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HorseGate Ministry uses horses to share Christ
By Larry Killam
ELBERT- What do you think when you look at a horse? Is it another of God's creations, or maybe you just never gave it much thought. When I see a horse, I think about an opportunity to share Christ.
Like a Christian songwriter who wants to write songs that honor and praise God, I want to use the horse to honor and praise God. Thus, God has called into creation HorseGate ministry.
It all started in 1997 at a John Lyon's Horse Symposium in Denver. John is a Christian and tours the world teaching people about horses.
He starts his Sundays with a Cowboy Worship Service. I was at a service one Sunday and learned how to share Christ through the horse.
From the equipment used with a horse, to the animal's behavior and instincts, there are many ways to relate spiritual principles to the everyday activities surrounding horsemanship.
What impressed me about this approach was that while the service extended 15 minutes past the allotted time, people who chose not to come for the service were standing on the side listening to a message about Christ. They were standing there listening because they loved horses and John was using a horse.
After that, God opened doors and led me to start HorseGate Ministry. At first, my time was divided between my job and the ministry. Later, God poured into my heart the desire to leave my job and go full-time with HorseGate Ministry.
In 2002, after a tremendous time of struggling and prayer, I stepped into the saddle of faith. I'm so glad I did; it has been a challenging and great trail ride.
HorseGate Ministry (HGM) has both a mission and vision statement. The mission statement is threefold:
- Proclaim Jesus as the gate to eternal heaven (John 14:6).
- For people without hope to accept and know Jesus as their personal savior.
- To challenge Christians in their commitment to Jesus and help them strengthen their relationship with Him.
- The vision is to take any horse, any time, with anyone and share Christ.
The name HorseGate comes from 2 Chronicles 23:15, Nehemiah 3:28 and Jeremiah 31:40. The horse gate was located on Jerusalem's East Wall next to or connected to King Solomon's palace. By the way, King Solomon had 12,000 horses but not all at Jerusalem.
HGM travels to churches, camps, equestrian events, backyards and schools. With two horses and a portable round pen (metal pen that is used to train horses) I can set up just about anywhere.
I've done vacation Bible schools, Sunday schools, church day camps and block parties. Several Christian schools have invited me to share Christ with their first- through fifth-grade classes.
In these settings, I set up the round pen and present a message interacting with the audience. It is sort of a church service on the move. Sometimes my podium (the horse) runs away with my notes.
Another way HGM shares Christ is through riding lessons that range from two-to-seven hours.
"Creation of a Relation" and "It is not Finished" teach basic horsemanship and how to have a relationship with Christ.
In these lessons, kids get to groom, saddle and ride. The "WEST" lesson is for preschoolers and it teaches them how to train a horse and God wants to train us. The kids get to decorate a wooden stick horse and take it home to practice the lesson.
Another two-hour class is a horse/archery class titled "Sin." From God's Word, the kids learn what the Bible says about archery and then they get to shoot from the ground, and if they want, from the back of the horse.
The title "Sin" comes from an archery term that means to miss the mark. If Jesus is our mark in life and we miss, then we sin.
Presently, HGM is not a non-profit, but is a ministry of First Baptist Church of Black Forest. There is no charge for sharing Christ, but all donations are greatly appreciated.
Each year I look forward to seeing the opportunities God has for HGM.
If you have questions or want more information about HGM, contact Larry Killam at (719) 495-3148 or visit the web site at www.horsegateministry.org. I look forward to sharing Christ with you through the horse.