By Will Brunke / Cowboys of the Cross
My wife and I’s most recent visit to worship service this past Sunday yielded some interesting results. While my usual excitement for the weekly message roiled along with the complimentary coffee that is offered in the foyer, the monotone rhythm of the substitute pastor managed to counteract the excitement of the spirit even coupled with the moderate dose of caffeine into submission. Yet, as I dazed in and out of the message, a “God Thing” happened as only He could impose. And during my arousal from a near neck-snapping chin nod, I felt transported sideways into a message entirely as if I was the only
one hearing it.
Concerned that my “side message” may be spurious in nature, I attempted to reengage the subject matter and connect the talking points back to the pastors original baseline message. But then yet another anecdotal framing reinforced the first, and
another, and another. On the drive home, my wife stopped for fast food and while waiting, we were asked to pull ahead by the curb since our order was slow to materialize. My wife and I then picked up on a conversation cut short earlier and again, I came back to that same sticky thought in my brain.
Then they forgot the spoon for the milkshake.
As I soothed my wife and jokingly reminded her that sometimes the greatest test for a Christian is how we treat the drive-through employees on our way home from church, I stepped out of the truck to secure both the order and humanitarian spirit. But on the ride home, the gears really started turning in my head.
What I write at this moment will come with a disclaimer; Scott Hilgendorff, who was called to lead this ministry full time, knew nothing and knows nothing of what I am about to say. Nor is Scott probably comfortable with my calculated poking of the proverbial “bear(s)”.
And that is the point. Poking you bears. And most of you bears have been hibernating ……right on top of an unrealized gem.
Now as a retired bulll rider, in the nearly 20 years I have known Scott, I have quietly been amazed by him of many things. One point of amazement is a running joke I started and repeat to Scott and others who know Scott personally. Tell me if you’ve heard it: It’s the one about a guy who comes from a diminishingly Christian nation named Canada. He hears the Holy Spirit telling him to abandon everything he knows and go to one of the most populous Christian nations named ‘Merica because there are people in places who haven’t heard the Gospel and some of those who have heard it, were given a false version of it.
This joke for most Christians in America could be considered offensive. It’s like having to sit without interruption while a comedian roasts your wife or child that you were so sure that there was nothing wrong with or funny about. What?? We need missionaries to come from outside the U.S. to spread the Gospel in our own back yards?? Harumph!!
But yes, it’s true. A lot of us absolutely stink at spreading the Good news, proclaiming the Gospel, participating in the Great Commission, and even discipling. Many more treat the sanctuary of the church as barricade from the world rather than a fort to train the Christian soldiers and prepare and discipline them to resist and defeat the evil one who prowls like a lion. (1 Peter 5: 8-10)
And not only has Scott Hilgendorff left his successful professional former life in Canada, Scott has chosen to inhabit the dirt holes and hovels to whence you dare not approach. Scott has not only worn the shoes of the peace of the Gospel, (Eph 6: 10-20) but he bought the extra padded insoles and the snake guards that extend up to the knee and has been like the one crying out in the wilderness, (Isaiah 40: 3-8) in a spiritual battle to save the souls of countless characters –many of ill repute.
While many of us Christians are not equipped or called into missions, in general, the church congregation has adopted a contemptuous view of missional work outside of the quasi-vacations to Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rico, Kenya, etc. We are constantly surrounded by chaos and despair in our own communities but speed past it daily. all the while, after 100’s of known missional studies conducted over the years and a similar number of personal admissions I have witnessed, the most common reactions to first-time foreign missionaries upon their return home are;
“They seem so happy with so little over there”
“I didn’t know that the country of _ __ had so many Christians”
“I never felt unsafe”
What I am NOT saying is that safety should not be prioritized. I am NOT saying that foreign mission trips are bad. After all, God will send a messenger to his people and there is a plan for every one of us, (Jer 29:11).
What I am saying is that Scott has planted the Christian flag by the encampments of despair where happiness is sometimes fleeting at best. Scott is surrounded by non-believers in stark contrast to the number of professed Christians. Scott has risked his safety many, many, many times. And while there have been many breakthroughs, conversions, and moments of pure joy, the reality of the matter is that through Scott, the Lord has taken a nearly inarable field and brought forth fruit from it.
What I am also saying is that those of us who are familiar with Scott have been given a unique opportunity to support a grassroots mission that few people are called or equipped to succeed in. Not only has Scott persevered, but he has thrived in the environment the Lord led him to and developed a road map for local missions work that is more valuable than the latest and hottest crypto currency but will stand the test of time.
What I am asking is that as many of us as possible should lift up and support our brother who has defended the faith, (1 Peter 3:15) from the likes of false teachers, hollow prosperity, and mere wolves in sheep’s clothing who have perilously outnumbered him.
Scott, at times has had to bear his cross quietly and even at times against resistance from all sides.
I have been to the places I am describing to you. I have seen and heard the atrocities and abominations. And I have also been there when these same perpetrators of hate and sin have made the 2 am phone call to Scott when they had no one else to turn to or were in desperation. Even though Scott was a “Goodie Goodie Missionary” his reputation was beyond reproach and his name was trustworthy. Through John 13:35 Scott has cultivated relationships of love for his neighbors no matter if they were believers or had admonished him for calling sin, sin. I met and was joined by Scott in the days of yore concerning my bull riding career. I was taught and discipled by this man. I in turn taught and discipled.
And yes, when I say, “lift up and support” I mean give. Financially support a ministry that has boots on the ground of the lowly corners of despair where the lost gather together unaware of their own peril and sometimes just horribly misinformed. And where opportunists prey openly and spiritual warfare aims to keep any unity and understanding scattered like seed thrown for the birds to eat.
Please consider making May 2024 the month you commit to our brother in the faith.
Be Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity
Don’t be Proverbs 17:16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he
has no sense.

Tax deductible donations, tithes and offerings are administered for Cowboys of the Cross through a church in Lewisburg, TN. Tax deductible donations can be sent to LifeSong Family Church, 1041 S. Ellington Pkwy, Lewisburg, TN, 37091. Checks should be made out to LifeSong Family Church with a note in the envelope that it is for Cowboys of the Cross or rodeo missions.

Contributions can also be made online at

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