Cowboy churches bring people together in a relaxed atmosphere. Farmers, ranchers, horseback riders, and the working class all come together to worship and share the Good News. These congregations offer a “come-as-you-are” attendance! They merge Christian principles and western culture. Many are housed in barns, rodeo grounds, community centers, and other unconventional spaces. They tend to be in rural areas.
The History of Cowboy Churches
The idea of a cowboy church is still relatively new. The first ones were established in the 70s in Texas. They have since spread across the United States and even in other parts of the world. Their original purpose was to offer rodeo and ranching families a place to worship and come together for fellowship. Nowadays, they appeal to a wide range of folks! You’ll see a variety of attendees.
What’s a typical service like?
Much like a regular church, you’ll find music, prayer, and a sermon. They can differ in the sense that there’s a western flair. The music may be traditional or contemporary Christian songs, but with a twist. Live bands and line dancing aren’t uncommon! The sermon may incorporate practical life lessons from farm life and Old West culture. They will preach from the Bible. Some may show Baptist themes, while others are non-denominational.
You may see attendees in jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. The overall atmosphere is relaxed. The building may have western decorations like old saddles, farmhand tools, tribal blankets, and other pieces displayed.
Cowboy churches feel strongly about community outreach. They may host events at rodeos, hold a barbecue, offer a food pantry, and/or clothing drive. Their hope is to spread the message of Christ.
If you’re interested in attending a service, the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches offers a search feature on their website. You can also try asking your local feed or tack store, hay farmer, or even your riding buddies.