Cowboy Church inspires 96-year-old to be baptized

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 17 at 12:14 AM

BALCH SPRINGS — "It's never too late." That's what one family is saying after their 96-year-old father did something they never thought he'd do.

They credit the Dallas County Cowboy Church in Balch Springs for helping to make it happen well beyond Bert Devers' golden years.

You see, he never really wanted to go to church at all — until he saw folks worshiping "Western-style."

It's a boot-stomping good time at the Cowboy Church, which isn't your typical scene in the faith community. There aren't a lot of crosses here, but there are symbols of everything that's country.

"You know, I hear people say all the time, 'I love Cowboy Church,'" said Pastor Mike McKinney as he donned a special red Western shirt for a momentous occasion.

"Being baptized don't save you," he told his congregation. "It's just water... and on top of that, it's Balch Springs water!"

A little humor prepared his congregation for something serious as Bert Devers was baptized for the first time in his life.

Gary Devers, who is a member of the congregation, knew something was up when his father recently asked for his own cowboy hat. He had never before worn Western gear.

"He tells me, 'When I show up at the Cowboy Church with my straw hat, everybody there's gonna think there's a new sheriff in town!'" the younger Devers said with a laugh.

All stirrups and saddles aside, a man who just survived congestive heart failure now has a healed heart — for more than one reason.

Despite two broken hips, this 96-year-old is now walking in faith, something he'd never done his whole life.

"It's very exciting today because we've prayed many years for this to happen," said tearful daughter Sandra Devers.

"Before he became a Christian, he had lost his will to live," Gary Devers added. "Then later on, as things progressed, he told one of my neighbors now he wants to make it to 100, and I think that will happen now."

Bert Devers professed his faith two year sago at age 94. His family says the Cowboy Church has a way of reaching people that other traditional churches don't reach... but they teach from the Bible just the same.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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