The kitchen at Three Wooden Crosses Cowboy Church, Augusta, Kan., was full of activity on a chilly fall Saturday afternoon. Members of the church’s Chuckwagon Team were preparing food to sell to competitors in the mounted shooting competition which was the last arena event in 2020.
Numerous 3WC arena events had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus and a virus that affects horses.
However, the church remained undeterred. A full slate of arena events is planned this year and church members are praying that conditions will allow them to take place. See the list of events at http://www.3wc-ks.com/activities.html
Three Wooden Crosses uses its arena for outreach and has seen substantial growth this way.
The church launched in April 2014 and constituted in 2016. It is affiliated with KNCSB, Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association and the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches.
The American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches has several models for planting a cowboy church, Pastor Don Mayberry said. One of those models involves using the church’s arena for outreach.
Using this model has helped 3WC to grow from about 12 people when it launched in April 2014 to 200-plus on a Sunday before the coronavirus crisis hit in March 2020.
From April through October Three Wooden Crosses opens its arena to 50- to 75 groups that need a place to hold their events. The church uses the arena “as the first layer of our mission field,” Mayberry said.
These groups include:
- Team roping
- Ranch roping
- Kansas Draft Horse and Mule Association
- Barrel racers
- Sunflower State Mounted Shooters
- Butler County 4-H Horse show
“We do not charge them,” Mayberry said. The only requirements are that the visiting group allows 3WC to give an opening prayer and a “seven-minute sermon” at some point in the event. The seven-minute sermon is a gospel presentation using cowboy terminology, he said.
“Our people do all the hard work. They open gates and set up equipment.”
The church also provides a chuckwagon concession stand that sells food “at a very, very inexpensive price,” Mayberry continued.
While serving at these events 3WC members try to show Christ’s love to people and learn their names. They look for opportunities to invite event participants to church.
“That model has worked wonderfully for 3WC,” Mayberry said of using the arena for outreach.
The church also reaches out through its annual Rodeo Bible Camp. The first 3WC Rodeo Bible Camp was held in June 2017 and the event had grown every year. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
“It broke our hearts to cancel it,” Mayberry said of Rodeo Bible Camp 2020.
Delicious smells drifted from the kitchen in the church building on that fall Saturday afternoon. Members of the 3WC Chuckwagon Team were rejoicing over their new Chuckwagon — a small building made specifically to serve food to arena competitors. A summer mission team in 2020 built the new Chuckwagon.
While the food cooked Jenny Young, a member of the 3WC Chuckwagon Team, sat at a table counting money.
“When you’re out there serving the food, you can just kind of touch someone,” she said with a big smile.