In recent years there has been a rise in the Cowboy Church movement. If you're unfamiliar, a Cowboy Church is like a regular Christian church but with a few differences. Sure you're there to worship God, but while simultaneously embracing traditional western culture. You're encouraged to "come as you are" in your cowboy boots to Sunday morning worship service where churchgoers will be entertained by a country gospel band before the preacher's sermon. If you're witnessing a baptism, expect it to take place in a stock tank.
When they say cowboy culture, they aren't kidding. While you're going to study God's Word during the church service, there is so much more the church has to offer its community. Typically held in old western buildings, it's not uncommon to also find a rodeo arena onsite where bull riding, team roping, ranch sorting, and more are held during the week. The majority of cowboy churches are located in more rural settings to appeal to their target congregants, but its popularity is rising with people who simply enjoy getting to worship Christ while embracing their western heritage. These days you could very well see a similar crowd to a traditional church service, with maybe just a few more cowboy hats.
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"When I pastored traditional churches, I would go to Walmart, and I'd run into church members," Pastor Gary Morgan of the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, the largest cowboy church in the world, told Texas Monthly.
"When I came out here . . . I'd see them at feed stores and roping arenas. You have a whole subculture of people that moves in a totally different circle than many other Texans do, and our goal was to reach them."
The movement first started back in the 70s, but today has hundreds of churches located throughout the world and in most states throughout the country. It isn't surprising that the majority of the movement is based in Texas though. The Baptist General Convention (who founded The Cowboy Church of Ellis County) estimates over 40,000 members attend weekly service at cowboy churches in Texas alone.
If you're interested in finding a cowboy church near you, check out the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches to get more information on the belief system as well as to get nearby locations.
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