In the last couple of month I have been in contact with a local pastor who wanted to use our nonprofit site to set up a cowboy church. I worked with him and became a liaison to our Board of Directors to set up a program both parties could agree on. With God’s guidance, the Cowboy Church was able to kick off three weeks ago. I had the honor of attending this past Sunday for the first time.
What is Cowboy Church you ask? It’s a service designed to make cowboys, county people, animal lovers, and the cowgirl at heart feel welcome and appreciated. Services are held in a horse friendly environment such as a barn or stable and many bring out their horses to ride before they sit down to hear about Jesus. There is no dress code. Your boots, dirty jeans and cowboy hats are welcome. Cowboy Church aims to remove the trappings that often deter some from church and keep them from coming to hear the Gospel.
That was the lesson of that day’s sermon. We as Christians often tend to box each other in thinking there is one way a Christian should look. “Don’t fence me in!” the pastor proclaimed. Sitting on the mounting block in my jeans and flannel shirt, I felt at home. I have always felt like the churches I went too were trying to fence me in. That they wanted to make me talk like them, look like them, walk like them. If you know me, then you know I am like nobody else.
The message delved into the story of Simon, a “stinky, cussing fisherman.” Jesus came to him, not to some nicely dressed banker, and, not only that, but he came speaking Simon’s language. He got down on Simon’s level using fishing terms helping him understand the miracles he could work and how we must bring other into the fold. He didn’t say to Simon, “Go take a bath and then listen to me.” He didn’t say, “Put on your fancy robes and then learn from me.” Jesus came to him and made him a fisher of men.
That’s an important lesson. We have to reach out to people in a way they will understand. Just like in education, we have to teach in a way they will learn so people don’t pull away from knowledge. When we make people feel like outcasts, we banish them from love and support.
I hope that I am inviting and welcoming. I do try. But it feels really good to know there are other people like that out there. Now giddy up cowgirl and be an evangelist for Christ!