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Campus Development FAQs

What is the specific ask being made right now?

  • Pray - Psalm 139:23-24
  • Process in community - Hebrew 3:12-13, Proverbs 12:15
  • Respond - James 4:17 (do whatever obedience is for you), Proverbs 27:17 (sharpen us)
  • Repeat - Galatians 6:9-10

Our prayer is that the remaining $3 million is provided before December 30.

Why did we purchase the East Tower?

  • For many years, we have pursued purchasing the building next door, but it has not been available to us. God went before us in this opportunity and allowed us to purchase the Tower outright, rather than a long-term lease with an option to buy as originally planned.
  • We’re out of space for mid-week ministry on the Dallas Campus. The purchase of the East Tower expands the Dallas campus footprint by 50% and our meeting space by 40%, creating substantially more space for both existing mid-week ministries and new ministry opportunities.
  • Our hope is to have large group meeting spaces on the first floor ready for use in early 2017. Small group meeting space may be available in the fall of 2016, as well. Renovation of the remaining floors will continue throughout the years to come.

How will you use these rooms?

  • Our goal is to expand our existing ministries that are experiencing a space constraint. One example is Merge. We want to reach Dallas more aggressively with Merge, but more space is required.
  • As we add services or, in the future, another nearby campus, all midweek classes will likely expand to serve people new to Watermark.
  • Some classes such as Tapestry, Equipping classes and others, can now be offered more frequently.
  • We want to be able to accommodate new ministry ideas.

Does Watermark use debt to purchase facilities?

  • Scripture speaks of debt with warning and often with consequences. We aren’t completely closed off to the idea of debt (because Scripture doesn’t expressly forbid it), but historically, Watermark has never taken on debt. The Dallas and Plano campuses were purchased with the resources God brought us. We do not intend to use debt.

How do we give and how do we know that the money is going towards the building?

  • Anything that is designated to the “Building Fund” will be immediately usable for the purchase and renovation of the building next door as well as any other opportunities that arise at any of the different campuses. We have one, united building fund that serves the same purpose for all campuses.
  • We do not have any other specific facilities plans beyond those outlined in the current building fund plan, and we will communicate with the body when we have “more than enough” to fund the current plans.
  • You can give online at watermark.org/makingroom. At the bottom of the page, click on “I want to give to the building project”. Also, on our Dallas, Plano or Fort Worth campus website home page (watermark.org), you can click on the Giving tab, scroll down the page and click on “I want to give to Making Room Making Disciples”.
  • If you prefer writing a check, designate “building fund” on the memo line . You can drop your check in the giving boxes near the exits at the back of the worship center or mail them to 7540 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75251.

Again, there is only one building fund which supports all campuses, so choosing the campus you attend on the website does not designate your building fund contribution to that specific campus.

If I give to the general fund, will you use that toward the building fund as necessary? If not, what percentage of my giving will be most helpful to apply toward the building?

We are making the building ask “above and beyond” our normal giving to the general fund. On the general vs building fund question, here are two points of emphasis:

  • We don't consider using our general fund for building spending until the entire year's budget is given.
  • We don't have specific giving percentages in mind, but rather would encourage you to pray and process with your community for your specific situation.

How does this expansion fit into our master plan?

Our master plan is simple and what we put in place Day 1 – to be and make disciples – as laid out in Matthew 28:19-20. We do that in three ways:

  • preach the gospel to anyone who needs to hear the gospel;
  • encourage the faint-hearted; and
  • equip the disciples every day.

If we’re looking beyond tomorrow in doing that, it’s because we’re looking at what might get in the way of us being able to continue to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way. We serve a perfect God on His perfect mission. Our long-term strategy is also our short-term strategy – to be and make disciples.

Why is it important to create growth on the Dallas campus and not create more campuses in South Dallas or other areas?

  • The purchase of the East Tower helps us meet the critical need for mid-week ministry space, and gives us additional space as we move toward meeting on the Dallas campus on both Saturdays and Sundays for worship.
  • If we added another campus today, it would likely be in an area where real estate is very expensive (e.g., downtown, uptown, etc.) with few spaces naturally suited for our floor plan requirements. The cost would likely be significantly higher than what we have planned to spend on the East Tower and on improvements at our Plano and Fort Worth campuses.
  • We have looked at specific properties in the downtown/South Dallas area, but the door has not been open. If we look to rent, this could then open doors to facilities that are not for sale, but are open to renting out on Sundays. If new options become available, we will update the body as soon as possible.

Are there other large churches that you have looked to as a model for growth in development?

Very few churches have the large midweek ministry focus that we do. Our Recovery (Monday), Young Adults (Tuesday) and Marriage (Wednesday) ministries appear to be the largest of their kind in the country. We have looked to other churches to gain wisdom on such topics as weekend services, satellite campuses vs church planting, etc. We have reviewed statistics from the 100 largest churches in the U.S. and have met with senior leaders at many of them. We will continue to seek counsel from other trusted leaders as God leads us.

Can you provide a breakdown of the general fund? How are funds allocated to staff, maintenance, missions, etc.?
We are fully committed to being missional in every single thing we do. We really don’t think of our budget as being segmented into missions, facilities, staff, programming, etc. The heart behind every dollar we invest is to reach the lost and make fully devoted followers of Christ. If some expenditure being considered isn’t contributing to these goals, we simply don’t spend it.

If we thought God had some other “mission” for us, we would sell our buildings and give everything away, but we continue to see lives being changed, marriages being saved, children being discipled, and our city being renewed. We see lost and/or unconnected people everywhere we look. For example, 50 percent of those attending our major ministries (re:gen, re|engage, The Porch, Prodigal, etc.) are not Watermark members. Surveys would tell us that more than 30 percent of our attendees are not believers in Christ.

The heart behind the numbers:

  • We designate a significant portion of our operating budget every year to ministries outside of Watermark. This varies greatly each year depending upon what needs we have at Watermark.
  • In addition, we occasionally have more resources given than we can properly steward through our current year plan for ministry that is budgeted at our church and with our third party ministry partners. For instance, two years ago, we had an excess in our operating budget, and we decided to give the entire surplus away to the external ministries that we partner with/saw God working through.
  • In addition to monies that we “give” out of our general fund, we also have designated giving that members/other individuals give to Watermark with the express purpose of our investing elsewhere. This figure alone is typically $1mm+ each year.
  • We also know from surveys that members of our body are giving directly in very meaningful ways to other organizations likely similar in magnitude to our overall Watermark annual budget.
  • Here’s a traditional breakdown of our budget, even though we really don’t view it this way!
    • Staffing 60%
    • Programming/Other/Ministry partners 25%
    • Facilities 15%

How is the space in the West Tower used?

  • Floors 2 through 4 are used for assembly and small group meetings.
  • The fifth floor is mainly used for storage and ministry supplies. We are using this storage all the time because it includes food/supplies for events throughout the week, the Kids’ Ministry supplies, and more. We have discussed moving that into the new building and adding classrooms to the existing 5th floor. However, we will likely keep the current 5th floor as is because we lose a lot of efficiency if the staff is going over to the other building for supplies throughout the day. Either way, we need the space.
  • We use most of 6 and 8 for offices, and some building fund resources will be used for improvements on floors 6 and 8.
  • The 7th floor is also mainly staff offices. A portion of the current building fund budget will be used to make much-needed repairs and improvements to the 7th floor.

What if I have questions or wisdom I think leaders should know?

Please email makingroom@watermark.org. Thank you for praying and jumping in with us.