God takes the lead at Laclede Cowboy Church
Cowboy. Hello, my name is David Kenyon. I reside on a small farm in a simple, little rural community in Moniteau County, Missouri. It happens to be the highest point in the county, so they simply named it High Point, Missouri. I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Julie for 17 years in July, which I thank God for bringing her into my life each day. We have been blessed with two beautiful children, Stacey (12) and Tyler (9). I grew up in southwest Missouri on a small farm south of Branson, Missouri where I began a love for cattle and horses. Working around livestock at several local sale barns in Missouri and Arkansas for a cattle order buyer, the country and western heritage became a way of life, which I still enjoy today. Rodeo has become a favorite pastime when I get a spare moment as it seems to be something the whole family can enjoy together. God has blessed me with the opportunity to compete and win at all levels of rodeo competition at such venues as: Denver, CO, San Antonio, TX, San Angelo, TX, Rapid City, SD, Tucson, AZ, Kansas City, MO, Fort Madison, IA, Manawa, WI, Louisville, KY, Minneapolis, MN and many other places around the country. I truly have a joy and desire for family, country and the western heritage.
Witness. As we have traveled around the country the Lord has blessed my family with the opportunity to be a witness for Him on the road. I have had several opportunities to share the gospel and what God has done in my life and the life of my family through Jesus Christ. Through these opportunities God has put a desire on my heart and opened doors for my family to have “cowboy church” at several venues around the country and begin to minister in ways we would have never imagined. Through these ministry opportunities God opened another venue for us through “horse whispering” events which we have held in conjunction with local churches or associations all over Missouri, a few other states and recently Sao Paulo, Brazil. These events have been a true blessing for my entire family to participate in as we use the talents and abilities God has given us to show a parallel of the relationship between the horse and trainer or “master” and how that parallels to the relationship God (our “master”) wants with each of us through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Through this He showed me that it was not acceptable for us (Christians) to expect that if “we build it, they will come”, but that we needed to take it to our Jerusalem (local area) and our Judea (Missouri), which might mean taking the gospel and sharing it in places that were not “traditional” for churches today. He laid upon my heart that Jesus was born in a stable, so what better place to worship him than in a barn.”
Additionally, I have been asked to judge or “officiate” different roping events from time to time and one place in particular was a long standing series of ropings held at McNail arena near Lebanon, MO. About six years ago we began to have a bible study and/or “cowboy church” at the roping events in Lebanon and God put a desire on my heart for the people who did not feel comfortable in the traditional church. Knowing in my heart that was only an excuse, but God reminded me that He told us to take the gospel and preach it in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Through this He showed me that it was not acceptable for us (Christians) to expect that if “we build it, they will come”, but that we needed to take it to our Jerusalem (local area) and our Judea (Missouri), which might mean taking the gospel and sharing it in places that were not “traditional” for churches today. He laid upon my heart that Jesus was born in a stable, so what better place to worship him than in a barn. I gave it to God and pursued the opportunity to start a “cowboy church” at that time with the Laclede Association director of missions and the pastor of Lebanon First Baptist at the time, but it was not God’s timing.
Church Planter. A few years have past and we have continued to serve Jesus wherever He leads us and in July, 2007 I accepted a call to the ministry to go wherever God wanted me to go and do whatever God wanted me to do. The ropings had ended at Lebanon and given way to other events, and in turn God was using me and my family in other places. About two years ago I got a phone call that a group of people were meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a “cowboy church” in Lebanon, Mo. The meeting dates were already filled on my calendar and I told them I would pray for them in this new venture and gave it to God. The first Sunday morning in September, 2008, while I was doing my morning chores before church I got a call from the owner of the barn telling me they were getting ready to start the “cowboy church” that morning, but had one problem, the speaker had backed out at the last minute and was not going to be able to come. He asked if I would come that first week and bring the message, because if they did not get started they never would? I knew it was a God thing and I could not say no, so I finished my chores, told my wife about the call and jumped in the truck to drive the 62 miles to the barn in Lebanon. At the end of the service, which had 14 in attendance, they asked if I could come back the next week and the rest has been an unbelievable work of God, due to the faith and prayers of a few workers who realize the harvest is plentiful. To date we have had 37 first time professions of faith, 30 baptisms, three new baptisms scheduled, four baby dedications, and several other decisions. We constituted as a church one year ago in May, 2009 and were voted in as a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention at the annual meeting this past year. We are also members of the Southern Baptist Convention and Laclede Baptist Association with a current average attendance of about 160 in worship, with an attendance at special events ranging from 250-500. God continues to amaze me each and every day with the work He is doing at Laclede Cowboy Church, and it is truly a blessing to be a part of it.
Through all of this I would like everyone that contributes to the Missouri Baptist Convention Cooperative Program and the Missouri Missions Offering to know they have also been a part of this great work God has done at Laclede Cowboy Church and the evangelism that has happened through the “horse whispering” events around Missouri, other states and Sao Paulo, Brazil. You see through listening to the members of the convention the evangelism department saw a need for opportunities to reach the lost in rural areas and thought the “horse whispering” events might be one venue to do just that. Through a collaboration with the church planting team and one of the most successful church plants in the Missouri Baptist Convention at Cape Cowboy Church near Jackson, Missouri they hosted an outreach ministry to the community by inviting Lew Sterrett and his ministry “Sermon on the Mount” to come and present the gospel through a “horse whispering” event at a large indoor arena early on in this church plant. The next day the evangelism department had Lew host a one day “mini-camp” for interested horse people that might be interested in an evangelism opportunity in the state through the same or a similar presentation. Since then they have linked many interested churches and church plants up with “horse whisperers” trained by Lew to present the gospel all over the state of Missouri. This summer many of those “horse whisperers” including my family have been traveling to VBS’s all over the state to help with the opening or closing of these programs using the training that was sponsored through the evangelism department.
…I would like everyone that contributes to the Missouri Baptist Convention Cooperative Program and the Missouri Missions Offering to know they have also been a part of this great work God has done at Laclede Cowboy Church…”
Additionally, the “church planting” department and you, through the help of the Cooperative Program and Missouri Missions Offering, played an integral part of the Cape Cowboy Church plant, which currently has an average attendance of over 1,000 every week. The Missouri Baptist Convention Church Planting Team has been very helpful in the planting of Laclede Cowboy Church, from the initial meetings and planning, to training and supporting staff and other church planters like me to begin new churches who are reaching lost people with the gospel of Christ. I would also like for you to know that this new church plant, Laclede Cowboy Church, believes and supports the Cooperative Program itself, as it has given 10% to the Missouri Baptist Convention Cooperative Program, 4% to the Laclede Baptist Association and another 4% to other missions and a benevolence fund, respectively, for a total of 18%, since the first meeting on September 7, 2008. Laclede Cowboy Church has also given through and supported the Missouri Missions Offering every year since it began meeting in September of 2008. If you have ever doubted or wondered the value of your Cooperative giving, the Missouri Missions Offering and how it is being used, you ought to take time to see the pictures of a new believer’s baptism being done in a stock tank at dirt rodeo arena or in a river along the beautiful country God gave us, the pictures of tears rolling down the face of a lost child or adult coming to Christ kneeling in the dirt at the foot of an old wooden cross or the joy of a man who is following God’s call to share the gospel when he gets a small check to help him financially support his family as he and his family have answered God’s call to reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As for me and my family, we continue to take it one day at a time and follow Jesus wherever He leads us as I pastor 62 miles from home at the Laclede Cowboy Church, continue to work full-time on the road away from home, evangelize through the “horse whispering” events, judging ropings and horse shows at McNail arena and surrounding saddle clubs or competing from time to time on the rodeo circuit as we minister to a lost world. I was licensed to the ministry in November, 2008 and ordained in April, 2009 at my home church, High Point Baptist Church in High Point, Missouri. My hope is that God might inspire and bless you to look outside your comfort zone, see where He is at work in your Jerusalem and Judea, and put a desire in your heart to join Him. May God bless you and your family, as He has ours!
Your brother in Christ,
David Kenyon, Pastor, Laclede Cowboy Church, Lebanon, Missouri
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