“... you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
Standing on the concrete floor where recent rains have left puddles, Chris Kirkham can see the shape of things to come, though parts of the structure that will be the new Cowboy Fellowship of Wilson County building are still open to the elements.
“We’ll have classrooms over here,” he gestures toward one side of the structure, where metal siding has yet to be added.
“And the new sanctuary,” a gesture in another direction, “will hold about 320 people.”
The Cowboy Fellowship has outgrown its humble building just off U.S. 87 between La Vernia and Sutherland Springs; they went from one service to two, to accommodate the growing flock.
The 8:30 a.m. service on Sunday draws about 55 people, Kirkham said, while the 10:30 a.m. service includes about 90. Both have the small building bursting at the seams.
“We just need more space,” the campus pastor said. “The Lord has blessed us and we are growing!”
He’s been the campus pastor for about four months. He, too, is growing.
Though raised up in church, he said he “went a different direction” as a young man.
But then the feed lot worker -- “I attempted to be a cowboy” -- and his family joined the Atascosa County Cowboy Fellowship about 2-1/2 years ago.
“And I felt called to something bigger,” he said. “Next thing you know, we’re here!”
He and his wife of 15 years, Brenda, live in Stockdale. He noticed the opening for a campus pastor at the Wilson County Cowboy Fellowship, applied, and went from tending cattle to tending people!
Pete Pawelek of Pleasanton is the senior pastor.
One aspect of the Cowboy Fellowship that appeals to many, Kirkham said, is “It’s ‘come as you are.’ The doors are always open. And it’s not rigid, not the same every Sunday. It’s relaxed. There’s no dress code, no three-piece suit. Folks come to church and then straight out to work cattle. The Lord meets you where you are.”
He enjoys his work, meeting people, bringing them into the church, and helping them grow.
“We’re here to save souls and get them on the right path,” he said. “I’m getting to know people, letting them get to know me, and see I’m working for the Lord, that I have a servant’s heart.”
The Cowboy Fellowship congregation hopes to be in its new sanctuary early next summer, Kirkham said.
But everyone’s welcome to join them for services each Sunday, and for Christmas.
“The doors are open to all,” the pastor said with a smile.
Learn more about the church at cowboyfellowship.org.
Celebrate Christmas at the Cowboy Fellowship of Wilson County, located at 100 Hickory Run, just off U.S. 87 between La Vernia and Sutherland Springs (across from Baldy’s Diner):
•Saturday, Dec. 24, 6:30 p.m., enjoy music and the Christmas story, hot chocolate and cookies
•Sunday, Dec. 25, services at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.
Santa will visit Sunday, Dec. 18, following the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services -- with his horse and buckboard!