Reverend Dr. Doyle Max Sager, age 69, of Jefferson City, MO, passed away peacefully Friday, January 22, 2021 at home surrounded by his loving family.
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Doyle was born on December 31, 1951 in Bethany, MO, the son of Norlin Max and Barbara Ellen (Hedges) Sager. Doyle married his high school sweetheart, Janet Summa, on April 14, 1972 and they have three grown children and eight grandchildren, all of them the absolute pride and joy of his life.
Doyle grew up on a farm near Maple Grove Baptist Church, where he made his profession of faith in Christ and later received his call to vocational ministry. After graduating from high school in Albany, MO, Doyle completed his B.S. Ed. degree from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO. He graduated Master of Divinity (1981) and Doctor of Ministry (1991) from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.
Doyle was ordained to the Gospel ministry June 7, 1970, by the McFall Baptist Church. Doyle served the following churches: McFall Baptist Church, McFall, MO, from 1970-1972; Calhoun Baptist Church, Calhoun, MO, from 1972-1975; King Hill Baptist Church, St. Joseph, MO (Associate Pastor, 1976-1977 and Senior Pastor, 1977-85); First Baptist Church, Sedalia, MO, 1985-1997; and First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, MO, 1997-2021.
Doyle served as president of the Missouri Baptist Convention (1995-96) and president of Churchnet (Baptist General Convention of Missouri; 2011-13). He was co-founder and president of Mainstream Missouri Baptists (1999-2002), an organization committed to preserving historic Baptist principles and distinctives in the face of fundamentalism. These include those which church historian, Walter Shurden, called the “four fragile freedoms” — Bible freedom, soul freedom, church freedom, and religious freedom for all people. He also served a three-year term on the national coordinating council of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Doyle was a member of the board of trustees of William Jewell College, Liberty, MO, for 19 years. He served as adjunct faculty at Midwestern Baptist Seminary and Golden Gate Seminary. For the past several years, Doyle wrote a monthly column for both Baptist News Global and Word and Way, a Missouri Baptist journal.
Doyle’s life mission statement expressed a desire to live God’s grace and to build bridges of understanding and love, and his life text was Galatians 5:22-23: “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”
Doyle passionately advocated for social justice. His justice advocacy work included Bread for the World and Missouri Faith Voices, and addressed issues such as predatory lending, immigration, racial justice, Medicaid Expansion, city transit needs, voting rights, environmental justice, and global food security. In June, 2015, Doyle received the Lift Every Voice For Justice Award at the Juneteenth Celebration in Jefferson City, MO.
Doyle was active in Baptist World Alliance and served a five-year term on its Commission of Social and Economic Justice. In July of 2020, he was elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the BWA’s Commission on Creation Care. In July of 2018, he presented a paper at the Baptist World Alliance in Zurich, Switzerland, on biblical perspectives of justice for children.
Because so many pastors helped Doyle when he accepted God’s call to vocational ministry at the age of 15, he counted it a privilege to pour his life into others through mentoring and discipling. For many years, he served as a peer group leader for doctoral seminarians and he personally mentored countless ministers and lay leaders.
For relaxation, Doyle followed Major League Baseball, collected old books, watched movies (especially old black and whites), and read poetry and presidential biographies. Doyle enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his wife, loving on his grandchildren, or voraciously reading books.
Doyle is survived by: his wife of 48 years, Janet Sager; his three children, Tamara Everly (Tim), Kristen Sager (Zach McCall), and Joel Sager (Zoe Hawk); eight grandchildren, Campbell, Maryn, Quintin, Oliver, Finneas, Sebastian, Ellen, and Cecilia; one brother, Rod Sager; one sister, Leslie Kerns (Ken); and many loved extended family members.
Due to the pandemic, a private family service will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at First Baptist Church with the Reverend Dr. Jim Hill officiating. A private family graveside and interment will be held the following day at Grandview Cemetery in Albany, MO.
All friends and family are invited to watch his service at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, January 30, 2021. Please visit fbcjc.org/doylesager for links and information.
The Sager family has requested that, in lieu of flowers or other gifts, a donation be made to the Doyle Sager Memorial Fund at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, MO, to help fund First Baptist’s investment in future Christian leaders. Donations may be given online at fbcjc.org/give (select “Doyle Sager Memorial Fund” from the menu) or by check, payable to First Baptist Church, 301. E. Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO, 65101. Please write “Doyle Sager Memorial Fund” in the memo field.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Freeman Mortuary.