Cowboy Churches Saddle Up for God

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You likely won't see suits and ties at one church in Texas.

The Cowboy Church of Travis County has a pastor who saddles up and rides a long horn steer and members come dressed in their boots and hats.

"The Cowboy Church is for outsiders," said Pastor Barry Chinn.  "People who love the outside and who might feel like an outsider when they go inside the four walls of a church."

Trish Cummings understands what it feels like to be an outsider. She left an abusive home at the age of 12, but found a new home at the Cowboy Church, and a Father who loves her unconditionally.

"I was a heroine addict.  I was homeless. I've done prison time," Cummings said.  "So you can't judge a book by its cover."

"They are amazing. I've been to so many churches," she continued.  "I walked in here and these people held their arms open."

"I call them churches without walls, both figuratively and literally," said church performer George Ensle.
   
Cowboy churches across Texas may start small, but their dreams are big.  At Chinn's church, they hope to buy about 10 acres of land for rodeo-style events where Bible studies can happen everyday, not just on Sunday.

"Then we also want an arena, where we can have buck-eyed events almost every night of the week," Chinn added.  "Something going on that's centered around Western heritage." 

So the next time you're in Texas, you might just hear God's voice where you least expect it.

"If something's telling you to stop and check it out, you need to listen," Cummings said.  "Because everybody fits in here."

"My dream is to preach a sermon - what I call the Sermon on the Mount - from the back of a horse or a Texas longhorn," Chinn said.

*Originally published September 3, 2009

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