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Lead Team

Our Lead Team of Directors each oversee an integral part of the Small Group Network. If you are interested in joining our leadership team to serve in any of these ministry areas, please email a director.

Steve Gladen
FOUNDER
Meet Steve

Derek Olson
SGN Development
Meet Derek

Carolyn Taketa
Director of Podcast Communications
Meet Carolyn

Hector Paredes
Latin America Director
Meet Hector

Jason Banzhoff
Creative Arts Director
Meet Jason

Jon Laster
Social Media Director
Meet Jon

Daniel Thomas
Events Director
Meet Daniel

Philip Byers
North America Connections Director
Meet Philip

Nick Lenzi
Finance Director
Meet Nick

Reid Smith
Communities of Purpose Director
Meet Reid

Andrea Minor
Connections Coordinator
Meet Andrea

Nick Lenzi

Finance Director

724-331-7727

nick@smallgroupnetwork.com

Nick is our Finance Director. He and his team prayerfully plan and strategize on how to grow the small group network budget so that we can extend our reach around the world in equipping and resourcing small group point people, pastors & leaders in fulfilling the great commission. Nick is also the Dinner Group Director at Hoboken Grace Community Church in Hoboken, NJ.

Daniel Thomas

Events Director

423-534-9321

daniel@smallgroupnetwork.com

Daniel serves as Pastor of Leadership Development at Highlands Fellowship Church in Abingdon, VA and serves as our Events Director in laying the groundwork for our "Accelerate!" Small Group Workshops. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden. 

Steve Gladen

FOUNDER

949-836-6052

steve@smallgroupnetwork.com

Steve is the Global Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church since 1998. He oversees the strategic launch and development of over 7,000 adult small groups on multiple campuses. He has authored Small Groups With Purpose, which has been translated into eight languages to date, and Leading Small Groups With Purpose. He frequently speaks at conferences and consults with church leaders both in the United States and around the world. He has a driving passion to see each church attendee connected to a qualified shepherd and become an integral part of their church body, living purposefully for Christ. Steve is also the Founder of the Small Group Network (SGN) giving influence and oversight to all the SGN initiatives. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1985, and a B.A. in Biblical Studies, with minors in Greek and Philosophy in 1982, from Evangel University. Steve and Lisa have been married since 1989 and have two children, Erika and Ethan.

Hector Paredes

Latin America Director

949-300-5553

hector@smallgroupnetwork.com

To help in this area, please email Hector

From Southern California where he serves as a Small Group Host at Saddleback Church, Hector serves as our Global Connections Director overseeing our international teams in Africa, Australia, Latin America and more. He and his team will begin with gathering and translating small group resources so that the pastors & small group point people are able to use effectively in Latin America. Hector has also volunteered in many capacities, and has led, hosted, or coached small groups since he was 17, in addition to leading mission trips outside the U.SA. His passions are Christ, his family, discipling new believers and equipping leaders, and a good cup of coffee. He is a world traveller, enjoys sailing hiking and skiing. Hector married his beautiful wife, Olina, and they have two small children, Tiago and Amelie.

Philip Byers

North America Connections Director

940-453-5779

philip@smallgroupnetwork.com

To help in this area, please email Philip

Philip is the Executive Pastor at Historic church in Dallas, Texas where he pastors the small group ministry. God used small groups to greatly change his life. His greatest passion is to help people discover their identity and calling in Jesus and then live it out! 

Andrea Minor

Connections Coordinator

949-609-8530

andream@saddleback.com

Over 25 years of ministry to small group leaders and staff, and a deep love of her personal small groups led Andrea Minor to SGN to help build and envision leaders and teams to grow and experience life change together. Leadership is Andrea’s first love and watching good leaders become great leaders of small groups ministries is the best part of her job. Serving under Steve and Derek at Saddleback Central is a joy and pleasure and sitting under Rick Warren’s visionary leadership is such a blessing. Andrea has been married to Rex for 37 years and they have 3 married adult children and two darling grandkids.

Carolyn Taketa

Director of Podcast Communications

818-575-2238

carolyn@smallgroupnetwork.com

Carolyn is the Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California. She serves on our Leadership Team and is the host of the Group Talk podcasts.

Reid Smith

Communities of Purpose Director

971-506-1556

reid@smallgroupnetwork.com

Living in Florida where he serves as Pastor of Groups at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach County, FL, Reid is our Communities of Purpose "C.O.P." Director. He will be leading this forum for small group point people who have read the book or attended one of our “Accelerate!” small group workshops to receive exclusive resources, ask questions, to discuss and share their learnings with others. He has also been equipping leaders in churches of all sizes and stages of growth for effective disciple-making since 1996. Reid has been a contributing author for Christianity Today’s smallgroups.com, LifeWay’s Ministry Grid, and he developed small group training for the North American Mission Board’s Send Network. One of the ways he expresses his love for helping leaders start and multiply healthy groups throughout their churches is through www.reidsmith.org

Jon Laster

Social Media Director

615-948-5062

jon@smallgroupnetwork.com

Jon, along with his wife Tina, serve as Ministries Directors at Christ Chapel in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Together they provide oversight and leadership to the leaders and volunteers of several teams, including prayer, small groups, and outreach. Jon is a Real Estate Agent by trade and also leads a SGN Huddle in the Spring Hill area. He is passionate about seeing the impossible come to pass, people walking in forgiveness and becoming more like Jesus. Jon strongly believes in the power of Small Groups and the life changing effect they can have in peoples lives. He is a dedicated Tennessee Titans fan, Nashville Predators fan and music fanatic. Jon and Tina reside in Thompsons Station, TN with their son Cole, daughter Avelyn and beloved french bulldog, Arlo.

Jason Banzhoff

Creative Arts Director

240-520-2557

jason@smallgroupnetwork.com

Jason is our Communications Director who produces our Group Talk podcast and oversees our graphic design and social media teams. He is also the Life Group Director of Lifehouse Church in Hagerstown, MD. He has had previous ministry experience in video, production, and social media but found discipleship is what his heart truly desires. Jason is married to his beautiful wife Tirsa, who is a pastor’s daughter from El Salvador. 

Derek Olson

SGN Development

253-886-2014

derek@smallgroupnetwork.com

Derek loves espresso, the outdoors, building teams & enjoying community with the family of God! He has been active in small group ministry since 2004 & serves as Pastor of Network Development at Saddleback Church.