We joyfully celebrate the Lord’s powerful work through the local body of believers at our Plano campus. Over the last five years at the Plano campus, through the transforming power of a relationship with Jesus Christ, the hurting and broken have found healing and recovery at Plano’s re:generation ministry, marriages have been restored through the re|engage ministry, men and women have formed deep authentic relationships with each other, been equipped, and fallen more in love with our Savior through the men’s and women’s equipping ministries, and the next generation of fully devoted followers of Christ have been discipled through Kids’ Ministry and Plano Students. That is just a fraction of the remarkable work the Lord has done in and through His people at the Plano campus.
Over the last five years, the Lord has also generously provided faithful Campus Shepherds and staff leaders who are fully equipped to shepherd the flock He has entrusted to them (1 Peter 5:2). Watermark’s Elders have grown in their conviction that, all things being equal, a healthy, independent, local church is more effective than a healthy satellite campus of a multisite church. So in light of God’s provision of committed, faithful Campus Shepherds and a growing church body that is prepared to shepherd those the Lord entrusts to them, the Watermark Elders have determined that the Plano campus leadership is fully prepared to operate as an independent, local church, beginning January 1, 2021.
Some of the reasons why the Elders believe that the Lord has prepared the Plano leadership team for this new work are as follows:
A simple phrase to remember is “Same Church, Local Leadership, and Local Teaching.” Almost everything about our church will stay the same! Our Doctrinal Statement, mid-week ministries, commitment to community, and nine core values will all stay the same. The main difference will be the transfer of leadership from Watermark’s Elders to Watermark Plano Elders. It is the Elders’ conviction that biblically qualified Elder leadership has been present and ready in Plano for years with Grant MacQuilkan, Johnathan Collins, Kyle Kaigler, and Rob Barry serving as Plano Campus Shepherds. The Campus Shepherds will be presented to the Plano body for feedback and prayer as part of the transition process at a future date. Additionally, current Watermark Elder Brian Buchek, who was previously a Plano Campus Shepherd, will return as an Elder of the new Watermark Plano church.
After years of prayer and constant conversation, the Elders have all come to a conviction that, all things being equal, a healthy independent church is better than a healthy satellite. Your local Plano leadership agrees with this conviction. Here are the primary drivers:
Historically, we have streamed most weekend messages from the Dallas campus so that all four Watermark campuses were aligned. Moving forward, we are excited to have live, local teaching from a gifted teaching team that will include Derek Mathews (who is returning to Plano staff as Teaching Pastor), as well as Jeff Parker, Harrison Ross, and Kyle Kaigler.
The Elders have given us the freedom to keep the name Watermark Plano. We love the name Watermark Plano and are inclined to keep it because of what it represents to the community and the world. However, with the proximity to the Dallas campus, there are challenges that could end up being confusing to the community around us. Please pray for wisdom as we seek God’s direction.
The Elders and Campus Shepherds recognize their calling to shepherd well the flock of God that are in their local church. For students already in a small group, they will be able to stay in those groups through high school graduation, if they choose. Student groups established starting this fall will be specific to the Plano campus.
For adults in groups that have only Plano Members nothing will change. However, for groups that have a mix of Dallas, Frisco, and Plano campus Members, over the next two years we want groups to intentionally move toward a single church, be it Watermark Community Church Dallas, Frisco, or Watermark Plano. This could be done through multiplication or division of community groups, or everyone in the community group choosing to commit to one church. The community staffs at Dallas, Frisco, and Plano are committed to helping your group accomplish any of these paths. Any new Plano community groups starting now will only include Plano Members.
Our church has taken great strides to be financially independent over the last two years. Our Members are currently giving at a level that allows us to be financially stable, and we are excited to increase our independence upon the faithfulness of our Plano body to continue sustaining the mission at Watermark Plano. When we launch to independence, Watermark will provide us with a three-month operating reserve.
We will stay the course and finish what we started 18 months ago. We are scheduled to break ground this summer and intend to complete the project in time for the 1/1/21 Launch. Stay tuned for an update.
Additionally, we are excited that the Elders decided this week to further invest in the mission in Plano by contributing $500,000 to our Phase Two Building Project. It is important to remind Plano campus Members that 100% of the money given to Plano from Plano Members has been used only for the Plano campus for the last five years.
There is consideration being given to some form of a formal network but with no thought of any kind of denominational structure. We are certain that the deep affection, shared learnings, and mutual encouragement will continue to make both churches everything our Savior desires them to be.