By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
LEESVILLE, La. (LBM) – When Jason Nolde left an established pastorate in early 2022 to start Branded for Christ Cowboy Church, he believed God would use the new church plant to reach a special people group.
A year later, his faithfulness has been rewarded with an attendance increase from a core group of 10 who met for home-based Bible study in its infancy to 80 who now gather for worship in a Leesville municipal building. Importantly, Nolde has baptized five new converts and seen even more grow deeper in their Christian walks.
Nolde, formerly pastor of Canaan Baptist Church, Leesville, credits a focus on relationships, discipleship and simplicity as the keys to growth. “Everything we will do is inspired by the western culture,” Nolde told the Baptist Message. “We seek the lost, seek the fallen away and seek to grow.”
Branded for Christ Cowboy Church was recognized in November 2022 as the 300th Louisiana Baptist church planted since 2010.
The congregation, which held its kickoff service at the Vernon Parish Rodeo Arena in Leesville on Nov. 13, 2021, conducts several targeted outreaches every three months. They have continued meeting in homes on Wednesdays since July but added a Sunday worship service after their kickoff service.
Outreach events have featured Wild Horse Ministries Founder Paul Daily, who demonstrates how training a horse is similar to training a non-believer to become a Christian; a goat roping and mutton busting exhibition (riding and racing sheep); and a rodeo. Importantly, the church assesses each event for mission viability using the “five C test” of the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches: Christ-centered, culturally relevant, constitutional, cost effective and consensus reached by its members.
Looking to the future, Branded for Christ Cowboy Church eventually plans to move into the former “feed and seed” store in downtown Leesville.
The building will allow for additional growth, more ministry opportunities and a visible presence in the community.
Other plans include the purchase a 25-acre tract that will include a big barn (to host services) and an arena (for fellowship and outreach).
“We are super excited about what the Lord has already done, for what He has in store through this ministry He has planted, and for the spiritual growth of our community,” Nolde said. “No doubt, the Lord has great plans.”