminary, Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, Mo., and 1-800-Flowers.com.
In addition to Denver, six conferences through October will be staged in Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Calif., Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta.
McCartney gets no salary from Promise Keepers. He earns an income from motivational speaking for Big Sur Waterbeds and is in demand constantly to speak to groups around the country, Chavis said. He also has a Monday-throughFriday radio program, "Fourth and Goal," heard at 6:45 a.m. on KWBI 91.1 FM.