What It Looks Like:
The Brown’s focus primarily on serving the individuals within the Professional Bucking Bull Association (PBBA) and the National Bull Riders (NBR). These events consist of bull riding and barrel racing that are held on Friday and Saturday nights. Mark and the girls usually kick things off Friday night with a secular concert as a means to connect with the audience and to let the bull riders, barrel racers and stock contractors know they’re at the event.
Then on Saturday afternoon, they host a cowboy cookout/guitar pickin’ for the competitors, contractors and their families. This has been the best way to build relationships with these guys and girls–letting them know they’re loved by meeting a physical need in their lives. After the cookout is over, the family puts on another concert before the Saturday night bull riding begins.
A very special part of the cowboy ministry is that Mark makes it a priority to pray over the cowboys and bull fighters before they compete each night. Those guys go into the competitions knowing the danger they’ll face and gladly welcome any prayer lifted up for their safety.
How It Got Started:
The Lord has done some really amazing things in this area of BFM. We honestly never thought we would be involved in cowboy ministry but quickly came to the realization if God has something planned, it’s going to happen. The cowboy ministry is definitely one of His orchestrations.
When we started this journey, it took us a little while to figure out exactly what we should do. Friends would ask, “So what are y’all doing now?” Our response, “We’re going to the place where the Lord will show us.” (Genesis 12:1)
We had been down the road for a few months when Mama walked into the dining room and said, “What would y’all think if I asked Kathy about us reaching out to the cowboys in their bull riding circuit?” Kathy Klein-Porter was one of the women in the Sunday School class Mama taught before we left Taylors. She and her husband Mike own bucking bulls and are co-founders of the PBBA and the NBR.
Of course, we were all open to the idea but not exactly sure how things would play out. Our family has always lived in the country, owned horses and occasionally attempted gardening, but we were NOT rodeo material. If we were to have a cowboy ministry, it would only be because of the Lord’s doing, not our own.
In February 2010, we went to our first bull riding/barrel racing event – the National Bull Riders finals in Raleigh, NC. It was the biggest event of the year. Talk about intimidating. We all laugh now when we look back on that weekend.
We didn’t have a clue.
By God’s grace, we connected with a few of the guys and girls competing as well as with the event producers which opened the door to continue serving this incredible group of people. It’s been over two years now that we’ve been with the PBBA and the NBR. Countless blessings and life lessons have had a huge impact on this ministry in the process.
We’ve made some very dear friends in the bull riding family and always look forward to the weekends we’re able to spend with them.
Loving through our actions more than our words is what has made the difference in the cowboy ministry, and if anyone has received a blessing, it’s been our family. Daddy always says, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being around these guys, it’s how to push through the pain to do something you love.”
Imagine what this side of Heaven would be like if we as followers of Christ always did the same.