Back under the tent
POSTED: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 8:39am
UPDATED: Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 3:23am
What some area churches are doing to get people back into worship
Tyler---A new survey shows: seventy-two percent of Americans believe in God.
But only 20% go to church..and then..only once or twice a month.
A closer look now at what some churches are doing to get more believers back under the tent.
Texas ranks eleventh in a pew survey of state's religious fervor.
Seven in ten Texans say they're faith is very important, but to borrow some Texanese...there's talkin' the talk, then there's walkin' the walk.
So-called mega-churches can be found in just about any Texas city, offering everything from cappuccino bars to bowling alleys. But these larger than life symbols of Christianity can turn a lot of people off.
So, what are East Texas churches doing to get a growing population into their midst?
Some are starting from 'the ground up...' and already are seeing results up to the rafters.
You're looking at church in the dirt' at Tyler's Crossbrand Cowboy Church.
Pastor Mike Morrow believes this formula for faith is answered prayer to a portion of East Texas' population that longed to be part of the body of Christ; "Traditional churches in East Texas were no longer really effectively reaching people that had a strong connection to the western culture; so thus was born cowboy church."
At gatherings like this; with some three thousand in attendance; Morrow says the entire boot clad congregation hears the gospel message three or four time during the day.
Like other 'out of the box' presentations of the gospel, Morrow says these cowboys have their critics, but is quick to point out they're not the first to be knocked by religious leaders of their day.
"The men that gave Christ the most problems were the established religionists. So what we do is just say 'God bless ye' and just keep preachin' the gospel."
"We began to see a need that parents and families were lookin' for something more than just something on Sunday mornings." A need Bullard Southern Baptist Church Pastor Donnie Barron and his congregation wanted met.
Barron believes tough times mean more and more people are on a quest. He says, "Everybody today is lookin' for something. Everybody is looking for a way to connect with somebody and looking for a way to improve their particular life and improve where they are in life."
Church: no longer relegated to an hour or two Sunday morning.
Why Bullard Southern Baptist, like other churches are holding classes on everything from parenting to financial management.
"We encourage them to draw and paint ceiling tiles. it adds acoustic value in the room but it also is a place where they can write a verse and say; hey, this is my place and my space."
A growing number of young people call this uniquely decorated room their "sanctuary."
"It's in the middle of school week, we're all tired of homework and school and all that and we can come here, hang out and have fun and worship god for an hour."
Admittedly not for everyone, but another tool church leaders say they use- allowing young East Texans to also be a part of the body of Christ.
Young and old, Easter bonnets or sweaty Stetsons, Fiddle or Fender.
East Texas churches say hard times are again triggering a never-ending quest; Pastor Barron says, "When I get to the point that I realize- you know what, all I have is God. all I have to lean on is God. That's when I realize that I have everything I need. I think our country's experiencing that. That's why we are seeing a Christian awakening as a country."