The original Cowboy Church began in a most unusual place, a Holiday Inn lounge on Briley Parkway in Nashville. The original concept was to give entertainers a place to worship on Sunday mornings.
In June 2005, the Smoky Mountain Cowboy Church opened its doors for the very first Sunday service in Pigeon Forge. Its concept was to give the theater entertainers and tourist a different kind of church service.
The church has no board of deacons, no committees, no secretary or no treasurer. The minister is referred to as the circuit rider. There is also a full blown band.
The church has become so popular that many of the attendees are local residents who never miss a service. Many tourist who visit the Smokies on a regular basis have the Smoky Mountain Cowboy Church on their must-do list.
The church’s mission is to offer a service that utilizes both music and message to spread the Word. Each week talented artist from Nashville perform on stage. Talent is not merely restricted to Nashville, as performers from across the United States, Australia, Ireland and other locations have lent their talents to the service.
The very first artist to perform at Cowboy Church was actress, singer, songwriter Sheri Pedigo of Los Angeles. Among other artists to appear are Ricky Lynn Gregg, who has had several hit records, Jimmy Fortune, who was a member of the Statler Brothers, Gerald Smith from Hee Haw, a gifted songwriter whose music has been recorded by Lorrie Morgan, George Jones and other top recording artists.
George Hamilton IV was a frequent guest along with the great songwriter Dallas Frazier. Frazier penned the huge hit “Elvira” for the Oak Ridge Boys. Other Frazier songs have been recorded by George Strait, Randy Travis, Patty Loveless, Connie Smith and, of course, Engelbert Humperdinck’s rendition of “There Goes My Everything.”
Smoky Mountain Cowboy Church is an interdenominational service. There is no formal ritual to become a member. Just show up and become part of the service.
In addition to the local congregation, Cowboy Church is broadcasted in over 110 countries, reaching approximately 250 million listeners through Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, WWCR (World Wide Country Radio) and Music City Television.