“I see the Charis Fellowship as my family of families,” said Andrew Saunders, who is the fourth generation in his family to be actively involved in the Charis Fellowship.
Andrew grew up in Pennsylvania, where his dad served as lead pastor at the Ephrata Area Grace Brethren Church for eighteen years. He came to know the Lord at a young age and began taking his faith seriously in middle school. At the age of sixteen, Andrew committed to pursue full-time ministry while on a Momentum Ministry Partners Travel Team (then known as Operation Barnabas).
Andrew and his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, attended Grace College together and were married in December 2000. He graduated from Grace Seminary in 2003, in the same class as Fellowship Coordinator Tim Hodge, and began working at Palmyra Grace Church as a youth pastor, a position he held for seven years.
In 2009 Andrew accepted the family pastor role at Penn Valley Church. At the time, Penn Valley had three campuses. In 2017 Andrew transitioned into the role of network coordinator and campus leadership team coordinator. The three campuses have since become autonomous, and in October 2021 Andrew moved into the role of networking coordinator for the Charis Fellowship.
“I love the Charis Fellowship, and I’m passionate about the movement God has placed me in,” Andrew said.
This role of helping the Fellowship practice interdependence through relational networking draws on Andrew’s networking skills acquired while at Penn Valley and his passion for people. “I love opportunity to get to know new people in the Fellowship,” he said, “and to partner with other leaders to continue to foster movement.”
Andrew works closely with Tim Hodge, and both serve on the executive team with Phil Sparling, executive director of the Charis Fellowship. He helps plan and lead the five regional focus retreats as well as the national conference of the Fellowship. Andrew also serves as the assistant executive director on the Fellowship Council, assisting Phil with guidance and leadership of the council.
The past few months Andrew has spent getting to know pastors and ministry leaders across the Fellowship. Moving forward, Andrew plans to facilitate cohorts to foster connection. “We want to see every leader connected,” he said. “Depending on one another for relationship and missional support is a vital piece of the Fellowship. How do we continue to foster relationships through strategic networking?”
Andrew and Elizabeth live in Telford, Pa., where Elizabeth works as a fifth grade teacher at Grace Christian School at Penn Valley. They have six children: Malachi (20), Kailey (18), Brayden (18), Gracie (14), Josiah (12), and Luke (9).
Connect with Andrew here.