The Rev. Dr. David V. Sagar of Schiller Park, Illinois, has been appointed to serve with International Ministries (IM) as an associate development worker in South India. He will work with the Baptist Convention of Telugu Churches, a partner of IM, in discipleship training and leadership development.
Born into a Christian family in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India, Sagar and his family worshiped at the Lone Star Telugu Baptist Church, organized in 1844 by Dr. Samuel Day, a missionary sent by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now IM).
Sagar immigrated to the U.S. in 1982 and became a naturalized citizen in 2005. Today, his home church is the Antioch Telugu Baptist Church in Northlake, Illinois, the church he planted 28 years ago. It is the first Telugu Baptist church in the U.S. His ministry with IM in India is also a global extension of the ministry of Antioch Telegu Baptist Church. Sagar, like other non-residential IM global servants, will reside in the U.S. and make three to four extended trips to India annually. Technology allows cross-cultural ministry to occur without the cost of relocation.
“I am grateful to God and thankful to IM for giving me an opportunity to serve in India,” said Sagar. “My childhood memories of American Baptist educational and medical institutions and their discipline, growth and vibrancy illustrated for me the missionaries’ committed, sacrificial and dedicated services. This played a very significant role in my life. Now, there is a great desire and hope in me that all my academic, theological and special education, along with my sacerdotal and secular experience attained in U.S., will help me encourage and equip leaders to carry on God’s mission more effectively within the Indian context. I have already started this work and will continue more constructively with the help of the Lord.”
Sagar, who has served for the past 11 years as the special assistant to South India for the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, IM area director for East and South Asia, has built valuable relationships with churches and Christian organizations in India already. He is quite familiar with the joys and challenges of ministry in the predominately Hindu, yet spiritually diverse, country.
“David has great love for his fellow people and his home country,” said Chan. “After witnessing his faithful and effective ministry for many years, I am glad to see David move into a new position to strengthen our mission in India and to bless Indian communities globally.”
Sagar’s personal call to serve the Lord came after a tragedy within his family. After a period of prayer and mourning, Sagar responded to God’s call to ministry service and enrolled in Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned a Master of Divinity in evangelism and counseling in 1991 and a Doctor of Ministry in leadership transformation in 2011. His call to service as an IM development worker is a natural next step.
“IM takes a significant step in appointing a Telugu-speaking native of India, David Sagar, to serve as an associate development worker to Telugus in India, the second largest populated country in the world,” comments the Rev. Dr. Rodney Ragwan, IM director of Mission Mobilization. “We are excited about this and look forward to David strengthening the work that Dr. Samuel Day began almost two centuries ago.”
Sagar has been an active member of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago region since 1988. The Rev. Carol McVetty, interim executive minister of the region, writes: “We are delighted to learn that Rev. Sagar has been appointed as an associate development worker by IM. He is a highly valued and committed pastor in our region. He brings many gifts to this new role, as well as a warm and loving spirit. The work of our partners in India will be greatly strengthened by his support.”