Living in Stephenville, Texas – a town known as the Cowboy Capital
of the World – supposedly home to more professional cowboys than
any other town in the country, one can not help but notice that cowboys
are king around here. Personally, as a city boy born in Chicago, Illinois I've
never even ridden a horse. I sat on one as a child but could not make her
I've attended the local Cowboy Church and was blessed each time I
attended, the room filled with men in cowboy hats, boots and Wrangler
jeans. They come as they are, for sure, and the parking lot is filled with
more pick-up trucks than you'll find anywhere on earth at one time. In
fact, the last time I attended there, a tattooed cowboy was baptized in
the horse trough outside. Before the service, men on horseback directed
traffic on the grassy parking lot. While chatting with other Christians
after the service, several made mention of being accepted for who
they are in Christ and not rejected for what they were wearing.
A few years ago, Stephenville got its first "Cowboy Church." The
church grew rapidly and got my attention when, on an Easter Sunday,
they packed the pews in a banquet room of a local bar with over 500
attendees. I've not only visited the church several times and said a few
words from the pulpit, but I was invited by the pastor to teach an 8-week
series on theults one night a week. These days, as I make my rounds as a
Workplace Chaplain – a "circuit rider," as Cowboy Pastor Charles Higgs
called me – it looks that everywhere I look, I see a new Cowboy Church.
THE WORD FROM WIGLESWORTH
The following was found on the website for the Nashville Cowboy Church:
"In The Last Days The Gospel Will Be Spread By Cowboy … This was a
prophecy of noted English Prophet Smith Wigglesworth in the late 1800's.
After the coming of the new millennium, it seems evident that this prophecy
is being fulfilled. "Cowboy Church" type services are enjoying a
tremendously resurgence. Regardless of the setting, the one thing that many
people seem to feel is the simplicity of the message and the informal "Come
as you are, "down to earth, God inspired love toward one another
are hungry for something real. Cowboy Church is breaking down the walls
that have separated people from enjoying a personal relationship with theirs
maker, no matter what their background is, where they came from, or what
they wear. "
I've heard that this was true but never personally looked into it until
recently. According to an article that appeared in Charisma Magazine,
"[this Cowboy Church phenomenon is] part of a move of God never
before seen in the rodeo world. It's a revival found at livestock auctions,
in cowboy churches, and on isolated ranches and farms that dot the rural
landscape of the Western United States. And it's one that 1930s
Pentecostal preacher Smith Wigglesworth reportedly prophesied would
come not only to, but also through, the cowboy community, a less-than-
accurate but useful term for describing the culture. This awakening
includes ranchers, farmers, horse trainers, professional rodeo
competitors, cowboys and, of course, cowgirls. "
Did you catch that? According to the article, Wigglesworth prophesied
that a revival would be coming THROUGH – not only TO – the cowboy
The article went on to say: "People are being saved by the tons in the
cowboy world, "66-year-old Glenn Smith, the acknowledged" granddaddy "
of cowboy evangelism, told Charisma. "They can come to cowboy
services just as they are, in dirty Levis and with cow stuff on their boots,
and leave saved. "
THE COWBOY WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
The article in Charisma stated that, "As recently as 30 years ago there
was not a single outreach aimed at cowboys. Now there is a multitude of
evangelistic efforts, many of them charismatic and Pentecostal. In addition
to preaching the same Gospel, these efforts share at least one other
characteristic: mobility. Ministering on the rodeo circuit, providing pastoral
care for county-sized ranches and cowboy congregations, discipling potential
leaders and maintaining relationships with new converters requires so much
travel that some cowboy ministers live in recreational vehicles year-round. "
The central theme of the New Testament is that Jesus is Lord. the word "lord"
comes from the Greek 'kyrios "which, literally means" owner. "God wants
each of us to make Jesus the Lord of every aspect of our society – even the cowboy
aspect. What other segment of society needs to be surrendered to Christ? The
answer lies right there in the segment in which each of us spends the majority
of our OWN time.