Cowboy church ropes hearts with rodeo, worship
ARCHDALE, N.C. (BP) -- Triad Cowboy Church attracts people from its community and beyond by hosting a professional rodeo each year.
"It's just a good, clean, multi-hour event that a family can go to," said pastor Doug Davis of Triad Cowboy Church (TCC) in Archdale, N.C. "We provide everything. Rodeo is something people are attracted to."
This year's rodeo attracted more than 3,000 people and resulted in 121 professions of faith and 249 rededications. During the worship service, Davis shared an evangelistic message and invited commitments. Some filled out cards, which were then placed in buckets, but others came forward in the arena to pray and make public decisions. Those who made commitments were given a cowboy-themed New Testament Bible and a booklet called "Living in Christ."
This was the first time the church offered a public altar call during the worship service and held a public baptism. Five members agreed to be baptized by Davis and Jim King, TCC's associate pastor, in a water trough on a trailer towed by a truck into the arena.
David said the stands filled up for the baptisms. "For the first time it was like a holy hush fell over the entire arena," Davis said. "People were not talking; people were totally engrossed in the baptism. It was absolutely unbelievable."
Decisions will be sorted and shared with pastors in Randolph Baptist Association or the appropriate Baptist associations elsewhere for follow-up.
Rodeo events included team roping, mutton busting, greased pig chases, barrel racing and bull riding. Outside the arena, volunteers set up slides and bounce houses and had a train to ride. The only cost was for food, which the group tries to keep affordable.
Davis said the rodeo takes all year to plan and costs more than $10,000. Purse prizes are given to winners of the professional events. The church also held a drawing for an iPad.
Former world champion bull rider Jerome Davis and his wife Tiffany (no relation to pastor Doug Davis) host the event on their property where they raise livestock for rodeos. Jerome Davis was paralyzed in a 1998 bull riding accident.
The Davises and most of TCC's members volunteer to help with the event. The church's flag team performed and a member sang the national anthem.
"Just about the entire church is involved," Doug Davis said. "This is a major deal." It takes a lot of hands on deck to pull this off."
The rodeo has grown over the last five years from 1,000 people at an indoor arena to more than 3,000.
The event began at a time when the economy was struggling, Davis said. Typical rodeo events cost $25 per person for adults and about $10 for children, but he said TCC wanted to offset those costs as much as possible. They recruit sponsors, who are recognized for their contributions. The larger sponsors are allowed to set up displays, but they can't sell anything.
In seeking to optimize the outreach each year, Davis said, "We blanket our community" for support.