A few years back I applied for the position of pastor at the San Angelo Cowboy Church. This church was my introduction into the world of cowboy churches and needless to say I didn't get the job.
Over the years I have thought back to that interview and wondered why I didn't get it. I mean I have 6 ministry degrees, 20+ years of experience in ministry and I know about the western lifestyle. However during the interview I was asked if I knew how to rope a cow? Of course I told the truth which is NO. In Australia we didn't rope our cattle we drove them to the stock yards and used the cattle crush to hold them while we branded, dehorned, vaccinated etc.
I was a little umm putout, shall we say, about not getting the job especially when I was later told that the main reason I didn't have a west Texas accent. OH well God in His wisdom knew what He was doing.
Later on I came to learn more about Cowboy Church and I liked what I saw. It was how Wendy and I held church for many years in Australia. We had a church in Queensland that was mainly full of Dairy Farmers and it was casual and friendly.
So over the past few years I have rethought about what qualifies me to start a Cowboy Church here in the USA. I mean people ask me all the time "What brought an Australian to America?" and "Why a Cowboy Church, do they even have Cowboys in Australia?"
So I am going to use this blog to answer both questions.
1. For those who don't know Wendy and me, we came to the States after the Twin Towers were attacked. I remember watching it live from my home in the Goomburra Valley near Warwick, Queensland. I had come in from milking and was watching a movie when it was interrupted by the events in New York city. It was about 11pm our time. I stayed up all night and watched in horror as it unfolded. The Lord started to place a burden for the USA on my heart that night and a few days later we received a phone call from a pastor we knew in America asking us to please consider coming over. Well we had a dairy to run, a daughter living with us in her last year of school and I didn't have a passport or visa. So we prayed and God made a way. Karen moved in with her dad in Sydney, we severed our share farm agreement with the owner of the dairy and we got our visas and passports. We then said goodbyes to all our children and in February 2002 we arrived in America.
2. What makes me think I can pastor a church full of cowboys, ranchers and such? I spent most of my life either on a ranch (property as we say) or working within the rural sector. I may not have ever been a rodeo cowboy, BUT I have been a WORKING cowboy.
I understand the problems rural people face. Droughts, fires, floods, government interference, greenies, pests and other problems. I have worked cattle, both beef and dairy, sheep, horses, grown crops and baled hay. I know what it is to see a bumper crop and 1 day before harvest have a freak hail storm (or wind, rain etc.) totally decimate it within a few hours. I know what it is to have a beautiful horse nearly kill itself by running through a barbed wire fence, I know what it is like to work from sunup to sundown just repairing a fence. I grew up on a working Hereford property. Left the family farm and then worked in central New South Wales on a 7,000 acre sheep/cattle ranch. I know what it is to buy cows at $1000.00 a head only to see them drop to $1.00 a head a few months later. I have bought sheep at $0.50 a head. because the wool market had the guts ripped out of it by a crooked useless socialist government. So yea I think I can identify with my congregation very easily. Don't you?.
We start our first service, God willing, on Sunday 2nd December in the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Hillsboro, IL. Join us if you can. 10.30am Please keep us in prayer for the finances to advertise and secure the building. We need about $5000.00. Also our new web page is up and running www.crosstimberscc.org.
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