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Texomaland Cowboy Churches

by
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Have you attended a Cowboy Church? Ranchers and farmers take care of chores and livestock at sunup, so their church services usually begin at 10:00 a.m. Also, wearing your Sunday best is not the only option. Cowboy Church began as a ministry to the rodeo circuit. It is my personal experience through meeting cowboys, rodeo cowboys, cowboy poets, and cowboy musicians that service to God always filled many of their hearts.


Reverend Glenn Smith


The American West credits Glenn Smith (1935-2010), Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rodeo cowboy, rodeo clown, and founder and president of International Western World Outreach Center, Inc., a.k.a. Rodeo Cowboy Ministries, with the cowboy ministry movement. He spearheaded cowboy camp ministries throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Australia after turning his life over to God as an ordained minister at age thirty-seven. He pioneered Vaqueros En Cristo in Mexico and Rodeo Cowboy Ministries in Australia. Rodeo Cowboy Ministries headquarters in Midland, Texas, where Glenn is buried.


Glenn’s first sermon took place at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) with the PRCA Director’s approval in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Glenn and his wife, Ann, published the “The Conqueror” newsletter/magazine for twenty-seven years. His book, “Cowboy, Apostle Style: The Emergence of Cowboy Ministry” receives wide acclaim.


More than forty years later, this quote from Glenn’s book says it all:


"In the years I was competing, it was understood that if you didn't drink, cuss, chase women, and fight, you were not accepted. I figured this was still the attitude, in general, and in 1973 I was right. It has changed drastically since then."


Since the 1970s, Cowboy Churches have sprung up on three continents because of Reverend Glenn Smith, and as Willie Nelson sang in My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, cowboys are special. But, you will not stroll into a Cowboy Church and see exclusively cowboys.


Cowboy Churches welcome everyone. Some are affiliated with denominational church organizations, and others go their own way. I found several active Cowboy Churches in Texomland. I interviewed an elder from Circle J Cowboy Church and a pastor from Red River Valley Cowboy Church.


Interview with Pastor George Toma


Four Cowboy Churches on the Oklahoma side of Texoma hold an affiliation with the Oklahoma Fellowship of Cowboy Churches (OFCC). I spoke with Pastor George Toma, the coordinator of OFCC and pastor of Red River Valley Cowboy Church in Albany, Oklahoma.


• Cross-n-Spurs Cowboy Church,      Madill,           Love County
• Open Range Cowboy Church,         Madill,           Love County
• Cross-n-Spurs Cowboy Church,      Ardmore,       Carter County
• Red River Valley Cowboy Church,   Albany,          Bryan County


In Oklahoma in 2008*, the Baptist General Convention conducted research on church attendance and found that 84% of Oklahomans do not attend any church on a regular basis, but 75% to 80% of Oklahomans are connected in some way to the agricultural and Western Heritage lifestyle.


The Oklahoma Fellowship of Cowboy Churches


The OFCC strives to connect the 84% working roots of Oklahoma with God through Cowboy Churches. There are many reasons why people do not go to church; for instance, childhood barriers, hypocrisy, other ways to connect with God or practice their faith, or no time to attend. Other reasons people do not attend is because of poor health or disability, or there are no churches in their area.


The Oklahoma Fellowship of Cowboy Churches is an organization that is designed to develop, educate, and support new Cowboy Church starts. The OFCC is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and Southern Baptists. Their doctrines are not dictated to and do not affect OFCC member churches because OFCC’s only doctrine is that of Jesus Christ.


Pastor Toma called it breaking down barriers and opening doors when I asked how OFCC Cowboy Churches operate. While each OFCC member church is its own authority, the OFCC conducts training classes for the development of new churches. It advises member churches to lower dress codes, not to ask for money, and keep an attitude of “Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, and Fun”. Many of its church pastors are not seminary-educated. OFCC pastors try to connect with simple life stories using scriptures to relate the story back to the Bible.


How Do You Find a Cowboy Church Pastor?


New seminary graduates rarely walk out of college with a degree and an ambition to preach in a rural setting with small congregations. Because it is so difficult to find Cowboy Church pastors, the OFCC will develop new churches without pastors because Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Mat.18:20, NIV)


Pastor Toma described that a Cowboy Church pastor is out there on the frontline, and many times people do not know what they need from a church. About the ministries offered, he said:


“Some of our best Cowboy Church ministers learned through the hard knocks of life, and they use Bible stories that relate to theirs and other’s lives. We offer everything we can think of—If you can think of it and it’s western, we do it; if it works, events are the front door to the ministry. There are too many diversified ways that the devil can divert our attention in so many other areas of life. The devil doesn’t come at you with horns and a pitchfork.”


How Cowboy Churches Grow and Thrive Under OFCC


"The Oklahoma Fellowship of Cowboy Churches will lead, guide,
and direct individuals so that they may go on and plant more
cowboy churches to glorify God and to grow His Kingdom."


With that mission statement said, Pastor Toma related to me that many aspects affect a Cowboy Church’s success. In his experience, the growth of a new church reflects the bell curve. The downside of the curve often represents a period where stagnation can set in. Vitalization is the key. The number of people supporting the church is not relevant to its success. If a church sprouts someone who wants to leave and begin a new ministry, the church should not rope them in. Let people leave and grow more disciples. The church is under God, and people cannot out-give God.


OFCC website and member church information: http://www.ofccranch.com/


The Red River Valley Cowboy Church in Albany, Oklahoma


Pastor George Toma earned a degree in animal science and trains horses for a living. He did not attend seminary college. He had no intention of pastoring to a church of any kind. God knows he feels most comfortable on a horse. So, that is how he preaches. He chooses a different horse every Sunday and preaches from his comfort zone, sitting in his saddle, in the church arena. After every church meeting or event, this church shares a meal together.


This church’s members heartily dedicate themselves to events that include anything on a horse. Their events keep the members busy.


Events:


• Ranch cuttings
• Team roping and practice with a mechanical steer named Hottie
• Archery
• Trail Rides
• Cowboy Action Shooting: This is a new event for the church.


The Single action shooting Society (SASS) is an international organization created to preserve and promote the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting™. Red River Valley Cowboy Church is hosting three of their events this year


• Shooting for the Brand:
      July 13, 2019
• SASS Oklahoma State Championship Southwest Showdown:
      September 12-14, 2019
•Oregon Old West Shootout at Saddle Butte:
      September 20-23, 2019
• Anything we can do to break down barriers and open doors


Red River Valley Cowboy Church


19531 SR 70E
Albany, Oklahoma


The best way to find contact information is on their Facebook page:


https://www.facebook.com/Red-River-Valley-Cowboy-Church-297237530308733/


Circle J Cowboy Church in Collinsville, Texas


Right now, Circle J Cowboy Church does not have a regular preacher. The church invites guest preachers, speakers, and musical talent. Three elders, Travis Acorn, Chad Mayo, and Marc Madison oversee church operations. Circle J Cowboy Church is nondenominational and not affiliated with any other church organizations. Marc and I spoke on the phone for over an hour, and I love this church’s culture.


Polly Acorn is their arena team manager, and summer monthly arena events feature, among other events, kid’s barrel racing with awards. Arena events begin with a devotional and anyone is invited. Attending Circle J’s events is a great way to meet the church. Anyone who is interested in using the arena can contact Polly Acorn via the church Facebook page.


Church services begin at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays. Parishioners and visitors can leave their babies in the nursery. Children’s church includes one group up to age nine and another from age ten and up. Music services include Country & Western, traditional, and children’s songs. Women’s Bible Study meets on Wednesday evenings, and the men meet on Thursday evenings. A local home school group also meets in the children’s classrooms during the week.


Around 100 people attend Circle J Cowboy Church at this time. The best way to contact anyone at the church is through their Facebook page which includes about 2000 followers:


https://www.facebook.com/CircleJCowboyChurch/


Dress the way you want to and arrive early on Sundays for coffee and fellowship. You may see horses and Harleys in the parking lot. On the first Sunday of the month, the congregation shares a potluck lunch after the service.


Circle J Cowboy Church, Grayson County


888 Henry Snow Rd
Collinsville, Texas


Active Churches on the Texas side of Texomaland**


• Cooke County Cowboy Church, Whitesboro. Grayson County


   https://www.cookecountycowboychurch.com/


• Lone Star Cowboy Church, Whitesboro. Grayson County


   http://www.lsccgrayson.com/


• King’s Trail Cowboy Church, Whitewright, Fannin/Grayson County


   http://kingstrailcowboychurch.com/


• Point of Light Bible Church, Tom Bean, Grayson County


   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Point-of-Light-Bible-Church/1918111008466722


• Bois D’arc Creek Cowboy Church, Bonham, Fannin County


  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bois-D-ARC-Creek-Cowboy-Church/111593748903225


* The year of this poll may not be exact.


** If I did not include a Cowboy Church you know of in Texomaland, please let me know in the comment boxes below.


Pictures


1 & 2. Wishful Thinking Cowboy (Cowboy in the River) Estes Park, Colorado


3. Aerial View of Red River Valley Cowboy Church


4. Aerial View of Circle J Cowboy Church


5 + Interesting Cowboy Pics




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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 13)

Water stained to muddy; 45–49 degrees; 1.24’ low. Black bass are fair on umbrella rigs, shakeyhead worms and spinnerbaits. Crappie are good on minnows. Striped bass are good on slabs. Catfish are good on trotlines.