Written by Darren Hales
When Pastor Chad Scarborough of First Baptist Church in Shelby, MT considered a unique way to connect with his community and share the Gospel in a culturally relevant way, he decided to get his horses involved. Why not? This is Montana! The idea was sparked by a young man, new to the church, who Pastor Chad meets with for discipleship. Remington impressed upon him that a Rodeo Bible Camp could create some positive relationships with ranching families and provide clear opportunities to teach the truth of Scripture. That sounded like a win-win!
This Go Montana story wasn’t even feasible a year ago, but his new friendship with Remington opened the door to sharing Jesus this way. Remington had friendships in the community which gave the church access to quality coaches for each rodeo event, resources such as the hay, stock, horses, and the support team needed to throw a real-life rodeo. Those who loved the sport and wanted to invest in kids who wanted to learn their event jumped on the idea.
Over the course of the week, coaches, who were national qualifiers with years of accolades in the rodeo circuit, taught events like steer riding. Yes, you don’t start kids on the bulls, but a steer is still an intimidating animal to a young rodeo enthusiast. Fourteen kids came to the camp and they also learned bareback horse riding, goat tying, steer roping, pole bending, and barrel racing. Each day the skill level of the kids improved in these areas, but the Word of God was also being planted in their lives. The key verse for the was John 3:16.
As pastor Chad reflected on the new relationships, he also recognized that many of the kids and parents were hearing the Gospel for the first time. The Go Montana initiative is about Going, Telling, and Serving. The first ever Marias Valley Rodeo Bible Camp accomplished all three. The members of the First Baptist Church in Shelby are seeking to follow up with these families while praying for spiritual fruit to emerge from this bold endeavor.