Old timers wouldn’t recognize the village of Bracken nowadays. Well, except for the fact that the bass-fiddling country preacher is still there.

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JD1+Jack Day stands behind the pulpit at Black Oak Free Will Baptist Church — one of very few times, he notes, that’s happened without him wearing a suit and tie. 


Edit: Jack Day passed away on Feb. 9, 2016.

Jack Day was a fresh-faced preacher when he gave his first sermon at Black Oak Free Will Baptist Church on August 4, 1968. The 34-year-old had just been licensed as a minister, and some of the church’s deacons thought “the boy might make us a pastor” after hearing him preach at a local convention.

Turns out, they were right. After giving a couple of trial sermons, Jack was voted in and has been there ever since. “I’m seeing the third and fourth generation of people saved and baptized that was here when I come here,” says Jack of his 47 years at the church. “It goes back a little ways.”


 Following a different tune

Despite how things have worked out, Jack didn’t plan to become a minister. In fact, his first love was music. “I just started playing when I was a kid,” recalls Jack. “I first started playing a little ol’ ukulele. Then I got to playin’ the mandolin, then I got to playin’ the little fiddle…and this group was needing a bass player. So I went to town and bought me a bass and picked it right up and started playing with them.”

He picked it up well. The group – named The Clearwater Trio – proved good enough to perform on a weekly television show in Sedalia. “The band guys would come and get me because I couldn’t even drive,” says Jack, who remembers leaving after school on Friday to go up for the shows.

I’ve not always been a preacher. I’ve seen fights. I’ve seen stabbins.’…And so it’s sorta been educational. When I preach against sin, and I preach against drinkin,’ I know what I’m talkin’ about.”

While they were on the road, the group found extra money by playing in nightclubs – venues that, believe it or not, the minister appreciates today. But not in ways one might expect.

“I can put it thisaway, and I hope you understand what I mean: I’m truly ashamed of what I did and how I played, where I played,” says Jack. “But it wasn’t all in vain, and I’ll tell you why. Now, then, when I talk about sin, and I talk about what them kinda things will do for you, I know what I’m talkin’ about. I’ve not always been a preacher. I’ve seen fights. I’ve seen stabbins.’ I’ve seen everything in those places. And I’ve seen husbands with other people’s wives. And things like that. And so it’s sorta been educational. When I preach against sin, and I preach against drinkin,’ I know what I’m talkin’ about.”

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