Dave Rogers

For The Record

Dale Lee says he never had an itch to be a pastor, so you bet he never thought he’d be in charge of a church celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Cowboy Church of Orange is doing just that with a day-long event Sunday that begins with its 10:30 a.m. service.

Or show.

“The show is the service,” Lee says of what he and his nearly 500 members also call “Church in the Dirt.”

The Sunday services often take place in the open-air rodeo arena at 673 FM 1078 in Orange.

Sunday’s will.

The church’s country-western band, Cowboy Cross Band, plays at 10 a.m.

Cowboy mounted shooter T.J. Prewitt, a church member, will perform especially for the occasion.

“He will be one of the first things in the service, shortly after the grand entry, which will be at 10:30,” Lee said.

“Cowboy mounted shooting” is an actual competition, the pastor said, a timed competition in which the shooter rides his horse through a pattern of balloon targets and shoots them with blanks.

Prewitt is leaving after Sunday’s service for a championship event in Amarillo, Lee said.

“He does a good job with it,” the pastor said.

Judging from a weekly attendance of nearly 400, Lee has found his calling.

“I had never been a pastor before,” he said “I really didn’t want to be a pastor, or start a church. But I felt like this is what the Lord wanted us to do, my wife, Karen, and I, where He was leading us.

“She helps with ladies’ bible study and other ladies’ ministries, because she wants to.”

The dress for church services are “come as you are.” The teaching is Christ-centered.

“Everybody is welcome,” Lee said. “I think that’s been one of our biggest attributes.

“People are attracted to the way we do things. We are very casual, laid-back. We have a great country western band that plays every Sunday. We don’t have pass an offering plate; we have a bucket at the back if you want to contribute.”

And it’s been growing steadily.

“Ten years is quite an accomplishment. God has really brought this about and blessed it,” Lee said. “We give him praise and glory for it, for sure.”

Sunday’s celebration will include a barbecue lunch, horseshoe and washer tournaments “for bragging rights only,” and a mechanical bull.

The band One Reason performs inside the air-conditioned church building at 2:30 p.m.

Additionally, the Cowboy Church is making plans for its annual Rodeo, set this year for Oct. 21-22, with each night’s performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Misfit Cowboy will perform at the rodeo.