The growth of “cowboy” ministries across the U.S. that emphasize informality and Western themes are drawing a segment of the traditionally unchurched, reports the Boston Globe (Jan. 25).
“Today, nondenominational cowboy churches are springing up across the country, built on the notion that the romanticism associated with that lifestyle can draw churchgoers of towns and cities in the way it reached cowboys of rural communities. Cowboy ministries are a varied sort, but all present themselves as a down-to-earth alternative to the formal services they say might turn off many churchgoers,” writes Amy Green.
Some of these churches, such as the Thousand Hills Cowboy Church near San Antonio, TX., include Western activities, such as rodeos and horsemanship and seek to minister to actual cowboys. The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, with 75 chapters, also ministers to cowboys at rodeos and other places they gather. Other churches have “urbanized the concept,” such as the Nashville Cowboy Church (co-founded by Johnny Cash’s sister), and seem geared more to tourists who enjoy the music and informal style.
But most of these churches tend to work among those disillusioned with denominational politics and a formal church style and desiring a return to a focus on the Bible.