October 15, 2018 – Houston-based Vanderbloemen Search Group, which finds leaders for churches and ministries, has appointed Sutton Turner as its chief operating officer. He brings a combined 23 years of business and ministry experience to his role.
“We have been fortunate to have seen many years of repeated and robust growth, and our work is at an unprecedented size and scope,” said William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group. “Now the question for Vanderbloemen isn’t just growth, but how we scale as growth hits a new gear.”
“Sutton is just the right person to help us take our systems and processes to an even better level of excellence,” he said. “The combination of his extensive business expertise and direct experience working in the church give him, and Vanderbloemen, a unique alchemy for a great future. I’m grateful he’s here and more optimistic than ever about our future.”
Mr. Turner previously led five different businesses across three different countries (U.S., Qatar, and Abu Dhabi) as CEO, starting three companies from scratch and growing them to large, sustainable operations. He also has significant ministry experience. He joined the staff of Mars Hill Church in Seattle in 2011 as general manager before being promoted to executive pastor, executive elder and board member. When he arrived, Mars Hill had a weekly attendance of 8,500 over nine sites. During his time there, the church grew to a peak attendance of 15,000 across five states and 15 locations. Mars Hill had a weekly podcast audience of more than 250,000. Mr. Turner also served as executive director for Celebration Church, in Georgetown, TX, from 2006 to 2008.
“I am excited about this opportunity to see Vanderbloemen grow in serving more churches as well as expanding our presence into new areas of values-based organizations,” Mr. Turner said. “We have an amazing and talented team ready to go to the next level.”
Vanderbloemen Search Group is a pastor-focused search firm that helps churches and faith-based organizations find mission-driven leaders. It has completed hundreds of searches serving churches and ministries from 70 to 70,000 in size, including nearly 100 denominations and tribes. Churches and values-based organizations such as Life.Church, Mariners Church, Central Christian Church, Leadership Network, Ramsey Solutions, St. John XXIII College Preparatory School, and Caring Network Illinois (formerly CareNet of Dupage) are representative of those who choose to retain Vanderbloemen to help find key staff.
The firm was founded in 2010 by Mr. Vanderbloemen, who has combined over 15 years of ministry experience as a senior pastor with the best practices of executive search to provide churches with a unique, and some would say, inspirational offering.
Among its recent placements, the search firm has recruited:
- David Eldridge as senior pastor for 2,500-member Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. Dawson’s previous leader had served for 26 years.
- Joe Skillen as senior pastor of Advent Presbyterian Church in Cordova, TN, which has a membership of 1,100. The search took nine months to complete.
- Patrick Schwenk as future lead pastor of New Hope Community Church in Bryan, OH. This search came along with succession consulting to make for a smooth transition in the role.
- Jon Ritner as lead pastor for Ecclesia Hollywood, a non-denominational church in Los Angeles. “It didn’t feel like a business transaction, but like building the kingdom,” said executive pastor Gary Clemmer, about his experience of working with Vanderbloemen.
- Phillip Miller as lead pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Olympia, WA. The previous senior pastor, Lee Forstrum, was retiring after 41 years of service.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media