South Fork Results

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The South Fork Church of Christ is a diverse, outward-focused congregation of about 300 members located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the summer of 2015, they began looking for someone to replace their retiring pulpit minister of ten years. Because of their location outside the “Bible Belt”, South Fork had historically found it difficult to attract top ministers to their congregation. Considering the fact that a previous minister search had taken about 18 months, they knew that they needed a more efficient way to build a candidate pool. After prayerful consideration, South Fork engaged Minister Match in July of 2015, becoming the first congregation to use the Guided Search Process.

Minister Match immediately sent out an email blast to over 2,700 church leaders across the country and attempted approximately 1,900 phone calls over the ensuing 3 months. In the end, Minister Match’s team of recruiters spoke to 447 ministers and were able to produce 54 viable candidates.

Scott Mills, an elder at South Fork said, "An interesting element of our search, that we did not anticipate, was the future planning that we had to do as a leadership. Many questions developed during different phases of our search and Don Viar was invaluable with insight and guidance as we managed these questions. These areas ranged from planning for growth, to worship styles, to local missions, and several other areas. Don has visited many congregations, spent quality time with many candidates and has a unique “birds eye” view of the brotherhood and the congregations within it. His insight is a bonus simply as part of the search process."  He went on to say, "The Minister Match team never tried to push us toward a candidate, or to a direction, that was unsuited to our identity as a congregation. Minister Match was simply interested in finding the best candidate to match the particular personality of our congregation."  (Click here for a full copy of Scott's comments and endorsement.)

As the committee worked through the search process, they eventually narrowed the field to three outstanding candidates (and would have been happy in hiring any of the three). After diligent consideration, the search committee finally came to a consensus and hired Drew Baker effective February 21, 2016.

About Drew Baker


Drew Baker is a native of Abilene, Texas. He has obtained both a Bachelor’s degree and M.Div. from Abilene Christian University, majoring in Youth Ministry. He is currently working on his D.Min. in congregational transformation in the community, also through ACU. He has served in multiple capacities in the church, spending most of his full-time ministry career as a youth minister but also having been blessed with the opportunity to preach and teach on many occasions. He has also spent a year teaching English in Korea.

Drew is grateful for the ministry gifts that have been bestowed on him and is excited to work with the South Fork Church of Christ. He moved to Winston-Salem in April 2016 and has served as South Fork’s full-time Preaching Minister since. He lives with his wife Sarah, son Jude, and daughter Rowan.

"Minister Match helped us hire a new minister in half the time we took for our previous hire.

- Tom Long, South Fork Search Committee Chairman


"Don Viar did an excellent job representing my concerns to the search committee and did an excellent job communicating their concerns and process to me. I found that I was able to trust Don to faithfully mediate between the congregation and myself to bring about a successful process for both parties.

- Drew Baker, South Fork Pulpit Minister


Contact Information

Minister Match
410 South Lowe Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501

ABC Blocks

Your congregation has just hired a minister, and it seems like they are the perfect fit. Congratulations! There is one more step to the process, though, and it is just as important as the process of finding the right minister. You might have heard people refer to how the “first hundred days” of someone’s job usually sets the tone for their entire career with that organization. The same is true with ministers. Just as your congregation is going through a major transition, so is your new minister. The first few months of a job are a stressful time, and it is the job of the elders and search committee to help your new minister through their transition.

We refer to this as the “On-Boarding Stage.” Since the “first hundred days” is so important to the rest of a minister’s career with your congregation, we believe this stage is one of the keys to reducing minister turnover in the church. In this post, we want to talk about a few of the things that a new minister needs from their congregation during this transition period. We will refer to them as the ABC’s of the On-Boarding Phase.