Even if you've attended Watermark for a long time, you may not know too many details about exactly what our External Focus ministry does. But as a church that wants to leave a "watermark" on the city - producing an impact that outlasts our church - our External Focus efforts are key.
Keep reading to discover all the facets of that segment of our church!
Why "External Focus"? While most churches might call it "Outreach," "Missions," or something like "Local and Global Impact," we've chosen a bit more unique name for this area of Watermark. But every time we have to explain it, we're reminded of what it means: Watermark wants our people to look outward, at the community around them and the world beyond. In other words, we want to have an external focus.
(The name originally came from a book called The Externally Focused Church and the movement it described. For a time, our Watermark team was actually called "Externally Focused"... which was eventually shortened - a little - to "External Focus.")
So as you may have guessed by this point, the External Focus team oversees all of Watermark's local Ministry Partners. These partners - about 20 of them! - are making a difference all over the city in areas like Education, Poverty, Mentoring, Health, Justice, and more. Instead of "reinventing the wheel" by creating our own ministry activities, most of the time we would much rather partner with these "expert" ministries.
Once we partner, we then have the chance to point Watermark volunteers toward that organization, share with our people about their work, and even provide some corporate financial support.
The External Focus team also has the exciting chance to connect with four global partnerships. Rather than reach the world broadly (and less investment), we send short-term discipleship trips and financial support to these same partners year after year. That means we've gotten to help develop communities and build substantial efforts over time.
But our External Focus team also loves helping prepare Watermark members who seek to serve in parts of the world not reached by our partners. Many members take short-term or "mid-term" international opportunities, and some have even moved overseas for long-term international ministry.
(To see more about all things international at Watermark, visit watermark.org/international.)
Four special projects round out Watermark's External Focus effort, and they're a whole lot of fun...
In partnership with a for-profit organization and in cooperation with the city, we built a charity urgent-care clinic a few miles east of the Watermark Dallas campus. Over 5000 patients came to the clinic last year, and we not only provide quality health care, but we also initiate spiritual conversations with our visitors. The gospel is shared regularly - in multiple languages - and people are pointed to relationships and ministries that can help them grow. (For more, visit questcareclinic.org.)
Our team now oversees Watermark's Spanish-speaking ministry, which offers interpretation at weekend worship services and occasionally gathers to worship the Lord in people's "heart language" of Spanish. We've also begun building ministry to and with international populations in our city, like refugees and many others who call DFW home. (Hear more from Oscar Castillo here.)
Monday doesn't have to be so different from Sunday! The External Focus team also helps equip our people glorify God through their workplace callings. And they're starting discussions about all the things "Christianity in the workplace" should mean. (Read a couple of thoughts here and here.)
Unashamed Weekends offer “mission trips to our city” that provide the opportunity to serve, build relationships, and share Christ in our own backyards! And the Unashamed training prepares "local missionaries" not only to share Christ over a weekend, but to make it a lifestyle. (Visit the Unashamed page here.)
To learn more about External Focus each week visit watermark.org/blog/external-focus for our weekly blog!