LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Since 2004, Cross Timbers Cowboy Church has been bringingthe western spirit inside the church walls. Ford Adkins has pastored the churchsince it first started with only a few families.
When you step inside the church, youenter a different kind of church.
"We have a lot of people that arecowboys," pastor Ford Adkins said. "Wehave a lot of people that have never been on horses. We wear our caps, hats andboots. They all get coffee, kaloches, doughnuts and listen to county gospelmusic."
The church has been lead by Adkins sincethe church first opened its doors in 2004 with a handful of people. Now a Sundayservice can draw almost 200.
"They have a perception andstereotype of pastors and I may not fit that," Adkins said.
Before entering the ministry, Adkinsmade his name somewhere else far away from the pulpit, gaining attention on thenational rodeo circuit. After winning over 50championship buckles and eight saddles, Adkins earned the prestigious NationalCowboy hall of Fame Award.
"I've traveled as a professionalrodeo cowboy and bare back rider," Adkins said. I've rode some saddle back allover the country. God designed me to be a cowboy and that's what I am. Somepeople think that rodeoing and cowboying are dangerous, but so is getting in acar and racing down a piece of pavement."
Adkins preaches with a smile today,but getting there was not easy.
"I didn't think that I was meant to bea pastor, but then I saw a not from my wife that was a prayer to God that wewould move our family up here and become a pastor," Adkins said. "She got towatch that journey of us building this church and watch it grow before shepassed away in 2009 from brain tumor and cancer."
Adkins says that event took a lot outof him, but the legacy she left on others with her faith has kept him going.
"What keeps me excited is thefact I wake up everyday and that God has a purpose," Adkins said. "God has aplan and god is in control of all of our circumstances."
Adkins is not just a pastor. He also serves as a deputywith the Angelina County Sheriff's Office as a chaplain for the law enforcementagency.