Pastor Doug Sauder's
Pastor Doug Sauder is the Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Pastor Doug’s Sauder's Bio
Was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Graduated from South Plantation High School and Florida International University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.
Attended the Apostolic Christian Church in Plantation as a young man.
Worked as a teacher and coach before becoming a youth pastor,
Was ordained to the ministry in October 2004.
Married Suzanne on February 28, 1993.
Has three children: Jackson, Kaden, and Kennedy.
Likes playing chess, basketball, and reading.
Spent a summer in Illinois working at Billy’s Lemonade. When the Health Department shut them down, he walked out of the mall without a shirt on, because he wanted his $20 shirt deposit back.
Drinks iced tea by the gallon.
Has written a book titled The One Factor.
Pastors a church that has 20,000 in weekly attendance.
Serving the Body
For the past fifteen years, Pastor Doug has been on staff serving in a variety of pastoral roles, including teaching weekend and mid-week services as well as serving as the president of 4KIDS of South Florida. As part of his role as lead pastor, he leads the teaching team and the vision teams as they work hard to fulfill our mission to make disciples in South Florida and beyond.
How would you describe your current role and responsibilities?
One of the most important roles of a leader is casting vision. Vision is about directing attention. It’s about answering the question: “Where does God want us to go?” As a leadership team, when we press in to hear His voice and then share it with others, we will all have a clear path to follow (Psalm 25:14). My job is to lead in that process and mobilize our church body to action. It starts with the teaching of the Word, worship and prayer, and then emanates outward in connecting with people and reaching beyond us. We know we are doing our job when we have mobilized the church to fulfill their role in building up the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:12). When we have made disciples, they will transform their community, and God will get the credit.
How did you become a believer?
When I was twelve, I felt this heightened sense of the reality that God existed. I wanted to follow God, but didn’t know what to do, so eventually my heart cooled. I stopped praying and became more of an agnostic. At times, I would sit at home drunk and pray, “God, if you make a car drive by my house at 3am, then I’ll know that you’re real and I’ll follow you.” If someone could have guaranteed that God was real, I’d have been right there—I’m not one to do things halfway. After a near-death experience while on a camping trip in Minnesota, I started thinking, “If I’m wrong and God is real, I’m taking a major risk that could have a really bad payoff.” That led me to a pathetic sinner’s prayer: “God, if you’re up there, I’m going for it.” And nothing’s been the same since.
Who are your favorite people from the Bible?
I guess Joseph, Joshua, and Nehemiah, since they were all visionary leaders. They helped people "see" the end and inspired them to get there in spite of their current circumstances. They had a spiritual tenacity to lead people through tremendous obstacles. That’s why my favorite phrase is “We’ll get there.” When things seem overwhelming, I want people to remember that, if God is leading us, if it's His vision, then we’ll get there. People will follow a leader who is following someone himself . . . so if I can stay close to Jesus and hear His voice, there is nothing we cannot accomplish together.
Your family has a fairly unique medical history.
My parents had four sons, but two of my brothers and my first son, Jordan, all died from the same genetic disorder. My older brother and I have the “balanced” form of the gene, so we are carriers, but my two brothers and my son were “unbalanced,” so they had extreme difficulties. My oldest brother died after just three days, but the doctors didn’t know the cause. My younger brother, Daniel, was born with severe problems with his heart and lungs and lived like an infant for six years. Much of my childhood was spent in hospitals.
Even after Jordan, you went on to have another son. How difficult was that?
Jackson is adopted, but when we wanted to get pregnant, we expected the genetic counselor to say that the chance would be something like 1 in 100. But they said it was closer to 1 in 3, so we had Kaden against medical advice. We later adopted Kennedy, who was one of our foster children.
Tell us about your family
My wife is my best friend and an amazing partner in life and ministry. She is a wise, passionate, insightful, no-nonsense confidant who is my greatest encourager. I think the best description of how I feel about her friendship over the last 20+ years is found in Proverbs 31:11, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her.”
Family is a priority for us. Raising three teenage boys can be quite a challenge, but it’s also our greatest joy. We are proud parents of our “sons of thunder” and we hope they make their impact on this world for Jesus—each in his own way.