Cowboy Church of Orange County held its first service three and a half years ago in a barn off Texas Highway 62. Since then, the church has experienced phenomenal growth; and so has their band.

The Cowboy Cross Band plans a free concert at 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 10 at the current church location 673 FM 1078.

“The first Sunday we met as a church, I went,” said George McConathy. “It was Oct. 14, 2007 at Dr. Jones’ Barn. They had a guest band that day and they were really good.”

“That was the first time I had been to church in 17, 18, 19 years.” McConathy said he started going to the Monday night prayer meetings. Two men played acoustic guitar and a woman played keyboard. “That was the band,” said McConathy.

They wished to add a drummer, bass, steel guitar and a singer. “They kept saying, ‘We need… all this stuff and have a real band.’”

Though he hadn’t played in a long time, McConathy joined the band playing bass.

“One thing led to another and people kept showing up,” said McConathy. “Now we’ve got a fiddle, we’ve got a steel guitar, bass, lead, rhythm, drums, you know-the whole works in there. It just all kinda fell together.”

Now the band director of the Cowboy Cross Band; McConathy numbers the band members at “several.” The actual number of musicians fluctuates because many are shift workers or have other commitments.

Band members do not make their primary living from music, but Pam Scales Crew said the group would hold their own against most professionals.

“We’ve had so many really top-notch musicians playing with us,” said McConathy.

They play country gospel and songs that have been inspirationally re-worded.

The concert will be followed by a free ice cream social.

Also that weekend a special school will be presented 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, June 11. “The purpose of the school is to teach people pretty much everything they need to know about a Cowboy Church; what’s it all about,” said Pastor Dale Lee. “How to start one, how to keep them going, how they operate and what their purpose is. The schools are great. I’ve been to several of them and you can learn an awful lot. It gives you a totally different perspective on what Cowboy Church is about; what we do; and why we do it,” said Lee.

What started as a core group of eight people meeting in a blue barn has grown to services with 400-450 in attendance almost every week. Sometimes it goes over the 500 seating capacity of the church.

“I had no idea that it was going to grow that big, that fast. We just felt like the Lord was leading us to start a Cowboy Church here,” said Lee.

Their goal was to reach people from the cowboy culture, but they found out their laid back style of doing things appeals to a lot of people that has nothing to do with being cowboy,
“It’s very informal, come as you are. You don’t have to be dressed up, boots and jeans are welcome, and hats are welcome,” said Lee.

Several of the other things about Cowboy Church that appeals to people is the lack of an altar call and they do not pass the collection plate. “We have containers at the back of the church they can drop their offering in,” said McConathy.

The church also has a full size arena with team roping and barrel racing events going on now. They also plan on holding rodeos and other events.

“A lot of different things are going on at the Cowboy Church of Orange County,” said Lee.

For more information on Cowboy Church of Orange County and the upcoming school contact Pastor Dale Lee at 409-718-0269

For more information on the Cowboy Cross Band contact George McConathy at 409-988-3119.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.