Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Power Team: 40 years and still going strong

Flower Mound resident Todd Keene likes to joke that he is a walking contradiction. And it’s easy to see why.

Keene, the outgoing and super-fit president of the world-renowned Christian Evangelist group The Power Team, recently admitted that he is a closet introvert who has suffered from intense battles with anxiety for most of his life. His condition has been so overwhelming at times that he feels the full spectrum of emotions, complete with sweaty palms, breathing issues, dizziness, and that telltale feeling that his heart is going to pound so hard that it might leap right out of his chest.

Yet, his career for nearly 30 years has required him to confidently stand on stage with other world-class athletes in front of packed schools and churches nationwide and combine inspirational secular and non-secular messages with ridiculous feats of strength.

“It’s a very odd mixture,” said Keene, a former college and pro football player. He’s been The Power Team president since 2003. “The first time I spoke to a doctor about my anxiety, he said, ‘You’ve got to find a new profession.’ And I’m like, ‘I’ve only been doing this for 25 years, so it’s a little late now.’ At some point, you have to realize that the best way to overcome it is to not hide from anything.”

He added, “When I’m on stage, I’m out of my own head. You forget you’re on stage — because you’re so comfortable.”

Keene is comfortable because he genuinely believes in what he’s doing.

The Power Team is a passionate and diverse group of athletes and trained public speakers. They have a rich history of reaching people with their motivational — albeit unconventional — brand of spreading the gospel and inspiring people around the globe to make positive changes in their lives. They’ve visited schools three days a week and spoken to kids about anti-bullying, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and the importance of academic excellence. They’ve visited churches that need a little help reaching their communities and succeeded in driving thousands to Christ. For businesses, they’ve given employees a fresh outlook on doing their absolute best.

Todd Keene leads The Power Team. (Photo by Lynn Seeden/Seeden Photography)

And yes, they blended all of that with attention-grabbing tactics you just don’t see every day. At their height in the 1980s, The Power Team became known for tearing phone books in half, bending steel and smashing concrete with their skulls, and shattering blocks of ice with their elbows at more than 200 sold-out Crusades a year. And they miraculously came out on the other side unscathed, thanks to the power and positivity of the Lord.

These and so many other explosive performances — they’ve even broken gigantic wooden boards that were on fire — became their calling card in the years that followed. Essentially, if reaching people is the ministry’s goal, The Power Team fulfills it.

“I always love getting in front of new audiences and spreading our message. We’d do six school assemblies in a given day, go to the local church that evening, and then start all over again the next day,” Keene said. “We’d tell people to blindfold the fire marshal because we wanted to pack as many people into the building as possible. And we did. We have guys who have been with us for 30 years who still want to do this because it’s what they have been called to do. We believe that the Lord is our provider. Our faith is in him, and whatever he wants to do, he will get it done.”

Keene would love to see a return to that heyday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a steady stream of schools and churches willing to break attendance records has been understandably difficult over the past two years. What was once a calendar that featured over 200 Crusades a year has dwindled to 20 smaller events since the pandemic first began in March 2020.

The Power Team also had 50 employees at its peak but now works on a contract basis with its male and female athletes.

“Our whole motto was to invite the entire community, pack them in shoulder to shoulder, and set attendance records,” Keene said. “We are hearing rumblings of change, especially lately. We were in Nebraska recently and spoke to eight schools, but they were significantly smaller events. For the most part, people are still iffy on packing it in.”

But that doesn’t mean Keene sees an end in sight to the value they continue to create with their message. He joined the group in 1994 and there have been numerous copycat groups that have popped up along the way. At their last count, Keene said they’ve seen over 40 new groups. But he’s quick to remind everyone that The Power Team is the original.

“We have been through just about every situation under the sun, and we know what we are doing,” Keene said. “We are the trusted leaders in conferences of this type, and many of the other groups got started because they saw something we did at some point. We are in this for the message, not the money, and everyone on our team shares that same heart.”

If you would like to learn more about Denton County’s own The Power Team, visit thepowerteam.com or call 972-484-8333. They are currently taking reservations for their school and church assemblies and would love to talk to you today.

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