Please tell me you have heard of cowboy church! I first learned about this super cool ministry the summer of 2010 (and have been intrigued ever since). Further, when I asked Ms. Weatherby if she would write about it, to my absolute delight she said she would! Thank you so much, Ms. Weatherby!
I first went to cowboy church in 2008. You can imagine my surprise when not one, but THREE people brought their dogs into the church with them. I very nearly fell off my chair.
Now, you must know that I was raised in a very strict traditional church. Every Sunday, everyone wore their very best clothes and fancy, shiny shoes. Children were not allowed to move or make a sound during the service. Bathroom breaks were not allowed during the service and no one dared even to dream of bringing their DOG into the church building!
My husband and children were ecstatic on our first day of cowboy church. Everyone looked, acted, talked, and dressed like my husband, and for once in his church life he did not feel out of place. My children immediately began concocting a plan to bring one or all of our four dogs to church the next Sunday. I, on the other hand, was busy looking for the nearest exit and preparing to stop, drop, and roll because I just knew we were all about to be struck by lightning!
Not only were there three dogs in the church, but no one had on anything that looked like "church clothes" and they certainly did not have on fancy, shiny shoes. In fact, most had on cowboy boots and some of those boots had cow manookie on them.
On my first Sunday at cowboy church I managed to NOT fall off my chair, the three dogs ended up having better manners than some people I have met, and no one was struck by lightning. My children were amazingly still and quiet, intrigued with the rope illustration the preacher used during his sermon.
We have been attending cowboy church for three years now. For the most part, I have not had to pull my children's or my husband's ear to get them to church since and we all feel like we are among family.
Three years later, I have learned many things that make cowboy church great. You see, most cowboys would never set foot in a traditional church. They can be rough and tough kind of guys. Well, cowboy church tries to remove all the things that might be a barrier to that rough and tough guy that would keep him out of church. For example, there is no plush carpet in cowboy churches. Probably just a cement floor. Some of those cowboys might have just come in from the pasture and wouldn't go to a traditional church because their boots are dirty. (Remember the cow manookie I mentioned earlier.) There is so much more that I don't have room to put in this one article, but let me just tell you, it is a very wonderful sight to see a room full of rough, tough guys worshiping God together and being the spiritual leaders of their families.
Cowboy churches are the fastest growing churches in America and guess what! I am now the wife of one really amazing cowboy preacher! I attend cowboy church every Sunday and sometimes I even take my dog.
For more from Ms. Christie Weatherby, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter!