Alumni Spotlight | David Bledsoe
Celebrating 21 Years as an IMB Missionary
The following three words summarize the counsel that David Bledsoe, a MABTS alumnus, received when he left to be a missionary: “Go and Stay.” He now reflects upon that advice 21 years later.
David and his wife Laurie have been missionaries to Brazil for over two decades. They serve through the International Mission Board (IMB) of the SBC. While they have seen God do amazing things, David is quick to say any success in ministry is despite his sinfulness and weaknesses.
One might associate Brazil with the term “mission force” which implies the country has a large representation of professing evangelical Christians and sends out its own missionaries to other countries. David is grateful that other places in the world receive Brazilian missionaries. However, he still questions how much the country should be seen as a “mission force” rather than a “mission field” given the proliferation of erroneous teaching and the superficial understanding of the gospel, discipleship, and the church.
This is one reason God has called David to labor alongside Brazilian Baptist churches to help pastors and missionaries in two key areas: being disciples of Christ and making disciples of Christ in and through their local churches. Through a partnership with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, David serves as a Brazil-side coordinator and professor of missions in their Master of Theological Studies program. He also serves as faculty in several Brazilian seminaries, evaluates program curriculum, guides master-level students in their theses, as well as engages in personal evangelism and disciple-making.
In the last five years, David has felt lead to focus on church health. This new endeavor has led him to teach courses in ecclesiology and lead trainings. David remarked that church health must be emphasized, along with personal evangelism and discipleship. A Brazilian publishing house in the country has committed to publishing Bledsoe’s ecclesiology textbook next year. At the time of the interview, David was putting some of the theory of this work in practice as he guided a church through the painful experience of correcting and dismissing its pastor for moral failure.
Longevity is not as much a predictor of success in missions as faithfulness. David and Laurie pray they will be faithful till the end. They are thankful for SBC churches who give to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions as well as support MABTS. Please pray for their many efforts in Brazil as they focus on making disciples of Jesus and promoting faithful churches.