Friday, October 22, 2010
Part I: "Christian Cowboys Outreach Fellowship"
My friend Jeff Moreland put together a gathering in Klein, Texas Friday that became a golden moment for me and others who participated. Thank You Jeff!
It was a hand-picked pow-wow of cowboy songwriters, entertainers and cowboy church pastors, all seeking to network and better use their abilities to serve the Lord's Kingdom. You will be reading much more about it in the days to come.
Kyle Hutton, Brian Kalinec, George Ensle, Pat Gavin, Kevin Robinson and Michael Martin Murphy were some of the entertainers that attended. It seemed strange to see them all together without a single guitar in the bunch. But, as was soon evident, they had a lot on their minds and singing was not on the agenda.
Jeff explained that we were there to "collide" our various ideas and perspectives... and hopefully forge something in the process. And we did, as instant friendships began all around the room. I'm not sure I've ever experienced such a group, where there was so much wisdom and talent in one place.
And not to my surprise, there were around a half-dozen Lefties there, almost three times the population's average. Right-brained folk are as thick as fleas in creative circles. It's going to be fun to see what emerges...
Charles Lynn, Michael Murphy's production and tour manager, always has astute insights. Lynn admitted that the juxtaposition of the entertainment world with the ministry world was almost perplexing. And that perceptions about what is "mainstream" are usually wrong. "Mainstream is never really mainstream." Cowboy churches are probably more mainstream than we think. But he offered that cowboys are notoriously rough and rebellious and difficult to handle, and thus a real challenge. He also asserted that hunger pains are what guide people, so as we offer what they are hungry for, they will find us.
It occured to me as he said that, how similar cowboys are to those rough and tough fishermen that Jesus chose. When the Savior of the world came to change Man's relationship to God, he did not go to the synagogue to pick his disciples. He went to the beach, and began to banter with a bunch of rednecks. In his estimation, it was these uneducated, hard working men of the open sea that had the right stuff. These were the likes of who would change the world for Christ.
Greg Hunt of Magnolia Cowboy Church later proclaimed that it would be Cowboy Churches that would lead the way to a spiritual revival in our Country, if it were ever to happen. Hunt sees the hope of our Country in these churches. As he stood there resolute, with his cowboy confidence, I saw the likes of Peter preaching to the thousands at Pentecost. With that purposeful, expectant comment, he may have impacted my estimation of the Cowboy Church forever.
I certainly would have no problem with something called "Fisherman Church," as the significance would be obvious. Perhaps I put too much importance on names and titles. If Jesus came around today, as Michael Martin Murphy has said, he would probably gravitate to "cowboys," working men of the outdoors, the way he did fishermen then.
Fishermen, cowboys, sodbusters, whatever, we need to be ready to feed the sheep. Their stomachs are growling!
Note: This is Part 1 of a popular series on the Cowboy Church movement, to see them all go back to the main page and use the search button at the top right... search CHRISTIAN COWBOYS.