[img_assist|nid=137083|title=Cowboy Church Sign (from side of car)|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=226]
A radio spot about a new church for cowboys got my attention recently. Finding them on the internet, I saddled up and rode on in last Sunday. Meeting at Wayland Baptist University, The Cowboy Church of Anchorage is having “preview services” once a month until Easter, and then weekly. Warmly greeted several times before finding my seat, I enjoyed music by the six-person band. The preaching was a bedrock Baptist three-point sermon with PowerPoint slides. Pastor Briney will learn cowboys don’t favor slides and slick. Just talking to them from the good book will do. This church will prosper if they carefully focus on their target audience.
It’s a New Concept for Alaska
There are some cowboy churches in the Lower 48. Owning some ranch property in Washington State, I’m also aware of cowboy churches holding services around local rodeo times. There’s a pretty good sized cowboy and equestrian community up here in the Greatland. It’s a bold endeavor for a church to take this demographic on. Alerted by a radio spot on one of the local C&W stations, I immediately wanted to see this new church in action. Meeting in accomodating facilities at Wayland Baptist University, The Cowboy Church of Anchorage certainly put its best foot forward.
[img_assist|nid=137085|title=Pastor Doug Briney|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=200]
The platform was decorated with a distinct western flair, a backdrop for the six person band. They played a mix of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and some country gospel. It was music from the heart, some rough edges, but it will smooth out. The 40-50 attendees were clearly not familiar with most of the music but joined in as they could. The dress of the attendees and the band was informal, mostly jeans and western wear. Pastor Doug Briney wore his hat all the way through the services.
Good Sermon – Presentation Format Questionable
While not an authority on cowboy churches, I did have a great pastor friend who was a real cowboy. His great skill was communicating via the Bible and using a conversational preaching style. Pastor Briney appeared a bit nervous on Sunday, but had great sermon material. He used a PowerPoint slide presentation which I felt was overkill for the crowd he’s targeting. Mainly read, he covered the theme of why we are here, with these points:
-Why am I here?
-Does my life matter?
-What is my purpose?
Briney ended with the standard Baptist alter call, a relatively recent introduction to religious practice in a fraction of Christianity. In my opinion this church could really grow if it’s not too slick, and really tries to communicate with cowboys in a cowboy-preferred manner, i.e. conversational. It’s probable few in attendance were really cowboys but they will come. It was a fun visit and I wish them well. I’ll plan on revisiting them again this year.
[img_assist|nid=137086|title=Cowboy Church Meeting Place (Wayland Baptist University)|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=216]