As God continues to grow our church and expand the ministry, we are quickly running out of room. Hear from key leadership at Watermark about how you can be involved in the future of the church, making room and making disciples.
At Home Worship
Christmas Eve 2015
The Greatest Invitation
Making Room, Making Disciples
The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Your Trial In Heaven
Fort Worth, Here Is What We Think of You
What the Church Who Believes Is and Does
The USA: United States of Anxiety
From Intimacy to Idols
The Standard: Old Testament, Jesus and Believers
The Path to the Good Life
Nothing Short of Miraculous
Confessions From a Bathroom Stall: Lessons Learned in a Battle With Gluttony
How We Come To God
Dealing with Disappointment
The Story That Never Gets Old the God Who Is Always Behind It and the Way We Are Told to Remember It
The "One Thing"
Baptism Celebration 2015
Believing That Leads to Life
What Should I Do With My Money?
Beau Fournet: Good evening, Watermark. I am excited to be able to talk to you tonight about what it is we have to share. My name is Beau Fournet, and I have the privilege of serving as one of the elders here. Tonight is going to be different than what our typical week is. Every 12 to 18 months we have a family meeting where we remind ourselves where we've been and where we're headed. There will be a small opportunity for teaching tonight, but it is going to look a little bit different than we typically have.
As I was sitting down on Thursday morning, I just started to reflect on why it is we're having this conversation tonight. The reason we're having this conversation is that a number of you have been incredibly faithful in following Christ, people have seen that and come because they want what they see in your life. I just started thinking about different places where that's happening.
On Monday night we have re:generation. I know a number of you have had the opportunity to go through re:gen, which is our ministry to help people work through things that might be capturing their heart instead of Christ, and on Monday I had the opportunity to meet with about a dozen churches that have seen what you've been doing and said, "We want to explore having re:gen at our church."
In addition to that dozen or so, we already have 30 churches across the country that have taken our re:gen curriculum and ministry and replicated it. On Wednesday nights we have re|engage, which is our ministry for married couples. Same thing. You've been faithful. People have seen the life change from that, and there are now 100 churches across the country that are doing re|engage on a weekly basis. That is a testament to the faithfulness of the people here.
I was thinking through, "What makes this happen? What is it we're doing that God has decided to bless in a way that's not about us; it's about his mission?" I just went back to what happened 15 years ago when this local body of Christ started. There was nothing new or innovative about what the leaders of the church decided the strategy was here. They opened their Bible and looked at Matthew 28.
"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'"
We could summarize that as we are committed to being and making disciples. That's what we're about, and that starts with each of us being a disciple of Christ and then looking for opportunities to make disciples at work, make disciples in our Community Group, on our streets, at our kids' games, wherever the opportunity presents itself.
Now we know a lot of people do this, and there are churches across the country that have been incredibly faithful, and God has decided that a 100-person church is going to be a 100-person church or a 1,000-person church is going to be a 1,000 person church, because that's what pleases him and that's how he wants to use that local body.
For whatever reason, God has decided here to continue to grow it, to open up a campus in Plano in January of this year, where people want to come and see what is happening, and we have 2,000 people hanging out with us in Plano on a weekly basis, worshiping with us. What God did here… We could go back and look at the parable of the talent, and I want to share a little bit of what we see there. Christ is trying to tell people how a Christ follower should live until God takes you home or Christ returns for his second coming, and this is the story in Matthew 25.
"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability." In our body we have a lot of faithful people, and I think we started off with a five-talent ability and a five-talent expectation of what Christ had positioned us to do.
"Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. […] And he who had received the five talents [later on when the master came back] came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'"
That's where we are today. Our body has become overwhelmed with opportunities to love people because of your faithfulness. This is not always the case. At the end of this passage there was one person who wasn't sure whether or not the master was coming back, so he didn't want to risk the money to try to make a return for the master. He didn't want to put it in the bank, because if you put in the bank then you have to note that you're holding it for the master. He buried and hid it, holding on to it, and if the master didn't come it would be his.
This is what happened with this one: "But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.'" So the talent was taken from him and given to him who had 10 talents.
Now I know there are churches here that are being faithful, and there are other churches in this area that have looked at the public discourse and public opinion and said, "I'm going to tell people what they want to hear and not what the Scripture says." Some of those people are coming here. I think there are four kinds of people who have been coming here and given us a chance to serve.
The first one is the fully devoted follower of Christ. They're doing well, and they're saying, "I want a co-laborer in the gospel. I want people to come alongside me and encourage me." There's another group. Their eternity is secure, but they're struggling. They might be struggling because of a poor choice or just because they haven't been equipped, and they need to be equipped in what it is they know they believe but are not sure exactly how to apply.
Then there's the third category, and these are people who hang out. They'll show up on a Sunday. They could answer all of the diagnostic questions. They could tell you who Jesus is, and then you ask them, "So what has that meant? How has God changed your life?" and the conversation ends there. Then there's a fourth group that'll say, "I don't know who Christ is, and I have a lot of questions, and I'm skeptical, but I want to know."
We have the chance to preach the gospel to the last group. We have a chance to preach the gospel or equip that second-to-last group. We could comfort the weary who know Christ but are struggling, and then we could be a co-laborer in the gospel with the first group. With this happening throughout the week our campus is full, where we don't have enough room. The elders have been praying about this, and we feel that now is the time to expand the capacity of this campus to be able to be and make disciples with more people who are coming to us.
We're going to talk about this this evening and also talk about our opportunity to apply all decisions in life, not just the decision we're working through right now. Todd this week spent some time trying to provide a picture of what our campus looks like during the week, so let's watch this video and see what's happening Monday through Thursday.
Todd Wagner: Hello, friends. Thanks for taking a minute with me to talk about what God is currently doing here and what we hope he continues to do. You know that recently a body has gathered together to think about how we could reach more friends up in Collin County and Plano, and we are thrilled with what God is doing up there.
We've already acquired some space directly to your north if there's ever a parking problem up there. We've redone large space inside that building for our students as well as for midweek opportunities to start re:gen and re|engage, which we're so excited that foundations of those are thriving up there.
In Fort Worth we're thrilled that you all are at two services, that you are sharing your faith with your friends, that you are building into each other, that re:gen leadership is right now being formed, that you've started The Porch on Tuesday nights, that we're increasing children's space on the weekend, that we have office space we can allow our staff to thrive in and to make disciples and to encourage you throughout the week, and we're increasing more midweek space over there. We can't wait to see what we need to do next to help you all have resources you need to reach your community.
What's happening in Dallas right now on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights is we're out of room. About 7,500 folks gather here Monday through Thursday. On Monday nights, disciples who had been raised up and reached at Watermark started a ministry called re:generation. It's the largest recovery ministry in the country.
On Tuesdays, we have a team of young adults through a ministry called The Porch that God is using in a way that, frankly, is a mystery to the rest of the church in our country. Why do I say that? I hear from pastors around the country all the time. "We can't figure out how to reach this next generation of church leaders." Well, somehow God is allowing us here at Watermark to do that.
Also on Tuesday nights we're ministering to people whose young adults are not walking with Christ, who are causing great pain to themselves and their families, through our Prodigal ministry. On Wednesday nights, we have a ministry called re|engage. If you have strong families you have a strong country, and families can't be strong unless their relationship is modeled after the love that comes from Christ's love for his church. Through the ministry of re|engage, marriages are being resurrected and marriages that are already doing well are doing better.
On Thursday nights, we're ministering to our women who work and can't come to our Wednesday morning ministries. We're doing Equipped Disciple for everybody. We're ministering to people who are victims of sexual abuse, both men through MENd and women through Shelter from the Storm.
There's a plethora of ministries that happen here Monday through Thursday, and we're out of space. We have an opportunity right now to acquire a piece of property directly to our east that has not previously been available to us. It's a twin to the current tower that's here that we use all week long and put our offices in. The plan is for us to try to acquire that tower that will allow us to reach the unchurched and the de-churched.
We have more people coming to us throughout the week who are not connected to our church or actively being discipled right now than we do even on the weekends. We love the fact that we have a university and a hospital model. What do we mean by that? We mean we are training people in order to be able to serve and encourage others, and we are healing people so they may be strong enough that they might be trained and join us.
Let me tell you why I do love to give to buildings. Because there's an enduring sense that something great can continue to happen even after I've already given that investment. I was talking to one of my good friends who has been around Watermark for about the last 12 or 15 years, and she and her husband invested deeply in some past building projects. Well, we tragically lost her husband suddenly a number of years ago.
We were talking just this week, and she said, "You know what? Even though Matt is not here any longer, I love the fact that what he invested in still is and that I can work diligently today to use the resource he and I gave to together to further what I know is his heart." Listen. None of us like to build or to buy, but frankly, we all love to move into what has been bought and built.
It gives us a place that we can gather and serve our King, and the reason we gather together is so we can scatter and be faithful all throughout our communities. Let's go, Watermark. We can't wait to see what God is going to do with the resources we have and with the resources we're going to put together for his kingdom purposes. Thanks for listening, praying, considering, and responding generously.
[End of video]
John Cox: Our goal is to be and make disciples, and it says in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, where Paul, who had the same goal, is writing, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God causes the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow." We know that our job is to make disciples but that it is God who transforms hearts. He just gives us the opportunity to be involved in that.
What's a little different about Watermark is how we go about making disciples. In most churches, it's very Sunday-centric. By that I simply mean that if you're going to go to a new church most of the things happen on Sunday morning. So you'll go on Sunday morning, and then there's not a lot going on during the week. At Watermark it's almost inverted from that. Every week, we have more than 7,500 people who show up Monday through Thursday nights to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Some of them are people that that's their first exposure to Watermark. They don't even come on Sundays. In fact, if you look at our re:gen ministry, which is our recovery ministry, on Monday nights, 50 percent of the people who come don't call Watermark home. So those are people who are either not connected to any church at all or, in some instances, are at another church but there's no recovery ministry, so they come here.
If you look at our Tuesday nights, which is our young adult ministry, there are a lot of people there who are just not interested in going to a church on a Sunday morning, but what they are interested in is getting to know people. They may be new to the area, so they come because they're invited on Tuesday nights, where friends say, "Hey, come check this out. This is where life is found." Their first point of contact is on Tuesday nights.
Then there are Wednesday nights. Wednesday nights are when we focus on marriage. There are a lot of people there who are not that interested in coming on Sunday mornings, but they are interested in making their marriages better. So they start coming on Wednesday nights, and when they start to get to know the God who makes marriages better they start getting connected to our family.
What's interesting is each of those three ministries is the largest ministry of its kind in the country. God has just blessed them for whatever reason, but that has created an issue, and the issue is, as you heard Todd say, there's no more space. We have nine large group assembly rooms on our campus, and if you think about them being used each of the four nights during the week, there are 36 opportunities to use those rooms, and right now we're using them in 34 of those 36 slots.
So if you want to have a meeting at Watermark and it involves more than 100 people, the only choices you have are you can meet in the auditorium here on Wednesday night or Thursday night, and that's it. There's no other space. Then we have 62 smaller rooms we use for breakouts or for small group gatherings. When you multiply 62 times 4 you get 248, so that's the number of opportunities there. We're actually using them for 242 of the 248. That's more than 98 percent fully occupied and utilized.
So now we have a problem. What are we going to do about the new people who come? Where are we going to put them? After a lot of prayer and consideration and considering next steps and just saying, "Lord, what do you want us to do, because you're the one who causes growth in people's lives?" we have a chance now to acquire the property next to us.
For a long time that wasn't available, and now in the last 18 months it has become available. If we're able to acquire that property it will help us to minister to more people. In fact, the property is about 5.5 acres, so it'll essentially give us a 50 percent increase in the amount of land we have. If we renovate just floors two, three, and four of the building next door, it'll give us 40 percent more meeting space so we can minister to more people.
We think that, ultimately, having that property will allow us to minister to twice as many people as we have now, so we could double the number of people we're reaching in Dallas. So we've stepped back and said, "Look, God. Our job is to be and make disciples, and we know you're the one who grows people, and for some reason you continue to bring people here, and we want to minister to them."
This is our chance to continue to reach people in Dallas who won't come here on Sunday mornings but might come during the week, and it's a chance to reach people who are already coming on Sunday mornings to help them know Jesus more fully and deeply by coming to some of our Equipping classes during the week.
Finally, it's a chance that will give us growth options for the next 10 to 15 years. By that I simply mean there's land over there that if we needed to build more facilities we could do that. As many of you know, parking at Watermark is not the easiest thing to do, so that would give us land that if we ever needed to add additional parking we could do that. It creates opportunities for us.
So that's what we're trying to do in terms of what's next for Watermark, which is just to create more space to allow us to continue to be faithful to be and make disciples. Now what we want to do right now is give you a snapshot of some of the people who are coming during the week and watch how God is changing their lives.
Marisha Davis: I actually grew up in a Catholic church. I had a small taste of the gospel presented simply to me at a different church and got addicted and wanted more, so I did like any Millennial, I guess, would do and I Googled how to have a relationship with Christ.
Kevin Mainz: We started at Watermark back in 2009 through the re|engage ministry. Lives were being changed and marriages were being transformed, and we wanted that. We needed that.
Sarah Voss: Thanks for making room for me.
Marisha: I came to Watermark not on like a service but actually for re:gen, and then when I started coming to re:gen I had some girls encourage me to come to The Porch.
Paul Hum Lee: We were literally two days away from filing our divorce papers before we attended re|engage, and for me that was the first time I had felt hope in a really long time, just hearing stories that were similar to ours.
Kevin: Through that, God really reconnected us with each other and then ultimately with him.
Lynn Golden: Thanks for making room for me.
The Vasquez Family: Thanks for making room for me.
Marisha: I said, "I'm never going to The Porch. There are too many people there." Then I started coming to The Porch, and then that same group of girls asked me if I wanted to be in community, and I was like, "I don't know about being in community. That's a little too much." But then I started getting involved in community, committed to that, and that's where life change really started to happen.
Kelli Mainz: There was an opportunity to lead in the pre-married ministry they call Merge here.
Kevin: Going through the re|engage ministry here better equipped us to pour into these couples and help walk with them through God's design for marriage.
Marisha: Realizing that I am not alone and we all need the same Jesus despite what we struggle with.
Carmen Mendoza-Hobbs: My life before Christ was a wreck. I was an alcoholic, and my children were scared of me. My parents did not trust me. When I started re:gen, as soon as we got into a closed group I could see the authenticity of the leaders, and that led me to open up more about the struggles I was going through. I could see the change, that I was letting go, because Christ paid for all of that and that he came and paid for 100 percent of my sin.
Paul: I started going to men's Summit Bible study every Thursday morning, and that was great, to just dive deep into Bible study. It's something I had never done before. The Bible really came alive for me, and I was able to apply truths from the Bible to my life.
Lynn: It's really been through the Bible studies that I have grown so much deeper in my knowledge and just my personal relationship with the Lord.
Marisha: In 2014 I got married. In 2015 I'm serving in re:gen where it all started out, and I love it. It's cool to see women in the chair I used to sit in and be in the spot I used to sit in and be able to serve them. For God to use my hands and feet is just amazing.
Carmen: Mondays I was here for re:gen, and on Tuesdays I was coming into The Porch. Thursdays I was coming here for Equipped Disciple, and at some point when I was done with Equipped Disciple I started Moneywise. In the meantime, while I was in these ministries, my kids were at Training Ground. They were learning how to pray and Scripture. So in a way, we were all being equipped and discipled.
Kevin: The Sundays are great, but I think in between the Sundays, those midweek ministries is where you'll see people getting plugged into small groups, and a large church becomes smaller and smaller, and you'll see the life change and transformation happen in those settings.
Marisha: Thanks for making room for me.
Paul & Rena Hum Lee: Thanks for making room for me.
Carmen: Thank you for making room for me.
[End of video]
Charlie Shelby: Great video. Good evening. My name is Charlie Shelby. My wife and I have been members here at Watermark for just about 10 years. For a number of those years I've had the opportunity to serve alongside five other gentlemen here at Watermark who make up the real estate team. It has been that team's task to find the best solution for the ministry needs you've heard discussed this evening.
We started that process with looking at properties all around the Watermark area, but we focused primarily on the buildings that were closest to our campus. I think we have an aerial here. Most of you are probably familiar with this building right here, PC3 (Park Central III), a 21-story building that has Corner Bakery on the top of the building.
We looked at that building. It was just renovated in the last two or three years, and it's fully leased. So we looked at the building just to the west, the three-story building right here. That building has a lot of names here at Watermark. "Darth Vader" is one of them. I think "lunar module" is one of them. Very strange building. I just call it a three-story building.
We looked at that, and they had one floor available, the top floor, a very awkward space. No windows in the space at all. We were going to have to make a large capital investment to make that space work for us. It needed new stairs, new elevators, new air conditioning system, new bathrooms, so it was not economically feasible for us to look at that property.
So our focus really turned to what we are talking about today, this building right here, PC1, or Park Central I. It's just adjacent to our campus on the east. One thing that has been absolutely amazing for me being a part of the real estate team is, over the last 10 or 15 years, the real estate transactions we have worked on, just the evidence of God's hand in that process in each one of those situations, how he has paved the way.
For some of you who have been around here for a while, if you remember back in 2002 and 2003 when we were meeting at Lake Highlands and we were feeling the call from the Lord to start looking at a permanent campus. The real estate team back then started looking at properties all over the city. One of those properties they looked at was this very property we're on right now. Back then, that property was owned by one owner.
When I say "that property," I'm talking about both of these buildings and all of this land was owned by one owner. We had conversations with that owner because we had interest in that land. Great location. Obviously we love that property, but the owner was adamant about the fact that if you wanted to buy it you had to buy all of that property. He was not interested in selling just a portion of it.
Back then that was a lot more than what we needed, so we passed. We continued to look at properties around the city for about a year, but the Lord went before us, and about a year later we got a phone call from that owner, and he just said, "Hey, have you bought anything yet?" We said, "No, not yet." He said, "Well, would you be interested in coming back and looking at this property if I'd sell you just a portion?" Here we are today. So God's timing.
You may remember two or three years ago when we felt it was time to start looking at a satellite north of our campus here in Plano. The real estate team found an existing church we thought was a perfect fit, and we put that property under contract. We were always a little concerned about the size of that existing church, because at that time no one really understood how the Plano new satellite may take off. Well, again, the Lord went before us.
When we were in the process of doing our due diligence to close that transaction, we got a phone call out of the blue about a property that was not for sale, not on the market. It was a property that was better located. It was larger, so it would take care of not only our needs today but in the future. The Lord paved a way for us to not only buy that property, but he also gave us an exit to be able to get out of the property we had under contract. Again, God's timing.
The same is true for the property we're talking about here, Park Central I. It is a different owner than when we talked about this property and looked at it back in 2002/2003, but we've had a relationship with this owner now for about seven or eight years. Great relationship. They allow us to use their parking lot on Sunday all day long. They allow us to use their parking lot during the week for our weeknight ministries.
All of the years we have had a relationship with them we've had conversations with them and said, "Hey, at some point in time we'd love to talk to you about buying that property. Is that property for sale?" The answer was always, "No. We're not even interested in talking about it. The property is not for sale."
That property is owned in a portfolio with 11 other properties, and it has a financing structure on it that makes it very difficult…not impossible, but very difficult…to pull one of those properties away from it. That's why we think they were not interested in selling the property to us. That all changed 18 months ago. Again, the Lord went before us, and in a conversation we had with them, they said, "Hey, if you guys are willing to sit at the table and take a look at a structure that might work for both of us, we're willing to talk." That's where we are today.
Let me tell you a little bit about the deal. That building, as we've already told you, is a twin to our existing tower in size and in looks. The only thing that is different is that our existing tower is nine stories; this one is eight stories. It's 127,000 square feet. It comes with a 5.5-acre parcel. That is that land or that parking lot we use on Sundays and during the week. The property right now is 35 percent occupied.
Here's the deal we've structured. We have structured a 10-year lease with an option to purchase the building in the first three years of the lease. The 10-year lease is for 65 percent of the building or the vacant space that's in the building. We think the purchase price we have an option for is a very, very fair price. There are some other elements of that transaction we think make this a unique and special opportunity for Watermark, a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
First is the fact that it is 35 percent leased. There's room for us to move ministry use in there today but also room to grow in the future. Second is just the fact that it is adjacent to our existing campus. It's the only building that's adjacent to our campus. We think there's an opportunity in the future to connect that building to our existing campus.
There is an area right here, that grassy area in between the two buildings. We call it the grassy knoll. We think there's an opportunity in the future to build a structure maybe similar to the stage 2 facility we have up in the children's building, a large assembly area. That would connect that building to our existing campus.
Third, from a stewardship standpoint, we have a large investment in this existing campus, and we think this transaction will allow us to protect, to enhance, and to maximize that existing investment. What do I mean by that? Well, it's really the only way we can grow the Dallas Campus. The elders, at some point in time, may consider increasing our worship capacity here at Watermark. They would do that by either adding another service on Sunday or possibly adding a service on Saturday night.
The only way they would do that is if we had equivalent space during the week to be able to equip, to train, and disciple those people who would come to that new service. Right now we don't have the capability to do that, but if we did this transaction that would give us the opportunity, if that's the way the elders decided to go.
So what are the numbers on this transaction? The purchase price is $12 million. We have set aside renovations for $6 million. That will allow us to do the floors we've originally talked about doing over there, which are one through four. We have a sample of what we would do on two and three. Two and three are vacant space over there right now, and we would look to finish them out, very similar to what we have on three and four in the existing tower, where you have pods of assembly space. These would seat 400 each.
So that's initially what we would look to do out on the second and third floor. Also, we have the opportunity to put $1 million dollars in this budget, too, and we're using that for some work that needs to be done on the Dallas Campus and some work we need to do in Fort Worth. One thing I forgot to mention about parking that we talked about a little bit earlier… The other thing I think this transaction would do for us from a stewardship standpoint is to allow us to have a permanent solution for our parking.
You all are aware of the fact that we have leases in the garages just to the south, and we need those leases to be able to park our attendance on Sundays and our attendance on the ministries during the week. It's been a great solution for us to have those leases, cost-effective, and quite frankly, we would love to try to extend those for the future, but they are leases, and leases can change over time. Building ownership we have those leases with can change over time.
We don't ever want to have a situation where we can't meet on a Sunday or during the week because of parking. What this transaction would allow us to do is build a parking garage on that east parking lot we're talking about. Hopefully we'll never have to do that, but it gives us a backstop in case we ever need to, and it protects the church not just today but in the future.
Beau: Thanks, Charlie. As Charlie mentioned, we have an opportunity to purchase this facility and fully renovate to be able to expand our capacity, as John mentioned, to be able to serve twice as many people here. The total price to be able to do this is $19 million, and through giving from this group in 2015 we've already been able to set aside $4 million toward that.
The elders are praying specifically that we would have the $19 million before this year is over so we could move very aggressively at the beginning of 2016 to make all of the space in this building fully useable for ministry. As we talk about how we're asking everybody to participate in this, I want to share four things we want everybody to do, and this is something we would encourage you not just to do in considering the opportunity to partner with us on this facility but in every area of life.
The first thing we're going to ask you to do is to pray continually, pray daily. The second thing is we're going to ask you to process in community how it is you're supposed to respond to things. The third thing is we want you to respond obediently to whatever it is God calls you to do in all areas of life. Then the fourth thing is to repeat those three things every day until God takes you home. We're calling you to do that, not just in considering partnering with us on this but in every area of life.
So let's talk about each of these and a verse you could turn to to think about what this looks like. First, pray continually. Psalm 139 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" We need to pray, and that's why you'll see in the Watermark News (and John will share a little bit) that we're providing you with a guideline to be able to pray not only in this but in all things.
As we pray, there are generally two types of things to pray for. The first one is things where Scripture has clearly said what to do. The issue is more of a black-and-white issue. "Should I tell the truth? Should I forgive people? Should I be committed to my marriage?" On those things we don't need to pray for clarity; we need to pray for obedience. God has already given us clarity.
Then there are other things where God has not, in Scripture, given a black-and-white answer of how it is we're supposed to respond. We're supposed to seek him and understand how we would respond, and participating in this facility falls in that category. We're not saying we know you're to participate in this, but we are asking you, as the leaders of the church, to consider this.
That leads us to the next thing, which is we need community to be able to process things. Community is something we're committed to, not just for each individual member but also for the leaders to make sure we are faithfully leading the body. I'll share two passages and try to share why this is important.
The first one is in Hebrews 3 that says, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." We can't do this on our own. It says we need to exhort one another every day. Then Proverbs 12:15: "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes…" Right here. Guilty. "…but a wise man listens to advice."
We are not capable of consistently making good decisions by ourselves when Scripture tells us the human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked; who could understand it? It is too easy to convince ourselves to do the things we want to do. That's why we're committed to every member at Watermark being in a Community Group.
If you're a member you're in a Community Group, and if you're not a member, my number-one call to you today is to find a church where you are committed to being a member and being under the authority of leadership in the "one anothers" of Scripture. If that's Watermark, great. If it's not Watermark, find that church and plug in with people. For the elders, community is really important for us. We are called to shepherd the flock of God. As John mentioned, there are 14,000 people in our body.
We are not able to personally and directly shepherd and know the condition of every person who calls Watermark home, but we know that if every person who's a member, who is who we feel most accountable for, is in a Community Group, who's loved by 5 to 10 people who are shepherding them, and every Community Group has a contact on staff who could work with us that we could jump in and shepherd the flock wherever it is we are uniquely positioned to do that. That's why we're committed to community. We think it's good for you, and we think, as elders, that is the best way for us to be faithful to shepherd the flock.
Once you've done this, we're asking people to respond. In all areas of life we need to respond. To do nothing is a response. That's just a response to endorse whatever the status quo is. When it comes to a facility, we see in the Old Testament in 1 Chronicles 29 and Ezra 3 that God stirred individuals and individuals responded as they were called, and then God used a collection of people to advance what his goal was. Our prayer is that every individual would respond and participate in this.
When it comes to responding, be it in this opportunity with this facility or any area of life, James 4 is a place I turn to often, because it convicts me and it's to the point. James 4:17 says, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." There are certain things where sin has been universally defined for all of us. Those are the things where we don't have to pray for clarity; we have to pray for obedience. Then there are other things where you have a personal direct burden of what the response is. Whatever your response is, I would ask you to do it.
While it's not clear that you need to participate in this facility, it is clear that you need to have a ministry of giving as a follower of Christ. I was reminded of that this week. If you're on The Journey with us, we're in Luke, and you see where Mary and Joseph had Jesus, and then they went to the temple to be able to give their offering, and you see they gave a bird as an offering. If you go back and look in the Old Testament, to give a bird wasn't the customary giving.
It said if you didn't have enough, if you were too poor, you were to give this bird as an offering. God didn't say, "If you don't feel like you're capable of giving to my ministry, don't give." He just said, "Give what you have, and what you have might be less." So I would encourage you to be giving to ministry. If not to this facility, then give to a ministry you feel like you could invest your life in.
The last thing with that is to give us feedback. If you don't feel like this is something you're to participate in but you have feedback for us, we want you to share it with us. That's Proverbs 27:17. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." We want you to sharpen us. If you have a calling to do something else with your time and your talents and we have an opportunity to come alongside you, we'd love for you to tell us that.
You can do that by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. God willing, we're going to have this facility and we're going to have more space. If there's a thing you think you need to pour your life into and we could come alongside you, then we're going to pray we have the space to be able to do that in this new building.
Then the last thing, once you have prayed continually, processed in community, and responded in obedience, is to repeat this every day until God takes you home. We look at some of our favorite people in Scripture. David, a man after God's heart, somebody we love. He did these things, but there were a couple of times where he didn't, where the men who were running with him said, "We're going out to war," and he said, "I'll stay home, and I'm not going to be with you."
He thought about what his heart's desire was away from God, and he ended up in an adulterous relationship. Then later on, he had some children who started having conflict with one another. People around him said, "You have to deal with this," and he just shut them out. He had conflict with his children. He had one child murder another child, because he turned away from these things and didn't keep repeating them.
Then Solomon, who said, "God, give me your wisdom," and God gave it, and he did amazing things. Then at some point he said, "I'm going to trade that in for women and for false religions and for the world's treasures." We follow from there, and you see that the kingdom is split into the North and the South. That's because we have to continue to do these things, because the human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked.
Galatians 6:9-10 says, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." So in all areas we want you to pray, we want you to be in community and process praying through Scripture and praying for God to transform your heart, and we want you to respond in obedience and just keep doing that every day. We want you to be and make disciples.
Now we talked about this specific opportunity earlier this week with a couple hundred of our leaders, and we asked them for feedback. "What are the questions you have that you want to make sure we answer? Then we're going to put together a simulated Q&A on the back end of this to make sure we answer the most frequently asked questions." Once again, if we don't answer your question and you have one, if you email us at email@example.com we'll make sure we respond to you with whatever question you have.
John: One of the things we know here tonight is there are different groups here. For some of you, this may be your very first time at Watermark. What we want you to know is these facilities and these opportunities for the week are for you. We want you to come and learn about who God is and be transformed. That's really our message to you tonight.
There's another message for those of us who call this place home, who are a part of the family, who have watched God transform lives. The message for you is just pray and jump in with us, because we can all do this together. Beau, one of the questions that comes up in these kinds of conversations is, "Well, you already have $4 million. You need $19 million, so why don't we just go borrow $15 million and be done with it?" What would you say about that?
Beau: Well, first off, we want to be firm where Scripture is firm, we want to be flexible where it's flexible, and we want to heed any warnings in Scripture. Scripture never forbids debt, so we're not going to say we will never do debt, but Scripture always speaks of debt with warning and often with consequences. So historically, we have never taken on debt. There has not been a day where Watermark has been in debt. This entire facility was paid as God brought resources to us, and everything we did in Plano was paid. So right now we do not intend to use debt.
John: What about the people who say, "Watermark makes it very hard to know how to give. If we pray about this and we want to be involved, how do we give so we know the money is going toward the building?"
Beau: Right now if someone gives either online or by writing and mailing in a check or dropping one in the box in the back, that goes to our general fund, and that's the default. But if someone wants to give specifically to the facilities fund they could do one of two things. For those who like to go online, you could go online, and there's a drop-down on the "giving" tab that shows for building or facility as opposed to the general fund.
The second thing… I'm a guy who still writes paper checks and balances my checkbook. You could just write in the memo line "facilities" or "building," and we'll set it aside in an account that's specifically committed to the facilities opportunities.
John: Okay, that's important to know, because if you just write a check it will go to the general fund just for the operating expenses, so you have to actually write that in the line notes. Okay, what about the people who would say, "Tell me about this lease/buy thing. If we can lease it right now, what's the rush to get the money to buy it?"
Beau: It is our desire that we would be able to buy it today, and as Charlie mentioned, it hasn't opened up to do that, but as we've been talking about this, a number of potential tenants have come to rent the facility, and the owner has continued to come to us, saying, "Hey, if you're going to end up buying this, do you want us to do this lease or not?" We've continued to say, "No, we don't want to do leases, because we're not in the real estate business, and we don't want to own a fully leased building. We want to have a building to be able to be and make disciples."
So our heart is to be able to get in there as quickly as possible. We have three opportunities in this agreement to purchase the building: in October of 2016, October of 2017, and October of 2018. We're going to be able to start using it in January. So our heart is to go in, immediately start using some of the small group space on the fourth floor that's available today, and then start getting permits and doing renovations on two and three as soon as possible.
Our heart is that we would have that completed or near completed, this summer decide we are fully executing on the purchase agreement, and purchase it in October, but we can't make the commitment to purchase it in October or start doing renovations in January if we don't know we have the resources to be able to do that.
John: For some people, this is probably the first time they're hearing about this. I know we've been under a nondisclosure so we haven't been able to talk about it, but just give us a sense for how long we've been thinking about this. Is this a sudden thing or has it been over time?
Beau: We've been continuing to pray that we would have space. If you've been around for a while, you know that where the children's facility is used to be the worship center, and it sat about 2,000 people. Then as we grew, we knew we were going to eventually have the opportunity to build this, and we left this area empty on our facility and then built this and retrofitted that facility for children's.
We decided in November of 2013… The elders and a number of our leaders got together to figure out "What are we going to do as we're running out of space?" We decided to do two things. The first one was explore opening a campus nearby. We knew there were three large pockets of members of Watermark along the toll road, along 75 up in the Plano area, and then over in the Lake Highlands area. We explored opportunities and found the campus in Plano.
The second thing we said was we would love to be able to have Saturday night services here or look at other creative ways to have services, but we can't do it on this campus because we're out of space midweek. So we were looking to see if we could find a building next door, and we've been praying about this and negotiating for almost two years now.
The general terms of this agreement we came to last summer. We briefly mentioned it on a Sunday morning, and then the seller reminded us we were still under confidentiality and would not be able to do that. So we've been working on some details of the terms but not the big-picture terms for the last year and praying about it daily.
John: Last question. We've started a campus in Plano. We're now looking to extend the Dallas Campus. How does this fit into what our plans are for, say, the next 5 or 10 or even 15 years? Is this part of the master plan?
Beau: Our master plan is what we put in place on day one, which is to be and make disciples. We're going to do that in three ways. We're going to preach the gospel to anyone who needs to hear the gospel, we're going to encourage the fainthearted, and we're going to equip the disciples. That's what we want to do every day.
If we're looking beyond tomorrow when doing that, it's because we are looking at what might get in the way of us being able to continue to say yes to every opportunity that comes. Our long-term strategy is our short-term strategy: to be and make disciples.
John: As part of that short-term strategy, one of the things you'll see in your Watermark News tonight is a prayer guide. At its core, our faith is really about a relationship, a relationship we have with the living God. We get to know him by talking and by listening. For a lot of us, we don't have a lot of background in terms of how to pray effectively.
You'll notice in there that we've laid out some things you can use as you pray in your relationship: to pray for you, to pray for your family, and to pray for our family. It gives you a chance where you can take a section each day of the week or you can go through it periodically and just say, "Am I praying that God would use me, that he would transform me and then use me in the lives of others? Am I praying that my church family will be effective in making disciples?"
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is just to pray. We know that when we work we work but that when we pray God works, and our desire is to see God work here on this campus and in our family. So take that home with you, and you can use that for prayer. Let me pray for us right now.
Father, I pray for the people who are here tonight. Lord, I know that we come and we're in many different situations. Some of us are brand new to this, and we're just trying to figure out who you are and what kind of relationship we can have with you. Others of us have been walking with you for a long, long time, and, Lord, we've watched you be faithful and we've watched how you are a God who's active and alive and who changes us from the inside out.
Father, we pray that we would be a group of people in this room whose lives are changed, that we would be more like your Son, that we would be patient and kind, loving, that our lives would be characterized by peace, and, Father, that we would be focused on eternity, the eternity we get to spend with you, and taking our friends with us. We just pray this in your name, amen.