A Mile Deep: Our Goal of Focused Impact

One of the "pillars" of Watermark's approach to outreach – both locally and globally – is the principle of focused impact. While this might seem like an obvious sentiment, it's actually pretty counter-intuitive when you consider what it means.

Here's what we mean by "focused impact" and how we apply this goal:

Joining with few ministries, not many

Did you realize that we only have three international partners for our church as a whole? And while that total might make our twenty local partners sound like plenty, it's still a little surprising that a church of our size doesn't dabble in more partnerships across our city.

Focused impact also means...

Staying with ministries for the long haul

When we partner with a ministry, our hope is to be involved for years. We don’t tend to "get bored," seek change, or otherwise decide "it’s time for something new." That doesn't mean we'd be wrong to refresh our approach every once in a while, and we do continually evaluate our partnerships to make sure they remain wise. But we enter partnerships with the intention of doing much more than providing a "shot in the arm" for a ministry, or simply a "fun service project" for our people. We’re in for the long haul.

Focused impact also means...

Saying No a lot more than we say Yes

Our External Focus team gets emails every week asking us to consider a new partnership. While we’re always open to new strategic cooperation, we also recognize that we want impact that goes "a mile deep" – even if that means we must remain "an inch wide." So the process we've put in place – which, as we've written before, mostly depends on our members – ensures our new partnerships can be investments for years to come. In the meantime, we have to say No quite a bit.

Focused impact also means...

Seeing radical change (over time)

We certainly haven't perfected our approach to service… and it's also good to remember that we’re a young church, with relatively young partnerships. But even so, God has already allowed us to see the fruits of focusing our impact. We've seen ministries go from pilot phase to community-wide impact. Our church has been asked by ministries to be involved in different and deeper ways over time. And we've observed Watermark volunteers go from "I’ll give it a try" to regular participation, and even become team leaders or board members.

And finally, focused impact means...

Getting to see growth in ourselves, too

If we only dipped in and out of ministries, or if we tried to participate with dozens or hundreds of partners around the Metroplex and across the world, our church would miss out on some things. We would lose some chances to learn – especially if we pulled out every time a partnership got messy. We wouldn't be as strategic in our impact, because it takes time and repetition to get to know a ministry and its mission. We'd miss out on the beauty of relationships, because we'd either be gone too quickly or stretched too thin. And we would lose the chance to learn about ourselves – to allow those long-term partnerships to reveal our church’s strengths, its opportunities, and even its deficiencies.

There certainly are strengths within other approaches to outreach. But we want to keep sharing why Watermark serves others the way we do… and hopefully you’ll join with us as we impact "a mile deep... and an inch wide"!

Photo Credit: blavandmaster via Compfight cc

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