When circuit-riding preachers spread the gospel in the 19th century, some lawless frontier outposts experienced moral transformation. A modern-day cowboy preacher hopes a 40-day horseback ride from Texas to Washington, D.C., spurs similar revival in communities where he preaches along the way.
“It’s going back to our roots” in more ways than one, said John Riggs, pastor of Texoma Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls. “As we think about our country and the condition we find it in today, our hearts are broken over the moral slide and depravity we see in the nation.”
But before Christians can expect society to change, churches need to experience revival and accept the responsibility to “be salt and light in this world,” Riggs said.
“We need to look to God and allow God his rightful place in our lives,” he added.
Trail riders from Texoma Cowboy Church expect to travel at least 25 miles each day, and Riggs will preach at a church every night along the journey of more than 1,000 miles.
“Many people are looking to Washington to fix the nation’s problems, but no man or woman or Congress, no president, no Supreme Court, can fix what’s really wrong with our country,” he said.
Riggs and several other riders from his congregation left Texarkana on horseback early morning Sept. 29.
The trail riders—who expect to be joined by others along the way for days at a time—will journey across Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before they arrive in the nation’s capital Nov. 7, on the eve of Election Day. When they reach their destination, Riggs hopes, the riders will number close to 200.
When they arrive in Washington, D.C., Riggs and his traveling companions plan to meet with their congressman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, and other elected officials on Capitol Hill.
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But Riggs believes the real work of transformation will occur in churches.
“We need a true spiritual awakening in this country,” Riggs said. “We don’t know if that will happen, but we do know it’s God’s plan for churches to be revived and renewed.”
About three years ago, Riggs began sensing God leading him to lead a trail ride to the nation’s capital. In August, God provided confirmation it was time to make the ride, he said.
“For the last 40 days, our church has been fasting and praying, preparing ourselves for revival,” Riggs said. “We have to get our own lives in line before we can expect anybody else to acknowledge God and experience awakening.”
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