Dear Watermark Family,
Words fail to appropriately express the gratitude and joy I feel in my heart as we celebrate 2022 and look forward to the New Year.
As our church vision statement reads, we desire to be people who have been transformed by Christ, to love like Christ. Thanks to the Lord’s grace and provision, we witnessed remarkable stories of life change. Every Sunday we read stories in the Watermark News of the Spirit at work, whether in young adults experiencing freedom, students walking in community, single adults serving throughout our city, married couples resolving conflict, or parents discipling their children. Story after story speaks to the Lord’s work in our midst…
This year, we concentrated our efforts around four strategic priorities:
As you read about the progress made with each initiative, I encourage you to consider the fact that each number represents a name. Each name represents a person whom the Lord loves and a testimony of God’s grace.
Thank you, church, for serving as the hands and feet of Jesus to all the people represented. Thank you for earnestly praying, faithfully preparing, humbly engaging, and generously giving. Your faithfulness makes a tremendous impact and, in many instances, an eternal difference.
For as many reasons we have to celebrate, we face just as many opportunities and challenges in the New Year. As we continue to grow as a church, we face an increased need for leaders to invest in students’ lives, mentors to counsel engaged couples, facilitators to launch new community groups, teachers to write curriculum, and counselors to care for the hurting. The needs and opportunities to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) require every member’s participation.
God also calls each of us to serve as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) in a world growing increasingly hostile toward the truth of the gospel. This call applies to every believer — including you — and extends to every area of life, whether in business, education, family, friendships, politics, or recreation. As those entrusted with the gospel, we must proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). The Lord has equipped you for this very purpose (1 Peter 4:10).
As you consider how the Lord might use you in the coming year, remember the parable of the hidden treasure:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)
The parable teaches us that the richness of knowing and serving the Lord outweighs every sacrifice. I challenge you to take your next step of faithfulness, and with joy, dedicate yourself to God’s people and purposes.
See you on Sunday,
In light of our vision statement this year, “Transformed by Christ to love like Christ,” we are in awe of how Christ continues to transform the hearts of His people. As we celebrate the previous year at Watermark, we are rejoicing over the great stories the Lord continues to write among our body.
With a priority to deepen our theology of God and the Church, our local body prayed for an elevated view of God, and we sought to increasingly yield to His Spirit in all things. Through courses, events, and resources, as well as consistent corporate practices like communion and reciting the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord drew us together and closer to Him.
This strategic priority shaped our Sunday messages. We taught through the entire book of 1 Corinthians and deepened our understanding of the local church. Then we finished up the year by teaching through Genesis 1-3 to explore God’s character and His infinite wisdom displayed through creation.
We started a weekly prayer service in the Chapel at 5 PM on Sundays to create new opportunities for us to faithfully pray together as a church.
Through Join The Journey, we renewed our emphasis on reading the Bible together. We brought back print journals and introduced a daily podcast which had a total of 445,646 streams. New content is coming for parents and families in 2023. Stay tuned for Join The Journey Junior!
At Great Questions, over 300 people found a safe place to ask questions and process through honest doubts about God, faith, and Christianity.
39 people graduated from the Watermark Institute and 46 members graduated from the Lay Institute. Residents and Fellows collectively dedicated over 17,000 hours to further the Kingdom through various ministries at Watermark and at churches across the country.
The Collective hosted events in January and August where hundreds of women were equipped, empowered, and inspired to serve the Church and bless the city.
200 Spanish speakers have been discipled through Watermark’s Spanish language midweek ministries like re:generation, re|engage, Equipped Disciple, Summit, and Women’s Bible Study.
Over 70 participants learned about God’s heart for the nations through the Perspectives on World Missions course.
Watermark Music released 14 original songs written specifically to encourage and equip our local body.
Over 3,000 young adults from all 50 states attended the Awaken Conference where they were given a renewed vision of Christ and His church along with biblical equipping and a call to share the gospel and strengthen churches in their local communities.
Through Church Leaders Conference, Re:generation Training Conference, and Marriage Ministry Training Conference, Watermark Resources helped over 3,100 church leaders, representing over 500 churches, to be energized and equipped in their service and dedication to ministry.
Discuss with your community group: What is something new that you learned about the Lord and His character this year? What Scripture is encouraging to you?
In July, Oren Martin joined Watermark staff from Southern Seminary as our new Senior Director of Equipping. He is leading our efforts to grow and disciple our body in the knowledge and application of God’s Word.
“The Lord has used Join The Journey to get me through seasons of living out of state and in the whirlwind of life.” – LK Ortiz
1,000 people became Members of our local body by completing the Membership process.
Over 650 people took their next step of faithfulness by joining a Community Group, resulting in 106 new groups churchwide.
We began hosting a third service on Sundays. The 5 PM service was created to build a greater sense of community, a greater witness, and a greater opportunity to serve.
We secured the use of Pine Cove Bluffs Camp, one of Pine Cove’s family camps, giving family ministries and Community Groups a unique opportunity to rest, retreat, and grow together.
Over 1,600 members from 1,087 groups served as Community Group leaders and shepherds to ensure every member is known and cared for.
We rejoiced with the 40 people who became the very first members of Watermark South Dallas and who are excited to continue sharing the love of Christ with their neighbors in that part of the city.
In the first full year of gathering, 70 people attended church on Sundays in South Dallas, and over 60 kids and students joined each week.
Over 200 single adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s attended Gather each week and events throughout the year to be spiritually encouraged and connected with others in their life stage.
We celebrated the one-year anniversary of Watermark en Español. 160 Spanish speakers gathered each Sunday in the Loft to worship and hear the preaching of God’s Word in their heart language.
Over 450 volunteers faithfully served with our Frontlines ministry to lovingly host, warmly welcome, and pray for guests at Sunday services.
Over 200 leaders served weekly at The Porch to pastor and shepherd an average of 3,000 attendees through issues such as loneliness, addiction, abortion, anxiety, depression, relational conflicts, past hurts, and more.
A new Porch leadership team called Team Solo was formed specifically to host people who attend The Porch alone. These faithful ministers welcomed newcomers and helped them to immediately begin meeting others.
Every week, our staff individually prayed for and connected with people who submitted a prayer request, first impression, or question on the tear-off section in the Watermark News.
We introduced a monthly “Dear Watermark Family” letter from one of our Elders in Watermark’s weekly newsletter, The Current. These notes encouraged and equipped our church with messages, charges, and prayers about recent events at Watermark and beyond.
American Sign Language interpretation continues on Sundays and at The Porch, and we’ve added to the Frontlines Team to warmly welcome those entering on Sundays using ASL.
This year, there has been more of an effort toward inclusion for kids and students with special and additional needs, including the new Inclusion Care Coordinator position to lead in events and ministries throughout the week.
Discuss with your community group: How can you help someone else feel seen and connected at Watermark ministries this year?
“At home in California, church was online, I was working remotely, and I lacked deep community. After attending Awaken 2021, I felt the Lord calling me to Dallas to serve at The Porch and get involved Watermark. Through the Lord’s faithfulness, I have seen for the first time what it looks like to be completely authentic with other believers. He has gone above and beyond what I ever thought was imaginable.” – Paige Davenport
"When I did join a biblical community with other men, it changed my life. Those guys modeled to me the power of confession, repentance, and being known. There is so much power in letting God and others know where you are in your sin struggles and faith. I fought it for so long, but I learned that authenticity and vulnerability is where healing comes from." - Deandre Williams
The Uncommon Marriage Conference returned to Watermark in November, and over 2,200 attendees were inspired and equipped to focus on God’s design and plan for spouses to thrive.
More than 6,000 kids were welcomed on Sundays into Watermark Kids (infants - grade 5), where they were taught about God’s Word and the many treasures found in Christ.
Watermark Kids launched a text message platform called “Drive Time,” providing questions to help parents have meaningful faith conversations with their children about what they learned at church.
Almost 950 leaders faithfully served, discipled, and cared for over 1,500 children in weekend and midweek kids ministry areas, allowing their parents to find encouragement, teaching, healing, and transformation in their spiritual lives.
More than 150 people participated in The Prodigal, a ministry to bring hope and peace to families of children who are wandering from God through the application of God’s Word.
Seasoned mentor couples discipled and supported newlyweds across 40 Foundation Groups through their first year of marriage in biblical community.
More than 800 couples completed Merge to prepare for marriage by addressing common challenges and obstacles married couples face from a biblical perspective.
BetterMan, a mentorship and discipleship opportunity for men, connected 375 members across multiple generations to learn and discuss the biblical definition of manhood.
More than 310 young adult leaders discipled, equipped, and challenged students (grades 6-12) to grow in their faith through various ministries like re:generation for students, Wake, and Shoreline.
In the Kids Core Truths summer program, 85 elementary-age kids learned how to be a part of God’s church, what it means to share God’s love, and how God is using His Church around the world.
Discuss with your community group: What are some ways the Lord has strengthened families in your community this year? Commit to praying for a family you know in 2023.
"I feel rooted in my faith in a way I never have before. And I crave for my kids to have an experience like mine, where they come to know the Lord on their own as their savior." - Kathryn Long
We hosted Pine Cove City, a Christ-centered summer day camp on our campus. In 2023, we plan to double our capacity to sponsor a free week of camp for the children of many members of our church who serve vocationally as police, fire, and paramedic first responders. Thank you for your service!
To better reach and disciple college students, Watermark College hosted 18 new weekly small groups on college campuses in the Dallas area.
In September, Watermark Community Development Corporation (CDC) raised $206,310 on North Texas Giving Day to help create sustainable economic change in the city of Dallas.
Financial Catalyst, a ministry of Watermark CDC, received $518,000 of matched funds, allowing 61 participants from under-resourced communities to purchase life-changing assets that provided shelter and transportation for their families.
Through the CDC’s Job Connection Program, 67 individuals were placed in jobs and received discipleship and professional training.
Through the Unexpected Pregnancy Mentorship Program, 23 women were empowered to choose life instead of abortion.
At the second annual Fall Fun in the South event for our friends and neighbors in South Dallas, 285 volunteers helped host over 500 people that gathered for yard games, fellowship, food, and a gospel-centered pumpkin carving activity.
Watermark South Dallas held community meetings and numerous individual conversations to learn how to use the building in ways that best serve our neighbors. Please pray for the rezoning process currently underway.
Over 8,600 patients visited Watermark Health, where they received care and heard the gospel through a team of over 160 volunteers. As a result of these visits, over 2,000 people connected with various Watermark ministries for the first time.
Watermark Health received $315,353 on North Texas Giving Day in September, exceeding their original goal of $300,000 to allow more than 100 days of life-changing healthcare in their clinics.
The Watermark Health Mobile Clinic saw over 590 patients, providing urgent care to the homeless community at OurCalling, school physicals across Dallas, and specialized hypertension care at the South Dallas campus.
Every month, 40 Watermark volunteers gather with over 120 international students to build long-term relationships and share the gospel.
Through the Prison Ministry, 15 Watermark members are leading re:generation in 2 prisons with 80 incarcerated men walking the steps of Christ-centered recovery.
More than 400 members served Dallas with the Love Our City summer initiative through ministry partners like Feed My Starving Children, OurCalling, and Brother Bill’s Helping Hand.
Discuss with your community group: How has your transformation in Christ encouraged you to love others in our city this year?
"I want to always be in a position where I am abiding with the Lord. I see our little bubble and realize how we can easily lose perspective of the greater call to take His name to the ends of the earth. I think we are being called to have really meaningful relationships with people who don't know Him." - Aimee Bloom
"Serving isn't always comfortable, but I am a firm believer that anything worth having is just beyond your comfort zone. I spent years pursuing my flesh, but through Mercy Street, Christ gave me an opportunity to serve and love the community of West Dallas." - Grant Terry
We believe the best way to facilitate joyful giving (2 Corinthians 9:7, Matthew 6:4) is not to prompt it with a specific moment in the service, but to provide our body with opportunities to give as the Lord leads. Anyone can give online, send checks by mail, place gifts in the secure giving boxes in the auditorium, or drop off gifts in person at our offices.
86% of our budget goes directly to Kingdom work, including all weekend and midweek ministries, our staff, local and international ministry partners, conferences, and other strategic investments in churches locally and around the world. 14% of our budget goes toward operating, maintaining, and developing the facilities at our campuses, which are used all throughout the week.
Given that our economy cycles over time and we could be impacted in a downturn, we see wisdom in maintaining some reserves for the unknown. In accordance with the direction of our Business Advisory Team, we set aside funds to cover three months of operating expenses, along with a reserve account to fund repairs and maintenance as needed for our facilities.
We have rigorous processes to track every dollar in and out of Watermark, with monthly reporting for each department. Our annual financial statements are audited each year by an outside firm to ensure accuracy and accountability.
Our budget increased by $4.1 million (15%) over last year. High inflation was a significant driver. Over the past four years, our budget has increased an average of 8.5% annually. The only way our budget is maintained or can increase is through the generous giving of our body. We continually look for ways to use funds more effectively, cutting budgets where cost-saving opportunities are found. If additional staff hires are necessary to support growth, there is a rigorous process to vet all requests before they are approved. Our actual spending has consistently been less than budgeted, and any extra funds are put toward strategic priorities.
Our finance team is happy to meet with members to discuss our budget and answer finance-related questions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us sit down with you at the Watermark Coffee Shop!
Each ministry and department builds its budget from the ground up every year, evaluating what we should keep doing, start doing, and stop doing. Budgets are then reviewed by our internal finance and executive teams; our lay-led Business Advisory Team, which provides leadership in our budget planning and implementation; and our Elders, who ultimately approve the budget.