Posted on March 20, 2024 Cloud of Witnesses – Feature David V. Sagar

Cloud of Witnesses – Celebrating 210th Anniversary of International Ministries

Rev. Dr. David V. Sagar

International Ministries Consultant for India Development


I, David V Sagar (Dadhipogu Vidya Sagar) am the founding pastor of Antioch Telugu Baptist Church, which was planted on October 13, 1991 in Northlake, Illinois. I am a third generation Baptist Christian from Andhra Pradesh, India. I was born and raised in the town of Nellore. In 1982, I migrated from India to the USA and became a citizen.

The first Telugu Baptist Mission station was established in 1842 by American Baptist missionary Dr. Samuel Day in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh under the banner of Lone Star Telugu Mission.

During my childhood, my father spoke often about the sacrificial, well-disciplined, and committed work of the American Baptist missionaries, especially regarding Rev. Rock Wood.

My mother served in American Baptist Mission (ABM) Girls High School as a teacher and my grandmother served as a Bible teacher with American Baptist missionaries. My maternal grandfather served as the President of Ramapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary in South India.

I have witnessed in my hometown Nellore the monumental service of American Baptist missionaries in ABM Hospital, ABM High School and Coles Ackerman Mission High school, and their discipline, dignity, and fervor to serve and develop the community. I am ever grateful to the International Ministries (IM) hitherto called American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS). Sadly now, those monumental institutions have become fragments of society. After American Baptist missionaries left India, Indian leadership took over and some have done exceptionally great work to continue the mission work and others did not. Due to many issues, unity lost among Telugu Baptists.

In 1982 I came to the U.S. with a burdened heart to know how I could be helpful to my native brothers and sisters in India. I am thankful to Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, Area Director of East and  South Asia, who has encouraged, supported, and connected me to serve in IM India mission. In 2006, I started my first mission trip to India. I visited many places in India where ABFMS missionaries’ splendid and sacrificial work had been rendered from Kodaikanal International School, South India to Nagaland, Northeast India.

Thanks to IM with their initiation and encouragement, I established Telugu Baptist Samaikyatha (Spirit of bringing Unity) among Telugu Baptists in cooperation with IM India Relief Officer Dr. Wilson Kumar and committed Telugu Baptist Pastors and church leaders.

In 1991 I earned my Master of Divinity degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. From 1994 to 1998 I did a doctoral level advanced study in Clinical Pastoral Counseling. In 2011, I earned my Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership Transformation at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.

Serving as IM Consultant for India Development and building on number of years of service as a special assistant to Rev. Chan, I was able to provide discipleship and leadership training, and build networks to bless Indian communities globally.  I am a resource person for the Baptist Council of Telugu Churches and the India Mission Coordination Committee.  I was also instrumental in connecting North East Christian University with the Center for Religion & Psychotherapy of Chicago.


*Ben Chan: Special thanks to Cathy Holmes for proof-reading the article