A few weeks ago, we shared how we first established the “sweet spot” for impacting our city – a method we still use to discern where God would have us work. We use a similar process for our work overseas, as well. And as a result of this process, we have categorized our Ministry Partners into four “buckets,” natural categories that we call “Impact Areas.” These reflect our areas of concentration and also serve as a handy tool to remember all the ways Watermark impacts our city.
Today we’ll describe the first two of Watermark’s Impact areas. If you’re interested in any of these areas, click the links – or visit watermark.org/impact to see all of our Ministry Partners. (Or if you’re in Fort Worth, connect with Read2Win or contact your leaders – we’re working to develop great partners in Cowtown to accomplish these things!)
Transformation happens in the context of relationship!
When relationships are restored and trust is built, our community is strengthened. We believe that God is honored and folks are loved best when individuals engage them, learn their name and their story, walk with them, share the hope of Christ, and love them as Christ has loved us (Prov. 27:17). Accordingly, this Impact Area includes our efforts to connect faithful mentors with at-risk kids who need hope and role models, and weekly kids’ groups in a largely refugee and low-income neighborhood.
We also believe that engaging with children early in life – and by partnering with those with key responsibility for their education – are important ways to help provide a better future for kids. So, we partner with public and private schools as well as ministries that focus on development through faith-based literacy and early childhood development.
Internationally, in partnership with African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), we’ve launched a trade school in northern Uganda. The school provides opportunities for at-risk young adults to develop the skills they will need to thrive in their communities and support their families. We also support Mission of Hope’s efforts to educate thousands of children in Haiti.
God cares about justice!
We want to respond to injustice wherever we see it and promote justice locally, nationally, and internationally. In this, we realize that we need to restore broken people and broken systems, which in many cases lead to injustice (Micah 6:8). So we deploy legal professionals who apply their skills here and abroad, as well as involving any Watermark members who have a heart for justice.
Locally, this happens in partnership with leaders and lawyers who address blight and abandoned properties that are used for illegal and destructive purposes. We also equip individuals about the scourge of sex trafficking, and then connect them with various opportunities to fight that scourge and care for those who have been impacted.
Internationally, we help combat land-grabbing, trafficking, and other injustices through our ALARM partnership.
Finally, Scripture is clear that the church has an essential role in caring for those who are in prison (Matthew 25), as well as those who emerge and are seeking reconciliation with their families, growth in their walk with Christ, and assimilation into the community. We work with these people both inside and outside the prison walls in specific and strategic ways.
But as noted above, these “buckets” are just a handy way of categorizing our main concentrations of impact. Of course, God is creatively at work in a host of other ways through his people. We say often that the body is our “missions committee,” which means our members have the freedom and responsibility to discover ways to innovate and apply their skills. This can happen through new Ministry Partners, or on their own as members discern where God is working and join Him.