Cowboy Church … a friend asks:

I get a very lengthy text the other night .. from a girlfriend. It was late, and the same night I posted what happens while a child walks in on two consenting adults.

“You and the Cowboy appear to be doing well, despite the stressors of life and long distance, and I am so happy for you.”

(We’ve known each other for what seems a very long time, brought together by both of our mothers having passed away of the same type of cancer. Lot of lessons in life to be learned when a parent passes away .. thoughts for another post sometime. Anyway, this discussion is much lighter hearted.)

She goes on to say, “You give me hope that there are indeed good relationships to be had, despite any previous not so good ones in my past. I am content to wait for my own cowboy to ride/walk/run into my life! Anyway… I am responding to your fabulous blog that I have so enjoyed reading. Humor me here. Two hilarious things happened this week that I feel I simply must sure with you, especially in light of your topics this past week. Ironic, with the timing really. First one, I was speaking with a patient who was a self proclaimed cowboy. In reading some of his past notes, he indeed is a true cowboy here in Wisconsin, but I came across one note hat spoke of his “priest at cowboy church.” I am as green as they come and am sure I would still call a lasso, a lasso. But is there seriously such a thing as cowboy church?”


Last summer I had just been informally introduced to the Cowboy, when he started a week at Willow Creek Rodeo Bible Camp. In fact, he just reminded me that was the first time I was willing to give him my number. I figured if he was an instructor at a bible camp.. it might be safe to at least share my number. Until then we had only talked a bit via Facebook.

“Sure,” he says this morning as I show him the text. “There is a Cowboy Church. I’m not exactly sure how it got started. But it’s real.”

He reminds me, we’ve actually talked about this before.

He gave my daughter a Cowboy Bible, in fact, for Christmas. It’s just a little pocket bible she can carry around with her to hopefully use, and if nothing else, remind her He’s there for her and so is the Cowboy. He’s got them around the house for his kids, as well.

What is Cowboy Church?

We’ve looked it up to see if there’s any great explanation of where it started, why and how many there are. There’s quite a bit of information out there.

But without sending you on a wild information chase ..

Its non-denominational. It’s usually held not necessarily on Sundays but usually at a horse event, such as a rodeo, horse show, roping. Whatever. And it can be in the stands, the arena or at a horse trailer.

The Cowboy believes it exists out of the reality 1) many cowboys/cowgirls and their families either live far from town/church and are busy tending to the ranch on Sundays to make a usual church service so at one time, it may have been born out of necessity and/or 2) if you rodeo, you’re gone most of the time and not near your own church. You’re traveling, or getting ready for the competition on Sunday afternoon. So you gather on the road. Someone is usually leading the group, either a certified pastor or just someone who is comfortable in that role..

Cowboys and cowgirls, get together, give testimony, sing songs and worship.

The Cowboy says he went to a lot of rodeo bible camps when he was a kid..

As an adult .. he appreciates the opportunity to give back.

Rodeo Bible Camp

So .. my dear friend, if my own past serves as any sort of a lesson, go with your gut. Allow yourself to trust someone again, especially if he seems like a good guy. In fact if you haven’t already, now, may be a good time to give him your number. You never know when that Cowboy may come riding in … get back on that horse. (take that however you want.) And if nothing else, let him take you to church.

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