Dear Watermark Family,
We are immensely humbled by the opportunities God has continued to give this body to magnify His name in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. Over the last several months, the elders have developed a shared conviction and hunger to maximize every opportunity and resource to their fullest extent to be the most God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, gospel-proclaiming church we can be. As an elder team, we have increasingly asked ourselves: What does God have next for Watermark?
At the same time, we recognize that Watermark has withstood a remarkable amount of change over the last few years. Since January 2020, this body has walked through leadership transitions, a global pandemic that disrupted every aspect of our ministry, and an influx of new members. 41% of our members (about 2,800 people) have joined Watermark since the beginning of 2020. God has been faithful through it all, and we have seen Watermark thrive.
So, when we went to pray about what God would have for us in the future, we continually returned to what God called us to in the very beginning. As we enter our 25th year as a church, we believe our greatest opportunity is to clarify and recommit to what we’ve always been about as a church – especially for those members who are newer to our church family.
As we shared on Sunday, we are reintroducing ten characteristics we believe God wants to mark our church:
- A gospel-saturated church
- A praying church
- A Bible-revering church
- A Spirit-led church
- A missional church
- A maturing church
- A sending church
- A shepherding church
- A community church
- A unifying church
Over the coming months and years, these ten markers will inform many things – from our ministry strategies to our approach to missions and outreach, to our staffing and budget priorities. In the immediate term, our first three sermon series of the year will reflect these markers.
We are making an additional change as we look to implement this renewed vision in 2024 and beyond. Last fall, we invited Timothy “TA” Ateek onto the elder team – in part – because he has a unique gift set for effectively crystallizing, communicating, and galvanizing people around a shared vision. Since joining our team, TA has increasingly served as the mouthpiece for the elders’ collective vision. It has become clear to all the elders that we need to empower TA to play an even more significant role in the organization; to formally recognize the role he is already playing.
To that end, we believe the next step of faithfulness is to elevate TA to a Lead Pastor role alongside Blake Holmes. TA will serve as Lead Pastor of Vision and Preaching, acting as the primary communicator on Sundays and shaping the teaching calendar to consistently reflect these ten markers. Blake will serve as the Lead Pastor of Ministries and Staff and continue with current responsibilities, including leading our staff team and overseeing ministry strategies. Both will remain on the elder team, allowing for an even stronger connection between the elder team, the staff, and the body.
In the coming weeks, we will also introduce you to the new director of The Porch. Filling this role will free up TA to devote even more time to his roles as elder and Lead Pastor of Vision and Preaching. While TA will be serving as the primary communicator, we have asked John Elmore to continue as a Teaching Pastor, as well as take on significant additional leadership responsibilities. Both Blake and John will be out on their planned sabbaticals for the next few months, so you will see much of TA in the near future and hear consistently about where we believe God is leading us.
We are confident that God has great things ahead for Watermark and are excited to be on this journey with each of you.
The Elders of Watermark Community Church