In chapter 16 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus commands His disciples to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Caleb Saunders, the director of Teamwork Missions and a graduate of Seffner Christian Academy, strives to live out this commandment daily.
After graduating in May with a double major in Theology and Christian Ministry from Welch College in Nashville, Tennessee, the 22-year-old returned home and founded Team Missions, a nonprofit ministry that offers short-term mission trips and excursions within the United States.
With the motto of “Reaching in, Reaching out, Reaching up,” the nonprofit focuses on providing opportunities for youth groups and college-age students to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“I felt a strong calling early on. Growing up, missions were always important to me,” explained Caleb. “My parents always supported missionaries, and my dad was a youth pastor who led a number youth group mission trips.”
Caleb’s father, Johnny Saunders, who is the youth pastor for First Free Will Baptist Church and Seffner Christian Academy, also supports the organization. Acting as a board member for Team Missions and a mentor to son Caleb, the duo brings forth years of mission work experience.
“Teenagers in our present community have more information about God than have experience serving God,” said Johnny. “We want to close that gap and give them the meaningful experiences that help grow their faith. That’s why the experiences of these trips are so important.”
The threefold ministry officially launched the end of last year with a soft opening in June. In addition to planning the mission trips for churches, the ministry also offers Christian Heritage and History tours in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington D.C. The heritage tours emphasize the importance faith played in the lives of the Founding Fathers.
The third component centers on teaching apologetics. Caleb is currently pursuing a Master Degree in Christian Apologetics at Liberty University, and so he travels to churches and schools to speak to youth on how to defend the Christian faith.
As a youth pastor, Johnny recognized a need for this type of ministry and said, “I know youth pastors get busy with their day to day dealing with their youth group, church and different activities, and so this ministry helps youth leaders by taking off a big load with customizing mission trips.”