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Pastor adds country music to his witness for Christ

IBERIA, Mo. (BP)–Where Quintin Davis was raised, country music is as essential to residents in the Bootheel of Missouri as cornbread and milk. Most radio dials are set on country stations, and Davis’ was no exception.
“While I was growing up, I had a job carrying out groceries for a supermarket, and I would sing country songs as I worked,” recalled Davis, now pastor of First Baptist Church, Iberia, Mo. “Later, I drove a truck 15 and 16 hours a day, and I would imitate George Jones and Merle Haggard while I was driving. Country music was all my dad listened to.”
When Davis entered the ministry, however, the lyrics of country music did not match his lifestyle, and he quit listening to the music altogether.
Then he found that country and Christian could be combined in witnessing.
“A few years ago, I was so out of touch with the country music scene that when someone told me I sounded like Garth Brooks I had to go out and get his tape to find out what he sounded like,” Davis said. “Then I heard a (Christian country singer) Bruce Haynes tape and I loved the music.”
Davis sang his first special in church just five years ago. Now, he is writing his own lyrics while his wife, Janelle, helps put them to music.
His soft voice and country Christian style have reached many in a short time.
“I understand Christian stations in Kennett and Poplar Bluff have played my tapes,” Davis said, “but I’ve never heard myself on the radio.”
He has brought his style of music to nursing homes, churches, campgrounds and town festivals.
“I did a concert in Roscoe, Mont., while I was on vacation,” Davis said. “People weren’t really expecting Christian music, and it seemed like the whole town showed up. Everyone seemed to like it.
“In front of the stage was a young man who struck me as really listening to the words. I presented the plan of salvation; I always do when I perform. Two days later, that boy was killed in a kayaking accident. At least I know he heard the Word.”
Davis made a tape in his home church — First Baptist of Dexter, Mo. — to give to his mother and father for a Christmas present. He has completed a second tape, which has been sent to a studio for production.
Don Kennedy, director of media ministries for the Dexter church, worked with Davis in the recording studio. “Quintin has a tremendous voice,” Kennedy said. “He came out of our youth group here, and I never even knew he could sing.”
Kennedy said Davis has the potential for a far-reaching ministry.
“There’s a huge group of people who like country music, but country gospel singers are kind of few and far between.”
Davis said he made 500 to 600 copies of the first tape for distribution, and several people have used it in their witness. One man told him, “I can give a tape like this to my brother, who isn’t a Christian.”
Surprisingly, Davis knows very little about music. “I can’t play a note and I can’t read a lick of music, but I have always sung,” he said. “I wake up singing and I go to bed singing.”
Although Davis loves to sing, right now he is content to serve as pastor of the Iberia church, and he performs only when invited.
In fact, Davis’ love of singing creates a problem for him. He loses his voice easily. Rehearsal before a performance consists of running through only one song because of his tendency to lose his voice.
“I’ve had to quit singing around the house so much to save my voice.”

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  • Pat Hindman