Pastoring a cowboy church in a cowboy town

Harvey Abke, senior pastor of Burleson County Cowboy Church (BC3), has experienced more of God’s blessing on his church than ever before.

BC3 began six years ago as a church plant of First Baptist Church of Caldwell. Located in a community of cowboys, ranchers and rodeo and arena people, a cowboy church was a necessity. Leaders at FBC Caldwell prayed about starting a new church for two-and-a-half years, and then God opened the door. What started out as a Bible study with 25 people transformed into a booming church, with 104 people at their first service, which is still rapidly growing with several hundred in attendance each week.

Abke was raised as a cowboy, and was well connected in the culture, so it was natural that he would become the pastor of the Cowboy Church. He fit right in, and poured his heart into the ministry right away.

“We’ve had people that have started coming to church because we’re open to anybody and everybody,” said Abke. “We’ve had people come that haven’t been to church in 34 years. I think it’s the atmosphere here that allows our people feel free when they come in.”

The church is comprised of members who are excited, involved and willing to serve. Abke remarked that God has blessed him with the ability to see the member’s individual gifts, to know who’s capable of doing what, and the desires of the people on where to serve. That’s been their strategy from the beginning.

Because of the hard work and faithfulness of the BC3, the church was able to pay it forward and help plant a new church in Lockhart, the Caldwell County Cowboy Church.

“I’ve always been a Baptist boy,” said Abke. “I grew up in missions. That was my heart and still is–evangelism. Through Texas Baptists’ Cooperative Program, Texas Baptists Western Heritage, FBC Caldwell and our local Baptist association’s partnership all coming together, our new church plant has been made possible.”

He continued, “everything that has happened is because of a group of people that have come together with God in control and leading us.”

To learn more about Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, visit

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