'Cowboy Church' Lassos New Followers

Baptists see success with services that feature rodeo riding
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 3:49 PM CST
Cowboys listen to a sermon at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, Dec. 7, 2008, in Waxahachie, Texas.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Rodeo competitions and baptisms in horse troughs are on offer at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, Texas, part of a movement that uses an unconventional approach to draw worshippers to the flock, the AP reports. Cowboy churches have existed for 40 years but have grown in popularity in the past decade as Baptist organizations have embraced them, opening dozens in 12 states.

“We use an out-of-the-box method to get people to come, because people have so many walls up with church,” said a leader of services at a Wyoming cowboy church. Baptist leaders credit the low-impact approach of cowboy church for its success: Pastors skip long sermons and don’t push for donations or pass collection plates.