We can't wait for cowboys to walk into church

Paul and Linda Scholtz have been ministering to cowboys since 1976.

The couple started out with nothing more than a pickup truck, a saddle horse and $16 between them, the Pentecostal Evangel reports.

It was 4am starts for Paul when they joined the rodeo circuit, saddling broncs, taking care of the cattle and horses, and getting them ready for bulldogging and roping contests.

Meanwhile, Linda became a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association trick rider performing stunts on horses.

Despite their busy schedule, they made time for leading prayer meetings between the performances.

If Paul wasn't able to access the arena, he would preach from the back of a cattle truck, the Evangel reports, while Linda would hold Cowkid Sunday school and puppet shows for the children.

During their nearly four decades of ministry, the couple have encountered professional cowboys confined by all kinds of vices, from alcohol to prostitutes.

"We saw an incredible need for Jesus among young pople who had gifted athletic abilities, yet were overcome by sin," Paul told the paper.

Although the passage of time means they are no longer able to be active rodeo event participants, they still handle horses and Linda continues to conduct trick riding camps.

They entered a new season of work with the dedication of a new Assemblies of God-funded facility at their mission base, featuring a rodeo arena, bucking chutes, holding pens and grandstands.

Whatever lies ahead, Paul knows he will always be among the cowboys.

"We can't wait for cowboys to throw their hats and boots away and walk into church," he said.

"God demands that we engage the culture."