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Cowboy Church

March 1, 2011

I’ve heard rumors about “cowboy church” for years. One of my professors in college used to spin tales about people dressing up like cowboys and holding church in a barn. To be honest I only half believed him. Finally, I have proof:


Look, if you feel the need to wear a cowboy hat and hold church in a barn to feel like you’re reaching people for Christ then “get ‘er done”. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t the most random form of church I have ever seen or heard of. To be honest I had no idea there even was a cowboy sub culture that needed evangelizing.

I guess this just goes to prove that there is no length no matter how odd that we won’t go to in America to have church our way.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2011 9:40 am

    This post is a bit tough for me, and I guess it is because John Coe is a personal friend of mine and beneath the cowboy is a guy with a heart for reaching people with the life changing message of Christ. He may sound like a country boy without a clue, but this guy has a heart for planting churches that impact the community and it often happens at his own expense. This guy is teaching dozens of couples a week right now about discovering their spiritual gifts. He is empowering his church to do amazing things in the community. I don’t understand how playing western style music and wearing big belt buckles is selling out.

    There truly is a cowboy culture here in TX that is just as real as the soccer mom culture that exists in the community in which I live. If you sit down and talk to John you will realize that he sees himself as a missionary. He has a tremendous understanding of the culture in which he does ministry and tries to meet people where they are.

    I have no idea how you or Wes run your youth ministries, but I would guess that it makes sense in the context of the community your kids live in. If God led you to a church full of cowboys that literally ride around on horses and herd cows on a ranch, I suspect you would need to figure out how to do ministry in that context. Surely it would not look the same as what you are doing now.

    We have to understand that things that seem odd to us are not odd to everyone. Most of the urban churches I have been in have certain elements in terms of style that would not fit in my church in the suburbs. I guess I see the cowboy stuff in the same light. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here so I will shut ‘er down.

    Love you guys and your heart for ministry but will agree to disagree with you on this one. I will throw in a “Love Wins” , Rob Bell, John Piper, Heaven, and Hell to help you with your blog traffic.

    Grace and Peace to you!

    • Wes permalink*
      March 5, 2011 10:35 am


      I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written. I don’t see any way that this guy is changing the Gospel message to his liking- just marketing it to a very specific niche.

      I can’t speak for Zack- but I’d like to think that his post was more focused on the tendency we have to “have church our way” which is clearly illustrated in cowboy churches. I think there’s probably a right and wrong way to do that, and as long as the self-tailoring has more to do with ones own culture than theology, then God bless him. Like I said, I’m not speaking for zack, but I think this post is all about the novelty of a cowboy church for many people.

      Sometimes, being relevant just looks completely different from one context to the next- and we should embrace the diversity among us.

      Thank you for your thoughts

  2. Emily permalink
    March 7, 2011 8:20 pm

    There is a huge cowboy culture in the south! I live in East Texas and although I dont consider myself part of the cowboy culture there is plenty of it to be had down here. I can drive on any of the main highways out of town and run into a cowboy church within 40 miles in any direction. I find it amusing that you are surprised by this. What other kinds of churches are in your area that you consider commonplace that others might find odd?

  3. Shannon permalink
    March 8, 2011 12:48 pm

    One of my first assignments as a cub reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise in east Texas was writing about a cowboy church out there. What’s funny looking back is that it didn’t seem weird to me at all then. Well, I guess that makes sense. Now I live in South Africa and I don’t think Xhosa services are strange either. To each his own culture.

    Wow, I hadn’t thought about that in years, thanks for the memories.



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