Arkansas Baptist News
MAGNOLIA – What began as a vision of 15-20 people has grown into a thriving cowboy church – known as Rugged Cross Cowboy Church – with an average of 185 in worship service.
The journey between these two points has been filled with steps of faith and signs of God’s faithfulness – and Mike Launius, pastor of Rugged Cross Cowboy Church, has witnessed it all firsthand.
Launius remembers the first interest meetings held to discuss starting a Bible study. He agreed to help with the Bible study, which launched in fall 2010, and soon afterward, the group decided to become a church.
Launius was trained as a church planter through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC); and Rugged Cross Cowboy Church was constituted in 2011, holding its first service as a constituted church on Easter Sunday.
The church reaches out to nontraditional people who love the Western heritage and don’t feel comfortable in a traditional church, explained Launius.
He said he thinks the reason cowboy churches reach people that other churches don’t has to due with the propensity of cowboy churches to truly accept people just as they are.
“And it’s nothing against the traditional church by no means,” Launius said, “but we’ve got people (who) come in from turkey hunting with their camouflage on. We’ve got people (who) come in from rodeos at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and they come on to church and got their spurs and boots on and they have mud on their boots. … We truly accept people as they are. … We’ve got people in our church who haven’t been to church in 15-20 years and sure wouldn’t have ever thought about singing in church or being a leader in the church, and now they’re leaders of the church and they’re singing and taking a leadership role. And that wasn’t going on three years ago in their life.”