Plains Church in Argonia, Kansas, hosted the Bronc Kraft Memorial Rodeo over Labor Day weekend. This is the ninth rodeo our church has put on in the past five years, and it has grown into a huge event. Our Saturday night rodeo drew a crowd that was larger than the entire town of Argonia!
Organizing rodeos sometimes seems like an unusual calling for our church, since we aren’t exactly full of cowboys, but the rodeos enable us to connect with cowboys and our area’s large rodeo culture that we wouldn’t encounter if we stayed put at church. On rodeo weekends, we spend hours down at the rodeo grounds with people who normally won’t enter a church (though several often join us for church that weekend). Relationships are slow to develop since we only see most of these cowboys once or twice a year, but our prayer is that many will come to know Christ as they witness a consistent example of Christ’s humility and love every time they come to Argonia.
Even though we began organizing rodeos to serve the cowboy community, God has helped us to see ways we can use the rodeos to also serve our home community, an incredible result that was totally unlooked for when we began. Rodeo profits allowed us to remodel and reopen our town’s Teen Center, which is proving to be our most consistent and successful ministry made possible by the rodeos so far. We wouldn’t be able to host our community youth group without our rodeo ministry.
Above all, we have learned that even slaving in a hot concession stand and opening gates in the muck of a rodeo becomes a holy endeavor when it is done as part of God’s mission to reach the lost and alone.