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cowboy evangelism

by Jeff Cates


Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions at



What makes a church unique? Is it the style of music or worship, or is it the type of outreach? Is it the building style or location? In reality, it is the people that make a church unique. The people are the church.

Canyon Country FWB Church is no more unique than any other church. It is simply a church made up of people from the Panhandle of Texas. The Texas Panhandle is the beef capital of America and home to the American Quarter Horse Association. Some of the largest ranches in Texas are located here as well. It is impossible to live here and not be influenced in some part by the western ranch culture. The goal of church planting is to build a healthy, growing, and active church that is indigenous to its culture. Therefore, the cultural influence of the area will be obvious.

Our church reflects the Texas Panhandle culture. Many members of our congregation wear hats and boots and ride horses. We present the gospel in a relevant way through western activities. Roping, riding, cookouts, and outdoor activities are part of everyday life, so tapping into them is only natural. Christ taught the kingdom of Heaven to an agricultural society by telling them about a sower who went out to sow.


Canyon Country Church

Simplicity is the key. What we do, we do in a very simple way. The gospel is a simple message and should be delivered in a simple manner no matter where you live. Many of the people we are reaching have no church background and few preconceived ideas. They are seeking the simple truth about God and how He is relative to their lives.

At Canyon Country FWB Church, we strive to remove the fears and doubt about church and show people that God is relevant and church is something of value. It is one of the greatest blessings you can experience when you see the light of understanding come on and lives changed forever.

I hope that is what all churches strive to do. We may be called a cowboy church, but that just means we are planting a church that reflects the culture of the area. As Paul put it, “I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). That is a good thing, pardner!
May God bless the trails you ride. n

About the Writer: Jeff Cates is a missionary to the Panhandle of Texas. Learn more about the ministry of Canyon Country FWB Church at


©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists