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I don't know if I know anyone on this board or not, but I thought I would give it a try to get away from the toxicity of Facebook. I'll tell a little about myself. I was raised as an IFB from the age of nine until I was well into my 30s. My wife and I left the IFB movement after moving here to the Middle Tennessee area. We became members of a local SBC church soon after leaving our last IFB church. I am a lay-preacher, though I haven't preached in over 15 years because of a church split. This was in a small, country SBC church where I was one of the preachers who filled in while the pastor and/or assistant were doing other thing. After several years of searching for where the Lord wanted us, we were pointed to a small SBC church about seven miles from our home. We have been there since 2016 as members. We also have become involved to some degree with the AFCC (American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches) out of Waxahachie, TX. I attend the Tuesday night men's Bible study there. We have visited the Cowboy Church in the area, and found that I had worked with the Pastor's father until I became disabled in early 2000. Though many believe them to be a "theme church," I have found them to be quite theologically sound and working to spread the Word of God and disciple people. I'm a Christian first, then a Baptist. Blessings.

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Welcome brother Tony! Curious, I have recently been informed about these cowboy churches. Can you lay a little more into what they are?

also it is very interesting you left the ifb for the sbc as that seems to be different from the current norm. May you also extrapolate upon this transition for you and your family? 
 

 

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19 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Welcome brother Tony! Curious, I have recently been informed about these cowboy churches. Can you lay a little more into what they are?

also it is very interesting you left the ifb for the sbc as that seems to be different from the current norm. May you also extrapolate upon this transition for you and your family? 
 

 

Sure, I can do that! 🙂 Let's just say, that from the early years when I was brought to an IFB church in Pekin, IL and saw all the things that were going on that were not only immoral, but were financially irresponsible and ungodly, I started questioning the "authority" that was over me, ie, my pastor. He was NOT very fond of me. He couldn't back up his opinions with Scripture unless he twisted it to meet his needs. Things were pushed under the rug that were brought to his attention, and, so, from my early experiences, I was not impressed with the IFB, though I stayed with them through college, and even through many years of married life. The final straw was when a pastor my wife and I had in Murfreesboro, TN, stood in defense of an alleged child-molester in the Knoxville, TN area. A famous IFB pastor in a Northern town was helping him to gain an attorney (that pastor was also involved in immoral activity...left unchecked), and that was it! When our pastor started defending this man in the church service saying that the "adversary" was trying to destroy a "good man," I leaned over, told my wife to get her Bible and purse, we were leaving. We did, right in the middle of the service. It shocked many, but when they found out for themselves what was actually going on, there was a mini-church split. Then later, when that pastor resigned without notice, there was a regular church split. My wife and I had visited and joined Northside Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, which was a large, SBC church. The first service we attended there was on a Sunday evening. We heard a sermon on things coming into our lives, forcing us to face realities, and then the Lord leading us to make decisions. It was right up our alley. Both my wife and I sat there and wept. I'm not a man that weeps easily. It took nearly 15 months before I even shed a tear over my sister's death in 2019 from breast cancer. I'm not a hard man, but, I guess you could say that I "guard my heart." We joined there the next Sunday. Believe me, there is far more to this story than I can or will share here. Let's just say that the Lord led us "out of bondage" and into something far better. 

Now, as far as the Cowboy Church goes...I always believe it to be nothing more than a theme church, especially when they started back in the 70s. But, they aren't, at least most of them. They accept everyone, but try to reach a demographic that has remained largely untouched, that demographic being the rodeo circuit, cowboys, cattle ranchers, etc., people that most won't try to reach with the Gospel because they are so "rough around the edges." I used to work on a dairy farm in Wisconsin when I was at Maranatha, and I also worked on farms in Illinois every summer in the corn fields, detassling and derouging corn, beans, etc. I also worked doing several other things on farms. I was always trying to work back then. I became involved with the Cowboy church through a friend who is a trustee at our home church here, the North Fork Baptist Church of Shelbyville, TN. I had been on prescription painkillers for over 20 years because of several back injuries sustained over the early years of my adulthood, and even injuries later on in my married life. I had broken free from them a couple of times, but I wanted to break free again. I told this friend, and he suggested I go to the Cowboy Church men's Bible studies on Tuesday night. There were several there who had had drug problems and recovery in the past, and these people would be a good network of friends to help keep me from going back to prescription drugs. I've been free for over a year now because of this group. Many of them have prayed with me when I was in so much pain I nearly went back to dependency. I'd rather be in pain and know I'm alive than to be drugged up and unable to think. They've spent more time discipling in small groups and in their morning services than I have seen in either the SBC or the IFB. Most are very loosely associated with the SBC, but they are non-denominational. They preach only the Bible, not the doctrines and opinions of men. I have to some degree felt like that is where the Lord is leading family to go. They are associated with the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches out of Waxahachie, TX. Good group. Informal, and not quite the "stuffy" regular church service. They accept anyone who is wanting to hear the Word, and they don't treat anyone any differently if they come in with cow manure on their boots, drive into the parking lot with horses or cattle in a trailer, etc. We fell in love with these people right away when we visited their services. This isn't meant to be an infomercial for them, but if you'd like more information on them, please, look them up under the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches. If you'd like to hear some sermons by a couple of the preachers involved in their ministry diploma certificate program, go to Erath County Cowboy Church, or search for Werth Mayes or James (Mac) MacDonald. They are both wonderful, personable, GODLY men. 

Hope that helps. I'm working on a book containing my testimony (may be more of a booklet, if I can shorten it..LOL), and maybe I'll post more of my testimony here. 

Blessings. 

Bro. Tony 

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5 hours ago, HappyChristian said:

I'm a little late to it, but welcome aboard, @BrotherTony. We're glad to have you.

Thank-you. I'm very thankful that I came across this board. I'd been praying about options to FB, and the Lord led me here, and back to the Baptist Boards as well. I don't know how long I'll be on the BB, but, I hope to be here for some time. 🙂 Blessings! 

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Welcome aboard.

I have an SBC pastor friend in S. Tex. I met on line who I hope to meet personally this year. We both served in the Navy so we kind of hit it off on several points. I can fellowship with folks not called "Baptist" without reservation. After all its all about the relationship with Jesus Christ (shh...don't tell anyone but he was non-denominational) ✝️.

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