Dr. Dray A. Bland, Lead Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Dray A. Bland is a native of Haines City, FL, where he spent the majority of his formative years. The Rev. Dr. Dray Bland received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at the Friendship Baptist Church of Dundee, FL. The Rev. Dray Bland surrendered to the gospel ministry at an early age, was licensed to the Gospel ministry in March 1999 and was ordained July of 2007 by the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Dundee, FL under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Edward E. Bland.
The Rev. Dr. Dray Bland was educated in the public schools of Polk County, FL. He matriculated at Florida State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Political Science and Religion, as well as, a Certificate of Public Administration. While studying at FSU, Reverend Bland was selected to serve the state of Florida as a gubernatorial intern in the Executive Office of the Governor. He was also inducted into the Garnet and Gold Key Honor Society. After completing FSU he attended seminary at Duke University Divinity School where he received the Master of Divinity and a Certificate in Baptist Studies. Currently, Rev. Bland received the Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership at Southern Methodist University (Perkins School of Theology) in December 2015.
Dr. Bland serves as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Burlington, NC. Most recently he served the First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, AZ as Executive Pastor under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr., Senior Pastor. Previously, Rev. Bland served 4 ½ years as the Assistant Minister/Minister of Discipleship at the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Bland has served congregations in Florida and North Carolina in the capacities of Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor respectively. In addition to his service to local churches, he also served as President of the National Baptist Youth Convention of America (2006-2008) and was one of the youngest board members in the history of Advocacy for the Poor—a nonprofit which advocated and responded to the needs of the homeless, the poor and the needy. Currently, Dr. Bland serves as a member of the General Board the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Pastor Bland lives by the motto “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”