“We really liked the network Vanderbloemen brought and their ability to cast a broad net.”
- Alex Baez Business Administrator
The Bridge Fellowship in Sugar Land, Texas, is all about fostering their “kitchen environment.”
Alex Baez, the Business Administrator at The Bridge, explains: “Life change happens most in our small groups - in the living rooms and kitchens of our small group leaders’ homes. If something is going on in your life, your small group is where you will share it. Not at Sunday school.”
The Bridge Fellowship understands that outside the walls of their physical church building is where many people can find freedom, restoration, and hope. Sunday mornings are a chance to prime a much deeper conversation that will happen in small groups, a conversation about Jesus and how he works intimately in our lives.
With small groups being so central to the heart of the church, having someone lead and champion those small groups was critical to the church leaders.
So when The Bridge found themselves without a Group Life Director, they began leaning into personal networks, posting the position online, and tapping a few individuals on the shoulder.
After 18 months of searching on their own, the leadership at The Bridge had nothing to show for it. Alex said, “We exhausted our network. We were asking friends and friends of friends, and we couldn’t find anyone. That’s always how we did it. But listing it on job sites wasn’t the way to go for this role.”
For Alex and the rest of the leadership team, the countless hours spent on this search or the energy already invested in interviewing wasn’t the biggest issue. The bigger issue was that during those 18 months of searching, small group involvement went from 90% to 60%. The lack of someone who would champion the importance of community outside of the church building left a vacuum, and the number of individuals involved in small groups began to shrink.
The leadership at The Bridge decided to take the search in a different direction, one that started with a conversation with Vanderbloemen Search Group.
On why they chose to partner with Vanderbloemen, Alex said, “We really liked the network Vanderbloemen brought and their ability to cast a broad net. We weren’t able to find many pastors with small group experience, but we knew the breadth of Vanderbloemen’s network would bring the right candidates to the surface.”
Keeping the significance of this search close to heart, the Vanderbloemen team took the search coast to coast, relying on years of experience and much-needed prayer as they came alongside The Bridge.
We’re firm believers that God only calls one person to one place at a time. And at this time, He was calling Steven Sanchez to The Bridge.
With a background in leading and organizing small groups, Steven brought exactly what The Bridge was looking for: Someone who understood the importance of community outside of the church walls.
It wasn’t easy for Alex and The Bridge leadership to step out of their network and partner with Vanderbloemen. There were unknowns, all boiling down to one big question: “Will Vanderbloemen really understand how crucial this hire is?”
Looking back on the search, Alex reflects that they couldn’t have made a better choice than partnering with Vanderbloemen, stating, “We should have brought them in sooner.”