If you’ve been around Watermark for long and tried to serve in the community (which we hope you have!), you may have noticed that a non-staff person responded to your emails about serving with a partner. These External Focus Leaders serve as our "frontline" for the Watermark body – leading our people to care about and serve those outside the church walls.
But many churches don't handle their partnerships with "lay leaders." I admit, when I originally came on staff, it seemed at times that we were duplicating efforts this way - and maybe even adding a layer of complexity that could slow things down or discourage people from serving.
But after seeing it in action for the past two years, I now see the very important (and biblical) “why” behind this unique – though often messy! – approach.
- Depth. With about 20 local ministry partners, it’s hard for our staff team to have deep ongoing relationships with all of them. But our EF Leaders are passionately and deeply involved with each partner, which helps us cultivate and grow these partnerships with intention and excellence. As our “feet on the ground” – both with the ministry partner and within the Watermark body – our leaders provide a level of knowledge, passion, and leadership that we would not be able to achieve as a staff team. This ensures more effective and more fruitful partnerships.
- Discipleship (of others). Though it's a popular Christian term, discipleship is simply the process through which Christ's followers become progressively more Christlike. Serving people in our city can be thrilling but hard, invigorating yet humbling, exciting but full of difficulties. Our leaders have the privilege and opportunity to contribute to the discipleship of Watermark's people, by guiding them through these experiences and helping them grow in Christlikeness as they mature in their faith.
- Discipleship (theirs). By leading and discipling others, our leaders are able to grow in their own love for and walk with Christ. And as they go deeper in external ministry, they discover their unique role and purpose in the larger Church and God’s redemption plan for our city. How cool is that?!
As staff, our job is to “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Eph. 4:11-12 NIV). By “giving ministry away,” we accelerate the disciple-making process while stewarding well the gifts, talents, and resources God has given us through His people.
And yes, it gets messy at times, but it’s worth it.
If you'd be interested in serving on a leadership team with a Ministry Partner, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more information about how Watermark chooses Ministry Partners, check out these blog posts:
To learn more about External Focus visit watermark.org/blog/external-focus for our weekly blog!