June 17th, 2011 at 3:54 pm
June 7, 2011- I had walked away from an established church many years ago, due to incidents within the church, which left my family outraged at a Baptist minister. My mother, father and sister joined the Methodist church. The incidents left me with mixed feelings and questions regarding the people who attend and policies of the Baptist church. It didn’t lessen my faith in the Lord; it simply left me alone in this world to hold on to that faith.
This became harder as the years went on. I found that the Baptist doctrine and the judgmental ways of the church suited me less and less every time I visited Baptist churches over the next 30 years. Eventually, I gave up trying to find a place where I fit in.
My wife encouraged me to accompany her to the Cowboy Church of Orange County a few years ago when the church was still being held in a barn.
That hot summer morning, as I approached the church, people came forth to shake my hand and say “howdy.” I took my seat and the band started to play, and Brother Dale gave his sermon. I was moved by the entire experience.
As a kid, I would go to an old country church in east Texas with my grandparents. As I sat there in the Cowboy Church, for the first time in a long time, in my heart I felt like my grandparents were right next to me again. The doctrine that the Cowboy Church seemed to establish was one of “love for your fellow man, and not too many rules, or people judging others by their dress, social status, their past or the fact that they are different.”
These things were a blessing to my soul. They also seemed to portray the belief of the cowboy era, similar to the beliefs I grew up on, such as “right and wrong, live and let live, and work hard and play hard.” The same ethics that were so proudly displayed in childhood heroes like: “Hop Along Cassidy, Gene Autry, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne.” to me this was the code I tried to live by, and here was a group of people with the same ideas. This was what I had been looking for, for a very long time.
Now with the arena for the kids, wagon for all of us, rodeos, play days, trail rides, wild horse ministries, picnics on the ground and the phenomenal growth of the church, there is something for everyone. I am so grateful to have found a church family in which I truly feel welcomed just for being me.