Cowboy Church Celebrates 20 Years

February 21, 2023

JOSHUA, TEX. – The Joshua Crossroads Fellowship Seventh-day Adventist Church, also known as the Cowboy Church, honored its 20 years on Nov. 5, 2022 with a grand celebration.

Barry Millet, founding pastor (pictured right), was inspired in 2002 by the Springtown, Ark. Cowboy church who had everyone write on a napkin, during a Sabbath morning breakfast, names of friends and relatives who were not attending church. Seeking the wandering who were hurt, thrown out, disfellowshipped or discouraged became their focus to find and love back unconditionally.

When Billy Strayhorn, a Methodist pastor in the area, was approached about renting their church building, he said yes without hesitation. The rent was simply whatever they could afford each week. A year later, after they finished their new Methodist church building, Strayhorn was approached about the new group purchasing the old Methodist church. Millet told him they could afford $200,000 with $20,000 down and the rest paid over five years. It was a miracle when it was approved, considering the church was for sale for $400,000! 

Miracle after miracle took place for all that was needed including an organ, baby grand piano and more. That first Sabbath, 58 people attended. A traditional “haystack” lunch was served and we are still providing lunch every Sabbath.

On Jan. 1, 2003, the group was officially recognized as a company in the Texas Conference. It didn’t take long to reach more than 200 members. When Millet left in 2006, there were more than 250 members. During the 20-year celebration, Millet encouraged those in attendance to continue seeking the wandering who needed to be found and loved.

It was a full day of celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. The morning session featured music by recording artist Ysis España and Jack Fanselau, a senior at Southwestern Adventist University. Current pastor, Terry Darnall, shared a few words about God’s amazing grace.

During the worship hour, Millet shared the church history. Kevin Anderson, the current Methodist church pastor, was invited to come so the Methodist church members could be recognized for their help in getting the group started.

Other guests invited to join the celebration included the City of Joshua Mayor Scott Kimble and Texas Conference Executive Secretary David Montoya. Kimble said he was convicted today and inspired the group to continue the ministry to the hurt and disfranchised. Montoya encouraged the members to continue this recovery ministry.

Gospel quartet, 7 Mile Road (pictured right), from Tulsa, Okla., also joined the celebration. Since they have been performing there for the past 18 years, they are considered honorary members even though their membership is elsewhere.

The afternoon was full of music featuring local musicians and singers: Bobby Rael, Clay Read, Pam Campbell, Janet Tidwell, Bonnie Jordan, Steve Francisco and Celestina Nieves. Gospel Music Hall of Fame Inductee Ralph Green joined the music fest for several songs. Closing the afternoon was a concert by the Pride family. Originally a group of eight, they have traveled around for the past two decades sharing their love for Jesus.

In the evening, Jack Fanselau, Ysis España and 7 Mile Road presented concerts ending with “Side by Side” as the church and its members were rededicated. It was an anniversary celebration that turned into a revival.

God has truly blessed the Cowboy church over the past 20 years and will continue until He comes to take us home.

By Sophie Millet