Kendall County Cowboy Church – Boerne, TX

photo-12

by Marcia Horn Noyes

I think the website tagline says it all: Where Cowboys can be Christians and Christians can be Cowboys.  I’ve been excited about visiting one of these churches all week. Before my friend Neal Barton, the news director for KETK-TV in Tyler, TX, mentioned that I should check out a Cowboy Church, I would have laughed at the concept. When he explained that baptisms take place in a horse trough, my next question was whether hay bales were used instead of pews. He assured me, they had chairs. DARN!

After checking out the website for the Cowboy Church in Boerne, I began talking to others around Austin and San Antonio about my eagerness to visit one of these churches. Oddly enough, everyone I spoke to had heard of this type of church and had also wanted to attend a service — curious about what it’s like. Today, I’m happy to be their eyes and ears.

Looking back on my own farming community childhood, I often thought it odd to see men who only wore jeans, cowboy boots, hats or overalls during the week to be dressed up in their best clothes on Sunday. Honestly, these men just looked so uncomfortable. So it’s no wonder that a church that encourages worship in cowboy boots, jeans and Stetsons would have taken off like an American Quarter Horse coming out of the chute in a calf roping competition.

Sunday #3

Kendall County Cowboy Church – Kendall County Fair Grounds, 1307 River Road, Boerne

Why This Church?

Simple: This worship concept is down right intriguing.

Preconceived Notions about Cowboy Churches

I have none, but I do have many questions, such as:

1. Do they sing hymns and if so, are they Western hymns?

2. What could the offering plate be — a Western hat or a cowboy boot?

3. Do they utilize an auctioneer to bid up the donations?

4. Upon leaving the building, are people calf roped from the pulpit if they haven’t been saved?

5. Do they take their hats off when they pray? (You know I’ll have my eyes open checking this question out.)

Arrival

Yep, you guessed – late again. I kind of got lost, but as I drove into the gravel lot, I saw that trucks comprised about 90 percent of the parking area. And unfortunately, no hitching post for first-time guests, but I quickly found a spot for my Smart Car – beside a truck.

The pastor stood outside the doorway and greeted me as I walked over from my car. “Howdy, how are you today?” he asked. My response, “Late.” He proceeded to say it didn’t matter because they typically start a few minutes late and that I was right on time. He quickly introduced me to two other gentlemen with warm, strong handshakes. Then other women introduced themselves and said to pull up a chair from the back of the room since they’d run out of pew space, which they typically did each Sunday.

As expected, this was one friendly crowd, and I quickly noted the jeans, cowboy hats and caps that populated the Kendall County Fair Ground building in which services were held.

Service Begins

A band played as everything began — complete with a young girl, an older woman on keyboard, a few men and even the pastor standing behind the group singing, I wondered if they would break out into Western hymns. I learned later that some Cowboy Churches do have the talent to pull that off and it really adds to the services. The pastor’s daughter led the hymns and you could tell she had a great voice. The crowd sat while some hymns were sung, and when I caught a glimpse of several men sitting with one leg across the other with their cowboy hats perched atop their knee, I broke out into a wide smile followed by a swirl of memories of days gone by.

During the announcements, I learned that the congregation is trying to raise enough money to have a building of their own. With one eye open, I took a quick survey of the group when the pastor took off his cowboy hat to pray; all the other men followed suit.

Like the first church I visited, the offering came early, right after the announcements. The church seemed apologetic for having to do a financial offering, but the speaker had some wonderful thoughts around that and told the crowd that if any of them were having financial difficulty they should contact the church for help. And I know you are all wondering just what was passed for that offering.  Well, it was a tin bucket. Very fitting for a Western church.

The children’s sermon followed with the children coming forward to the front of the room, one with a small dog in tow. Pastor Steve gave a children’s message about loving everyone, even when you don’t like them. At one point he says that he often tells his daughter, “I don’t like you very much today, but I sure do LOVE you.” Then you hear his daughter pipe up, “Feeling is mutual, Dad.”

After a bit more singing of hymns that I’d not heard before, Pastor Steve Gross gave a sermon with his cowboy hat on. He spoke about being an authentic Christian and living the life of Christ. He said a couple of things that stuck with me. He said that you can always quickly find out who your real friends are by doing one thing — move. Whoever shows up to help you move are your true friends. I thought of our friend Stewart MacCallum who has always been there whenever Mike and I needed to move. Stewart and his truck were always there. When Mike died, he was there every step of the way – from numerous calls, flying over to Georgia for the first memorial, speaking at the Colorado memorial and then checking in on my kids. That’s a deep abiding friendship and the pastor wanted the congregation to know that God wants us to have that same type of commitment to him.

I also loved the story the pastor shared about former Spurs player David Robinson who mentored Tim Duncan. Even as a star player, Robinson gave of himself to mentor and help Tim Duncan quickly become the player he is today. Later today, I heard a story that’s often been repeated around San Antonio that I’d not heard before. Robinson gave up part of his salary so the team could bring Tim Duncan to the San Antonio team. WOW.

Finally, the pastor concluded the sermon and then gave the invitation while we all sang the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” That one I knew!

photo-16

Post Service Commentary

This church lived up to all my expectations. By far, it was one of the friendliest churches I’ve visited. The relaxed atmosphere helped me feel welcomed and I’m guessing that this church will continue to grow quickly. The only thing that would have made it feel more Western would have been bales of hay for pews. I’d not heard of Cowboy Churches before embarking on this journey; this is one that I’m really glad I visited and would love to learn more about the origination of this Christian Fellowship.

What’s Next? 

Haven’t had time to pick a church for next week. I have had offers to get more information about the three types of Jewish synagogues and to check out an Episcopalian church. Probably the two closest to me are Lutheran and Presbyterian, so I’ll just have to see what pops up during the week. Stay tuned.

Advertisements

22 comments on “Kendall County Cowboy Church – Boerne, TX

  1. Paul Skinner says:

    So I gather the Cowboy Church is not affiliated with a denomination?

  2. Michael says:

    Just a quick note: it is the Kendall County Fairgrounds. Nice article!

  3. Dr Jerry Billquist says:

    Pastor Steve tells folks our church is non denominational and that what appeals to many of us. Glad you enjoyed your Sunday with us at Kendall County Cowboy Church. DR B

  4. Jacqui says:

    Marcia, I would like to invite you to my church, which I’ve been attending for roughly 8 months. I’ve never experienced such love, friendlyness, growth and spiritual maturity in a body of Christian believers until this church. http://www.full-lifefellowship.org/ There is “NO” doubt in my heart that our Pastor (Tony Nowak) may come in on Sundays with a prepared sermon, but inevitably, Pastor allows the Holy Spirit to fill him and the message that we receive is from the HS. Whether inspired or lead, I am not just evangelized for an hour, but inspired & directed to seek a path to spiritual maturity. I am inspired to live the word daily. I also, attend the Bible Study, prior to Service, and receive knowledge from the Bible that gives me the desire to study the Bible further. We also have bonded and grow in our Godly love for each other. I am finally being feed! Thank the Lord.
    Full Life Fellowship would love to have you visit and see for yourself, what our body of believers are all about. God Bless you and keep you safe as you travel down the road of Spiritual Growth.
    Your sister in Christ – JP

    • mhn125 says:

      Jacqui, Thank you very much for the invite. I certainly will check it out at some point in the future. I have a list of churches that different people have recommended and will definitely add this one to that list.

  5. […] of singing came next, all run through an iPhone. My how things have changed! Like Kendall County Cowboy Church in Boerne, the pastor sang on stage, along with his daughter and many of the six kids of the […]

  6. Penni Cox says:

    We’d love to have ya visit Western Heritage Cowboy Church in Pipe Creek, Tx.

  7. Jeff Smith says:

    It’s true that some of the cowboy churches are non-denominational, but the cowboy churches that are associated with the Cowboy Church Network of North America are all Southern Baptist. Check them out at http://www.cowboycn.org .

    • mhn125 says:

      Yes, that’s what I’ve been learning, Jeff. Thank you for your messages and clearing that up for me and the readers of SteepleStretch blog.

  8. Marcia, I am the secretary at the Open Range Cowboy Church in Whitney, TX. The church began when a small group of people wanted to have a place people would be comfortable coming to. We now have a congregation that runs around 700 a week and we are still growing. We have 2 services – 8am and 10am. We have our own band who starts off our services. There is a children’s team, a youth team, a men’s ministry, a ladies ministry, an arena team, home groups in lieu of church bible studies, a prayer chain team, and many others. We have a covered arena, and have a rodeo every year in May. If you are ever in our area, central Texas, then please do come and check us out. Blessings, Donna

    • mhn125 says:

      Donna, it sounds like ya’ll have quite the growing congregation there! Would live to stop by if I’m ever in the area. Now I’m off to locate Whitney, TX on a map. It never ceases to amaze me how many small towns are in Texas with which I’m not familiar. I think I hear of one every day.

  9. Sheree Moore says:

    Thank You for Sharing this with Wood County Cowboy Church via email! I absolutely love this Blog you wrote about Cowboy Church!! I plan to share this and spread the word of your story. Let me tell you a little about WCCC (Wood County Cowboy Church)….
    When my family first visited this Cowboy Church, I was just in amazement, of how many years of “church” I had attended, and yet I felt like I learned more in one service than the many years of going to regular church (Baptist). I am not saying by no means that there is anything wrong with a specific “religion” (because as long as we all believe that Jesus came and lived a perfect life, and payed the price for each and every one of us by being crucified on the CROSS, and rose again…all for us to be forgiven and pay a debt that we could never pay. Then we are all saved, if we truly believe this, no matter what the “religion”)
    WCCC really just made me look at my relationship with God, and realize I needed to work on my relationship with God, other than concentrating on “religion” so much. Our Cowboy Church has this motto: “A Church where its OK, to NOT be OK”! (after all, Jesus himself spent more time seeking the lost) So many people (this use to include myself) are not comfortable going to church, simple due to feeling like they don’t have anything to wear to “fit in”. Cowboy Church began for this very reason! How can we create a place where people feel WELCOME, and not JUDGED? What can we do differently than regular church, to make people WANT to come, and NOT make excuses? What can we take away, or add to Cowboy Church to get people to come as they are? All these questions are exactly the point of Cowboy Church. My family feels at HOME at WCCC, and now my husband serves as the Music Team Leader, and I serve as Tech and Media Team Leader, and we are very involved. Simply because we found a “church” that simply preaches the gospel, and has simply no “rules” to go by, other than what The Lord has told us to do through his word, which is The Bible!! Somehow, someway people (including myself) has gotten misled by church,because it has become all about who is right/ who is wrong/ finger pointing/ who gives the most money/ what you wear/ etc. So I just want to say that Cowboy Church has changed my whole families life!! Now, keep in mind…There is absolutely nothing wrong with regular church, a lot of people fit in, and are really great christian folks! I am just simply saying that for years, church has been for the “church” or “religious” as to where Cowboy Church is for the “unchurched” — Meaning, if you don’t feel welcome, or its easy to come up with an excuse not to go to church, or its uncomfortable… Then we just don’t go! (I got to that point) Therefore we would be considered the “unchurched”. So now there is a place called Cowboy Church….where it’s OK to NOT be OK! Come as you are. And you will see…. You won’t “stay as you are” you will change, because you want to, because when you really get deep into God’s word, and actually understand it….. You WANT to Live for him!
    It’s a different perspective, Instead of looking at it like…. CHURCH-this is what you CAN NOT DO! you begin to see it as CHURCH-what can I do to live my life to be more like Jesus everyday.
    It’s not about rules and law, because Jesus took away the law on the CROSS….All we have to do is live by his Spirit in us and allow him to guide us.
    FYI, at our church (WCCC) we don’t pass the offering plate, we have buckets in the back of the church, if people feel led to tithe, then they write a check and throw it in the bucket 🙂 We don’t ask for it. There are several things we do differently than most traditional churches, and it’s just ideas to make it the most comfortable environment possible to introduce more people to Christ!
    Our most popular motto at WCCC is:
    “We are a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”

    Thanks for sharing your story! We would love to have you visit our church if you are ever in the area! Let me know if you would like anymore info on us! Our Facebook page link is:

    https://www.facebook.com/WOODCOUNTYCOWBOYCHURCH

    Have a Blessed Day!!

    • mhn125 says:

      Sheree,

      Thank you for sharing your insights with readers about Cowboy Churches. It’s interesting to read your perspectives about what you’ve found in this particular church.

      Would love to visit your church someday. If I’m ever that way, I’ll certainly drop by.

      Marcia

  10. […] over, hugged me then said she was glad I had come to worship with them. Similar to the pastors from Kendall County Cowboy Church and Church Under the Bridge, pastor Nathan Scoggins came over and introduced himself to me […]

  11. […] prepare for the offering. I must say, I never thought I’d see an offering container like that. Cowboy Churches have their hats, buckets and boots; evangelists have their deep white pails, but like the First […]

  12. […] 3. Kendall County Cowboy Church – Boerne, TX (Cowboy Church) — This church will always have a special place in my heart because I never knew the concept existed before I began this journey and I found the idea completely fascinating. Donning my jeans and cowboy boots, I slipped into my chair and suddenly felt at home, wondering how my little home town of Nome would have embraced this concept if a Cowboy Church has blossomed in that community. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s