- Cowboy church
Cowboy churches are local Christian churches within the cowboy culture that are distinctively Western heritage in character. A typical cowboy church may meet in a rural setting in a barn, metal building, arena, sale barn, or old western building, have its own rodeo arena, and a country gospel band. Baptisms are generally done in a stock tank. The sermons are usually short and simple. Some cowboy churches have covered arenas where rodeo events such as bull riding, team roping, ranch sorting, team penning and equestrian events are held on weeknights.
Cowboy church models
The AFCC (American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches) places the emphasis on the "no barriers" model started by the Baptist General Convention of Texas in the first cowboy church in Texas located Waxahachie south of Dallas, Texas, where they planted the first and currently the largest "cowboy church" within the AFCC. The "no barriers" church model removes from the worship service the traditions that are believed to have no biblical basis, such as the "altar call" and passing of the collection plate. Tithes and offerings are simply placed in a boot, hat, or wooden bird house at the rear of the meeting room.
Even though most of these churches are located in Texas and Oklahoma, cowboy outreaches are springing up in other parts of the US through various other cowboy church groups. One such group is the Cowboy Church Network of North America(www.cowboycn.org), which has member churches in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas,Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Wyoming, as well as Alberta (Canada).
There are also cowboy ministries that hold cowboy church services at rodeos and other western events. A cowboy ministry may also hold rodeo schools, clinics, or camps.
- Cowboy churches rope in new Christians: Ministry attracts those looking for an alternative to traditional worship, Associated Press, 2008
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