EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.
It was Renee Alphin’s idea. The church planter’s wife suggested a camera to videotape riders at Cody, Wyoming’s nightly rodeo, since she and her Cowboy Church planting husband Pat Alphin were there anyway, making friends with townspeople and rodeo riders.
Athletic skill improves when riders watch video of their performance and see what they did wrong, Alphin said, which is as true for rodeo contestants as for football players.
The videotaping led to next-day debriefings and coaching by Alphin, who rode bulls when he was young in Mesquite, Texas. The coaching sessions take place at Cowboy Church’s bunkhouse, where 10 rodeo contestants stay (The church previously had been a men’s rehabilitative ministry).
“When we first got up here (in 2016) we could see the multifaceted ministry we could do here, in the community, with ranchers, at the rodeos and with tourists,” said Alphin, who has ties with Hugo, First. “We get opportunities to share the Gospel with people from all over the world.”
Cody Cowboy Church now draws about 50 to Sunday services. Members and mission teams help direct traffic, park cars and pick up trash during Cody’s July 4 week-long celebration.
Cody Cowboy Church hosts annual teacher appreciation dinners at Cody’s junior and senior high schools.
Alphin also leads Bible studies at the nearby Moon Crest Ranch, where five cowboys were baptized last year.
“We came to Cody with no preconceived ideas on what this ministry would look like and let God define the ministry and mission field,” Alphin said.
“He does an amazing job at that when we let Him have the control,” the planter continued. “We have been so surprised and, in our wildest thoughts, could not have come up with or implemented this plan we have seen unfold.”
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP