Church Staff

3 Questions with Holly Tate

Holly Tate is the Director of Business Development at Vanderbloemen Search Group, a boutique executive search firm that helps churches and ministries find their key staff. In her role at Vanderbloemen, Holly's focus is providing resources that help church leaders build, run, and keep great teams. She is also the host of the Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast. Here are 3 questions I recently asked Holly:


Many people are curious what it's like working for Vanderbloemen Search Group, can you share a little bit about the unique culture and what it's like to lead a growing business that is serving the Church? 

I love this question because our workplace culture is one of my favorite things to talk about. Vanderbloemen Search Group is an executive search firm that helps churches and ministries find their key staff. The role we play in the Kingdom is an honor and an immense responsibility. 

We're passionate about helping leaders make sure they have the right people on their team, so of course we're intentional about our own hiring as well. Our President William Vanderbloemen has been intentional about hiring the right people and building a workplace culture where our people are valued and enjoy coming to work each day. 

A key decision William made in building a contagious culture is by bringing the team in-house to our office in Houston, TX. This was a crucial decision because it allows for vision-alignment and collaboration.

Our nine company values are at the heart of our aligned vision for helping churches build great teams. A couple of my favorites are Broadband Love and Constant Improvement. You can read about all nine of our values on our website here. We each have our values displayed on our desks, have a Values Spotlight in each team meeting, and even have someone on staff whose responsibility is to intentionally infuse our values into our day to day team rhythm so we stay focused on why we're doing what we're doing.

Having a team under the same roof has also been helpful for collaboration, which is one of the primary reasons our process is so effective. While virtual teams have their purpose, the fact that our team is under the same roof in an open office allows for both spontaneous and intentional collaboration to solve problems as we exercise our values of Ever-Increasing Agility and Solution-Side Living. Collaboration is invaluable in making sure that we help our clients find the right fit for their team. 

And if you keep an eye on our Instagram, you'll see that we have a ton of fun together. We celebrate our birthdays as a team, have an annual fitness competition, and most recently, we had our first ever #VanderCarving event where we picked 17 of our clients logos and carved them into pumpkins. It was so much fun! 

2015 has been an exciting year for our team. In September, we were voted the #6 Best Place to Work in Houston by Houston Business Journal, and in November, we were nationally recognized as one of Entrepreneur's Top Company Cultures in the Small Business Enterprise category.


VSG has grown tremendously over the past 5 years, what do you accredit that growth to and what can other small businesses learn from your progression?

When I joined the team about three and a half years ago, there were only about 8 of us on staff, and now we have over 30 full-time Vanderbloemen employees.

As I think about your question, many things things come to mind that have contributed to our growth. Here are a few:  

One is what I discussed above about our contagious culture. Having a great place to work helps us keep high-capacity people on our team who are committed to our mission and serve our clients well. 

Another reason is because our leadership team has been intentional about choosing systems that scale. William speaks about this topic to church leaders often, because choosing systems that scale is vital to any organization that desires sustained growth. Rapid growth is exciting, but it's not scalable. One thing leaders should ask themselves when finding a solution to a problem is, "Does this solution still work if we were to double overnight?" If not, rethink your system. 

Our value of Ever-Increasing Agility is another contribution to our growth. We recently had our Fall 2015 Executive Pastor Coaching Network. William told the group in a session, "The older you get, the less flexible (physically) you become. The same is true for your church--the older it gets, the less flexible it becomes." This is true for any organization. Our team is always trying to become more agile as we seek to serve our churches and ministries well. 


As you continue to "Staff the Church" what trends are you seeing and what shifts do you expect will take place over the next 5 years or so?

One trend we're seeing that we hope will continue into the future is church leaders being more intentional about pastoral succession. It's been a taboo topic for far too long. Pastoral succession sets up pastors and churches for long-term health, so our desire is to see church leaders start the conversation about what succession looks like in their church's context.  

Another trend we're seeing is church leaders focusing on reaching and engaging millennials. As the generation gap increases in churches, pastors and church leaders are understanding that reaching millennials is different from reaching boomers and are working to intentionally bridge the generation gap in their church.

We're also seeing the evolution of the Children's Pastor role. Traditionally, the Children's Pastor role has been undervalued. We're seeing this change as churches seek high-capacity Children and Family Ministry leaders who are passionate about discipleship and family development. The demand for Children's Pastors is extremely high right now, which we're excited about, because we believe that Children's Ministry is the growth engine of the church. 


You can follow Holly on Twitter for more great insights from her!