Say hello to Cowboy Church of Orange County’s new leader: Pastor Harland Strother

Published 12:08 am Thursday, June 30, 2022

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Pastor Harland Strother will usher in a new era at Cowboy Church of Orange County when he takes up the reins Friday (July 1).

Strother’s “Faith Walk” style of ministry encourages believers to kick up a little dust while keeping in mind that working for God’s glory is never about “I,” it’s about HIM.

Strother refuses to be cowed by what many may consider the decline of the church in America. A scripture particularly close to his heart is Luke 14:23, “and the lord said unto the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’”

It’s up to church leaders, Strother says, to provide a compelling worship experience with excellence on every level: music, message and ministry. Strother’s team-based approach to leadership includes building personal relationships within the church body.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Strother questions the traditional “catch ‘em and clean ‘em” approach to inviting folks to church.

“The Bible,” Strother says, “tells us to be fishers of men. It tells us to catch ‘em, to bring ‘em in. It doesn’t tell us to clean ‘em up. The Holy Spirit will take care of that part, working in each of their lives when they accept Jesus Christ.”
Strother was raised in a pastor’s home under the daily influence of Ministry. He accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior at the age of 15 and has served in ministry since age 17.

He married his high school sweetheart, Denise, and they have two children, both of them grown and serving the Lord.

“My thought about the church in 2022 is we have to get back to the fundamental basics of bringing people under the influence of the word of God,” Strother said. “How do we do that? Any way we can. Nothing is impossible with God.”

Strother’s plans for the Youth and Children’s ministries at Cowboy Church of Orange County include involving the church body in an immediate focus on hiring a youth pastor, and in nurturing the Senior Adult Ministry with Wednesday night Bible studies Strother will teach.

The Cowboy Church by-laws state, “God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on Biblical truth.”

Strother plans to strengthen and support the Cowboy Church’s model of a non-judgmental approach to reaching those with a connection to the Western culture and beyond.

“If you’re more comfortable on a Harley than a horse, that’s fine with me,” he said.

The Cowboy Church of Orange County Arena Ministry, Strother says, includes community-wide arena events focusing on fellowship through sports, and not all of those will involve traditional rodeo.

Strother hails from Line Camp Cowboy Church in Devers, where he served as senior pastor for six years. Previously, Strother served as senior pastor at FBC Newton.

Strother holds a Bachelor of Science in Theology and a Master of Divinity in Church Administration. He attended East Texas Baptist University and the International Bible Institute and Seminary.

Strother issued a personal invitation to his joyful first Sunday message as Senior Pastor July 3 at Cowboy Church of Orange County, 673 FM 1078 in Orange.

Sunday worship and Children’s Church begin at 10:30 a.m., with rockin’ Country Gospel led by Jackie LaFleur and the Cowboy Cross Band.

— written by Sherrill “Sherri” Porterfield of the Media Team and Women’s Ministries at the Cowboy Church of Orange County. She maintains the church YouTube channel