The Rural Church Story of a Singing Cowboy

Well, besides being the worlds best cowboy vacation Bible school song singer, Stacy is Cottage Grove’s real life music minister. Really, all kidding aside (and believe me, it is hard to put all kidding aside), Stacy and his family have been a HUGE blessing to me and our church the past four years. Stacy and I work very well together. I completely trust him to lead our congregation to worship God appropriately through song. I think we compliment each other very well as we carry out our individual tasks. We are like Shaggy and Scooby, Batman and Robin, George Jones and Tammy Wynett (you pick who gets to be Tammy).

Music ministers are a dime a dozen, so just leading a choir doesn’t make you anything special. What sets Stacy apart from the pack is that he loves our church and participates on all levels of the church. He goes well beyond his job description because he is a member of our church first. . . and then a music minister. Doing everything from chaperoning youth trips to going to New Orleans on mission trips, he is fully involved and engaged in the ministries of our church.

Now, having Stacy is pretty good, but we also got his wife in the deal. Michelle has brought energy, wisdom, and hard work to our nursery ministry and our feeding ministry. She has directed our vacation bible school for the past two years and done a phenomenal job. Besides being godly leaders in our church and in their home, they are both public school teachers. In fact, I believe that they are called to teach. There are few teachers that care more than Stacy and Michelle about the kids they see everyday. Have I mentioned how blessed we are to have them? Just writing this makes me almost feel a little sorry about time my family kidnapped their pet rabbit and decorated their yard with left over Christmas decorations at Easter.

The caring and the work ethic Stacy and Michelle bring to the table is rooted deeply in the rural church. If you want to know where the passion comes from for what they do, you just need to meet their parents. Stacy’s dad is a rural church pastor and Michelle’s dad is a rural church deacon. Both men love the Lord above all and love serving him in their churches. You also need to know that Stacy’s mom and Michelle’s mom are the glue that holds the whole thing together. It is almost as if God ordered Stacy and Michelle’s lives in such a way that they would be the perfect fit at Cottage Grove. They are talented enough to serve in any church situation, but God chose to bless us with them and for that. . . I am grateful.

Published in: on June 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm  Comments (5)  

Real Cowboy Part 3

Dedication. . . Yep!  I caught the singing cowboy practicing before all the kids made it to VBS.  When you don’t have a real audience, you make due with what you have.

Here is our Caterwauling Cowboy doing what he does best. . . “singing” with real people.

Our singning cowboy has an actual, real, and factual rural story which I will tell you tomorrow.

Until then, sing on, cowboy. . . sing on! 

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 3:29 am  Comments (1)  

It Takes A Real Cowboy Part II

He is a cowboy with the moves of a Russian ballerina. Determination and vocal prowess are his weapons of choice as he leads all of Cottage Grove to a better understanding of just how big the “whole world” is.

Sing with me now, “He’s got the whole world”

Come on everybody. . . . “in His hands”

Sing on, Cowboy. . . . sing on!

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 5:11 am  Comments (6)  

It takes a real cowboy to sing Vacation Bible School Songs

I never met a more lonely feller as this one. Some cowboys like to rope. Some like to ride. Some like to bring in the herd. This ole cowpoke likes to sing Vacation Bible School songs written by that Jeff Slaughter fella up at LifeWay. All alone, with Monday night behind him, and determined to sing “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” , he looks ahead to Tuesday night. Sing on, cowboy. . . sing on.

The saga of Cottage Grove Baptist Church’s singing cowboy music minister will continue tomorrow evening. Tune in!  Oh, by the way, he and his wife willl be our next rural church story!

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 3:09 am  Comments (7)  

Garden Bugs

I have seen all kinds of bugs in my garden. I have been able to control them with a little Sevin Dust. . . but I’m not quite sure what to do about this little bug. I hope it doesn’t turn into an infestation!

Hmm, it seems that all you have to do to get these bugs out of the garden is give them a little push!

Published in: on June 21, 2008 at 2:36 pm  Comments (2)  

Good Article

Les Puryear posted this a few days ago.  I found that I could relate to it.  Maybe you can too.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 12:41 am  Comments Off on Good Article  

Rural Route Wisdom: Garden Edition

We planted our first garden this year.  Here are some things we have learned: 

1.  Beans should be planted at a depth of 1/2 inch. 

2.  If you plant beans at 1 1/2 inch they will not break the dirt. 

3.  If your beans don’t break the dirt you must replant the beans.

4.  I was told by my neighbor, Buddy,  that most of my pastoral predecessors have tried and failed at growing a garden.  Because of that little piece of news, gardening is now a high pressure venture. 

5.  When someone tells you to put “triple 15” on your garden they are referring to fertilizer.   

6.  Sqash, beans, cucumbers, corn, and okra all LOVE the triple 15.  Do you know what else loves the triple 15?    WEEDS!

7.  I have come to believe that weeds were part of the consequence of our sinful fall in the Garden of Eden. 

8.  A weed’s worst nightmare is the blade end of a long-handled garden hoe. 

9.  My worst nightmare has become the handled end of the garden hoe.   

10.  I have a whole new appreciation for John Denver’s Garden Song.  Enjoy!

Published in: on June 13, 2008 at 2:25 pm  Comments (6)  

HAPPY 35th BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi.  This is Mike’s uninvited guest writer, otherwise known as his wife.  Today is Mike’s birthday.  He’s 35, halfway to 70, one-third of the way to 105.  Just wanted to let everyone know and to wish Mike a happy birthday!  I love you! 

We celebrated last night at a Diamond Jaxx game.  Looks like he was having fun 🙂



Published in: on June 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm  Comments (13)  

What Is Right About Rural and Small Church

I enjoyed the Apollo 13 movie so much that I have seen it several times.  One scene in particular stands out in my mind.  Due to an explosion on the space craft, Gene Kranz (Mission Control, Flight Director) is working through all of the things that have gone wrong with the Apollo Service Module.  From every work station at mission control Kranz’s team begins, almost in unison, to tell him all the things that are wrong with the ship.  Kranz responds by saying, “Lets look at this from the perspective of status.  What is RIGHT with the ship?”  It wasn’t until mission control understood what still worked on their ship that they could work on the things that were broken. 

I think that it is time that we ask what is right with our rural and small churches.  There are many voices, almost speaking in unison, telling us the things that are difficult and the things that are wrong.  What is right with the rural church?  What is working correctly?  When you figure out what is currently working in rural churches you will find a platform to work on the things that are broken. 

Here are some of the things that, FOR THE MOST PART, are right with the rural church

1.  Rural/small churches generally have a committed / well trained leadership core.

2.  Rural/small churches have established effective connections within its community.

3.  Rural/small Churches have a tenacious ability to thrive during difficulty. 

4.  Rural/small churches have a wonderful sense of fellowship and love for one another.  The fellowship they share is unique to a congregation that lives in such close proximity to one another. 

5.  They make disciples through long term relationships. 

6.  Worship is intentionally and beautifully simple.

7.  Most of the traditions within the church are meaningful.  

Can you add anything to the list? 


Published in: on June 9, 2008 at 12:18 pm  Comments (3)  

Things pastor seach committees really want to ask:

You told us that you are saved, have two Doctorates, possess 15 years of experience, and that you can preach from the Greek text….but what we really want to know is this:

1.  If your life were an Andy Griffith episode which character would you be?  Otis?  Andy?  Barney?   

2.  Felonies?

3.  Has your name ever been listed with Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Baker?

4.  How close to the poverty line are you willing to live?

5.  Finish this Sentence:  I (never, always, sometimes) preach past 12:00 p.m.

6.  We see here in your resume that you are a self starter and a multi-tasker.  Our youth, education, and    music minister just resigned. . . . how would you feel about a combo position within our church?

7.  Would you expect compensation for the above mentioned combo position? 

8.  Do you have any experience with painting, old boilers, and leaky toilets? 

9.  Have you ever refereed (moderated) a Baptist business meeting?

10.  How do you feel about mowing grass?     

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 11:59 am  Comments (9)