Dear Friend & Partner in Ministry,
In anticipation of celebrating our 20-year anniversary next year, a few of Watermark’s initial Members recently spent some time reflecting on our earliest days. They revisited the very first prayer guide (available at watermark.org/1999) and were reminded of the things they passionately prayed would mark this local expression of the body of Christ. Things like…
- Being committed to God’s Word; praying it in, living it out, and passing it on.
- Not going to church but being the church.
- Expecting full devotion to Jesus Christ as normative for every believer.
- Not seeking comfort, but seeking to live on-mission every day.
- Betting the farm on biblical community, sharing life together with other Christ-followers.
- Seeing conflict as an opportunity to glorify God; not fleeing from it, but running toward it.
- Using Scripture as our authority, conscience, and guide in living and counseling one another.
- Living in the light. Living authentically.
- Acknowledging and confessing our brokenness.
These things are not only our foundation, but also our future. The day we stop seeking these things is the day we stop being the Church that God intends for us to be. Our goal has never been (and will never be) to be big, but rather to be biblical. As we continue to grow, we must remain committed to holding fast to our mission of calling every Member to live in full devotion to Jesus Christ.
We celebrate all the ways the Lord graciously worked through this body in 2017. We continue to see marriages restored, broken relationships mended, and hurting people set free. Every day of the week, our campuses are filled with men and women becoming equipped and unleashed to “be the Church.” Be encouraged! God is at work in our midst. Lives are being changed. Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, and surrounding counties are being transformed.
As we’ve been increasingly blessed, we’ve felt a responsibility to encourage and strengthen the leadership within the broader Church. Nearly 900 leaders from all over the world joined us last May for our second Church Leaders Conference. We prayerfully anticipate April 24-26, 2018, when we get to do it all over again. Our prayer is that those who attend the CLC would leave refreshed, inspired, and reminded that the Church is the hope of the world. These three days will lay a foundation for us to continue to serve the broader Church all throughout the year. Join us in praying daily at 4:24 pm for this year’s conference!
On the campus development front, we recently began renovations on a permanent home for our Fort Worth body, allowing us to deepen roots in Tarrant and Parker counties. In Plano and Dallas, we’ve begun several campus master planning projects to maximize pockets of space that will make those campuses even more functional. A practical way for Dallas Members to serve first-time visitors and help us maximize our campus is to regularly attend (and be an evangelist for) one of our evening services.
As we look toward 2018, here are a few things we are especially excited about:
- The growing impact of ministries like re:generation, re|engage, The Porch, and Merge, which are expanding their reach nationally. Thousands within our body are being equipped through Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies, Equipped Disciple, Join The Journey, and other classes. Stories of life change abound from ministries like Shiloh (for women and couples experiencing infertility and/or loss), Shelter (for women healing from sexual abuse), Prodigal (for those close to someone wandering far from God), and others.
- Our ongoing investment in technology to reach more people in every corner of the globe with the gospel. (Acts 1:8)
- More stories of healing and hope pouring out of the existing Dallas QuestCare Clinic. With almost 10,000 patient visits in 2017, God is using the Clinic to meet physical and spiritual needs in Dallas in a remarkable way. We can’t wait to see how the Lord uses the new Plano location (coming spring 2018).
- The expansion of the Watermark Institute to train and deploy the next generation of church leaders. (2 Timothy 2:2)
- Todd’s recent book, Come & See – dedicated to you! We continue to pray that God will use it to inspire the watching world with the exhilarating mission of the Church.
- A group of faithful Members in Frisco who are currently meeting to pray and consider how the Lord might use them to reach and serve their community.
- The extension of our commitment to the preservation and dignity of all human life. This includes ministries related to adoption, foster care, respite care, the abolition of abortion, and recovery for men and women who have participated in abortion.
- Our commitment to child sponsorship in Africa and in El Salvador. If you have not done so already, please join the 1,000 Members who are actively participating in our new partnership with Compassion International in El Salvador! Learn more at watermark.org/compassion.
- Thank you to all who faithfully stewarded God’s resources by investing in the mission of Watermark. If you gave to Watermark in 2017, you should receive an emailed copy of your giving statement by January 31, 2018. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
We continue to work diligently to ensure that every dollar you give is invested directly into making disciples. Now six months into our fiscal year (ending June 30), our available resources are consistent with our operating budget needs. In addition, we’re grateful that in 2017 we were able to contribute close to $2 million to ministry partners both in DFW and around the globe. Many may be unaware that they can give directly to our ministry partners (e.g., Thrive Women’s Clinic, Mission of Hope in Haiti, ELAM, and others) through Watermark. This can often be a more strategic giving option. When you give through Watermark, 100% of your donation goes to the ministry partner, but it also allows us to strengthen our partnerships, ensures funds are deployed strategically, reduces administrative burdens for our partner ministries, and shifts attention away from individual donor relationships to church partnerships. Visit watermark.org/giving to learn how to give through one of our “designated funds.”
While we celebrate the Lord’s generous provision, there are many ministry opportunities right in front of us that we’re not able to pursue because resources aren’t available. Building and campus development continue to be significant needs. To learn more and invest with us, visit watermark.org/makingroom.
We believe our best days are in front of us. We have much to celebrate; yet there is much to do. These are the days to boldly seek our King and His will for our city.
With great anticipation for all God will do in 2018 and beyond,
The Elders and Staff Leadership of Watermark