How about a church in a barn? This is exactly where one North Carolina pastor plans to hold church services. Jerry Beck, pastor of Sandy Grove Baptist Church in Bladenboro, NC will launch the Higher Plain Cowboy Church on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 7:00pm. Cowboys and country folks will meet in the old H. White Stables, 15427 NC Hwy 131 S, Bladenboro.
This old land mark is the barn that Mr. White used to sell and trade Horses, mules and donkeys years ago. Many adults will remember going there as a child with their father. Pastor Beck and other church organizers have been preparing the building for the grand opening since January.
The cowboy church will be the only church of this type in the area. The specific target group will be cowboys and those with a cowboy mind set. Cowboy hats, boots and jeans are welcome. When you attend the cowboy church you will be welcomed by greeters on horseback. After the service there will be free pony rides for the children.
Pastor Beck said, “Our desire is to reach people who are not comfortable in the traditional church. We are not interested in their clothes but rather their heart. We want them to feel free to come as they are.”
Jeff Smith, Executive Director of the Cowboy Church Network of North America said, “Jerry Beck is both an experienced pastor and an enthusiastic horseman. His ability to relate with cowboys and country folks is one of his many resources that will assure him good success. He has what it takes to build a strong, healthy multiplying cowboy church for Jesus.”
Critics of the cowboy church movement point out that meeting in a barn on a week night gives cowboys an excuse to lay out of church on Sundays. Smith responds, “Cowboys don’t need an excuse. They are not impressed by our fancy sanctuaries and expensive clothes. They work all week anticipating the weekend when they will load the horses and hit the trail. They are not likely to trade their saddle for a pew. Therefore, we schedule the main worship service on a week night for their convenience.”
Smith continues, “Jesus went to the people where they were. When He met the woman at the well He talked about water. When he met the fishermen by the seashore He talked about fishing. He focused on the interest of their heart and offered them eternity! In much the same way the cowboy churches are focusing on the interest of cowboys and offering them Jesus. The good news is many are accepting Him!”
When asked about the name Higher Plain Cowboy Church, Pastor Beck explained, “We want to see cowboys move to a higher plain in their lives. The only way to do this is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Beck has been in the ministry for 34 years. He owns 3 horses and rides for pleasure. He is a member of Cowboys for Christ (past President) now Vice President. He has led cowboy worship services and helped put on events. He has also led worship at rodeos. Through the years he has been able to minister to all kinds of people. He has served as chaplain in the Sheriffs Department and Bladenboro Police Department. He was also a member of His Laboring Few Motorcycle Ministry. All this has allowed him to minister to a large group of people from all backgrounds.
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