Year in Review 2023

Watermark Community Church

Dear Watermark family,

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate the amazing work God has done in and through our church family this year. As you know, we dismiss our Sunday services with a simple phrase, “Have a great week of worship.” This phrase is often abbreviated as “HAGWOW” and is inspired by Romans 12:1.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God— this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

While we certainly worship God at our Sunday gatherings, we are also called to offer our entire lives as a spiritual act of worship to God. When we leave Watermark on Sundays, the worship doesn’t stop. Throughout the week, our campus is bustling, and thousands of people are being transformed by Christ, discovering new ways to love like Christ in our city and around the world. As you read through this Year in Review, we hope you’ll find yourself praising God for your vibrant and active church family!

On behalf of our elders–including our latest additions, Rob Thomas and Timothy Ateek–I want to thank you for supporting Watermark Community Church in so many ways. Please consider how you might invest in the work God is doing and join us in praying that we will have a great year of worship (“HAGYOW,” anyone?) in 2024 as we enter our 25th year as a church.

Have a great week of worship, Watermark!

Blake Holmes
Elder, Lead Pastor



On Mondays, we worship the God who heals. Hundreds of people experience recovery and healing in Christ through several care ministries. Across our campus, we gather in both small and large groups to deepen our trust in God’s steadfast character and understand how the good news of the gospel provides our ultimate hope, even in the midst of healing from past hurts, sorrows, and poor choices. Monday is also a day for learning and asking great questions about the Christian faith.

Here’s a snapshot of Mondays this past year:


Watermark members partnered with Prison Fellowship Academy and Noteworthy at Lew Sterrett County Jail every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to teach classes and encourage incarcerated women.


women pursued hope and healing after abortion at Worth More.


10 fellows and 28 residents studied the Bible cover-to-cover at the Watermark Institute.


blended families found support and encouragement at Blended.


men and women pursued hope and healing from sexual abuse at MENd and Courageous Hope.


students in grades 6-12 walked the steps toward healing with 21 adult leaders at re:generation for students. Additionally, 16 other churches hosted re:generation for students nationwide.


people sought answers about the Christian faith, God, and the Bible with a team of 30 volunteers at Great Questions.


engaged or seriously dating couples were mentored by 50 leaders at Merge.


people celebrated commencement at re:generation.


weekly participants with 175 leaders pursued freedom from addictions, hurts, and destructive patterns at re:generation and re:generation en Español. Additionally, 149 churches hosted re:generation nationwide.

“Because of what Christ has done, for the first time, I understand that I’m secure and that security gives me a sense of liberation. It also gives me a sense of deep love, worship, and affection for God.”

Kareem, Great Questions participant



Tuesday’s day of worship is marked by prayer, preparation, and, of course, The Porch! A lot of behind-the-scenes planning also happens on Tuesdays. Our staff gathers every Tuesday morning to pray for our church, and most staff teams meet to ensure that every aspect of the upcoming Sunday–from parking to lighting to kids curriculum–is thoughtfully planned.

Here’s a snapshot of Tuesdays this past year:


reliable vehicles were purchased for participants in Watermark Community Development Corporation’s Financial Catalyst class. Additionally, 7 previous participants returned to serve and give back to this program.


people processed how to care for loved ones wandering from God at a ministry called The Prodigal.


Watermark staff gathered weekly to pray for our city, church, and ministry activities.


people found support and guidance during seasons of job transition and unemployment at Careers in Motion.


young adults gathered to worship Jesus and surrender fully to life with Him at The Porch. Additionally, 11 other churches across the country live-streamed The Porch as part of their ministry to young adults.

“In the last two years, I have learned how to share the gospel, memorize Scripture, and tell the story of God’s grace in my life. I can see the power of God through my weakness. He showed me my gifts and gave me opportunities to use them.”

Logan, Young Adults volunteer



Our week of worship continues on Wednesdays as the church gathers in smaller groups to deepen relationships and strengthen our faith. Students in grades 6-12, college students, and single adults study God’s Word together in homes and settings all across our city. On our campus, Wednesday evenings also have a focus on strengthening marriages.

Here’s a snapshot of Wednesdays this past year:


new small business owners were awarded a total of $25,000 in grants at the Watermark CDC Business Cohort in South Dallas.


women gathered to study Genesis and enjoy a meal together at Women’s Bible Study at Watermark South Dallas.


people ages 18-22 gathered with 30+ young adult leaders at SMU, DBU, UTD, and Watermark to worship, connect, and grow at Rally Nights and Rally Groups. 


participants with 45 leaders invested in marriages at re|engage and re|engage en Español. Additionally, 486 other churches hosted re|engage nationwide.


people studied the Bible and practiced spiritual disciplines at Equipped Disciple. 


single adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s met weekly to proclaim the goodness of God at Gather. 


engaged or seriously dating couples were mentored by 70 leaders at Merge. Additionally, 116 other churches hosted Merge nationwide.


women and 300+ children gathered weekly to learn God’s Word together at Women’s Bible Study. 


students in grades 6-12 were discipled by 290 adult leaders at Wake, Shoreline, and small groups. 

“Anytime I find myself in a situation where I am wavering in my faithfulness to seek God’s approval, I try to find ways to remind myself that my worth is in Christ alone.”

Cambelle, Shoreline participant



On Thursdays, we worship God through studying His Word. From the early morning hours through the evening, almost a dozen ministries meet to learn God’s Word and discover how it guides us in various aspects of our lives, including parenting, stewardship, walking through unique life stages, facing various challenges, and growing as a godly man or woman.

Here’s a snapshot of Thursdays this past year:


people battling chronic illness and their caregivers found hope and support at Refuge.


volunteers from the Worship Team gathered monthly to cultivate community and learn practical development training to grow their musical giftings and abilities.


men and women found support amid the pain of infertility and miscarriage at Shiloh.


adults and children processed the pain of divorce and separation at Divorce Recovery.


adults and children processed the hurt and loss due to the death of a family member, friend, or loved one at Grief Recovery.


moms and dads learned more about God’s heart for parenting and developed a family discipleship plan at Parenting on Point.


people studied the Bible and practiced spiritual disciplines at Equipped Disciple.


men were equipped for the high calling of biblical fatherhood at Dad U.


first-time moms gathered to connect and learn about their new journey of motherhood at Square One.


women learned God’s Word together at Women’s Bible Study.


people learned the basics of biblical stewardship at Moneywise.


men studied God’s Word and encouraged one another to live out the truths of Scripture at Summit.



Fridays are often a fun kick-start to a weekend of worship! It’s common to see our campus bustling on Friday evenings with conference kickoffs, retreat send-offs, or community groups and ministries heading out to Pine Cove Bluffs for a weekend of rest. We also have several other ministries on Fridays focused on groups forging connections and making memories, such as newlyweds, international students, and families of children with special needs.

Here’s a snapshot of Fridays this past year:


Once a month, Watermark members sought out and engaged with victims of sex trafficking to offer care and hope in the name of Jesus at Reclaimed.


original Watermark Music songs were released on Fridays throughout the year.


episodes of Watermark’s Equipping Podcast were released on Fridays throughout the year.


single parent families were given a night of fellowship and encouragement in their spiritual walk at Oasis Night Out.


kids and students with special needs and their siblings attended a monthly night of fun at rEcess.


international college students and 40+ volunteers shared meals, played games, and engaged in gospel conversations at Watermark International Students Initiative (WISI).


elementary students were mentored weekly by 30+ Watermark members through a partnership with Academy 4 at RISD Academy.


couples strengthened their marriages and found community with others in the same life stage at Newlywed Date Nights.


moms connected and learned about godly motherhood at The Nest.


young adults went to Sky Ranch for a great weekend of worship at Launch Retreat.


students in grades 6-12 had a great weekend of worship at our annual in-town retreat called DTown in February.


parents were equipped and encouraged to raise the next generation at the Uncommon Parenting Conference in November.


people enjoyed God’s creation and deepened relationships through affordable and fun weekend retreats hosted by Watermark at Pine Cove Bluffs.

“Serving is a way to show love to people, and loving our city is a way to show Christ to people who don’t know Him.”

David, WISI volunteer



Saturdays find us worshipping God through service to others. Watermark members often use their Saturdays to love our city by serving with dozens of local ministry partners who are focused on strategic initiatives like mentoring, poverty alleviation, homelessness, and providing healthcare for under-resourced individuals in our city. We also host several in-depth equipping opportunities on Saturdays to help our church family deepen their understanding of God’s Word.

Here’s a snapshot of Saturdays this past year:


individuals experiencing homelessness conversations by 15 members volunteering monthly at Cornerstone Kitchen.


men and women over the age of 60 gathered bi-weekly to build a Christ-centered, mission-oriented community at Legacy.


members and their families served the city through local ministry partners like OurCalling, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, and more at Impact Dallas.


kids and parents from 30 families connected and grew at the first-ever Kinship, Foster Care, and Adoption Retreat.


people explored what the Bible says about theology, culture, and apologetics were served dinner and engaged in gospel through one-day classes at Training Day.


people packed 108,000 meals at Feed My Starving Children. This will feed 295 children every day for a year!

“Through serving and being an active church member, I get to speak life into a community where, for so long, I did the opposite.”

Ernesto, Watermark South Dallas volunteer



On Sundays, we worship through...worship! Our whole church gathers to worship through songs, prayers, testimonies, baptisms, communion, fellowship, and the study of God’s Word. Hundreds of volunteers also give of their time and talent to welcome guests, care for kids, help facilitate worship and teaching, and so much more to make Sundays happen. We may be biased, but we think Sundays might just be the best day of the week.

Here’s a snapshot of Sundays this past year:


Rob Thomas and Timothy Ateek were added to Watermark’s elder team.


interpreters make ASL interpretation possible at every 11:15 AM service.


kids and students with additional needs received extra care and “buddy support” at Kaleidoscope.


stories of God’s grace were told through the Watermark News. 5,000+ copies are distributed each week.


adults and 60+ kids and students attended 3 PM services each week and studied the book of Acts at Watermark South Dallas.


people shared their testimonies and proclaimed a new life in Christ through baptism.


newly married couples invested in their marriage and Christ-centered community through Foundation Groups.


Spanish speakers attended worship weekly at Watermark en Español.


neighbors spent the day at Watermark South Dallas at the third annual Fall Fun in the South.


kids throughout the week, with the help of 100+ leaders, learned more about Jesus at Kids Midweek while parents attended various ministries on campus.


Frontlines volunteers helped host, park, greet, and welcome guests.


people took their next steps toward joining a community group by attending Community Formation, and 58 new community groups were formed.


people completed Membership Classes and joined our mission at Watermark. 70+ of these new members joined in South Dallas.


kids were welcomed and taught about Jesus each week at Watermark Kids.


adults attended services each week at Watermark.

“I’ve experienced God even in the smallest of things and people. Our classroom of three-year-olds reminds me of God’s power and love.”

Jonas, Watermark Kids volunteer



Other ways we had a great year of worship:


streams of 8,122 Christ-centered sermons and other content. 


views of 1,818 biblically- based articles.


streams of the Join the Journey podcast. 


Watermark Health celebrated 10 years of ministry and 72,000+ patient visits.


leaders representing 600+ churches were equipped, inspired, and trained through events like the Church Leaders Conference, re:generation Training Conference, and Marriage Ministry Training Conference with Watermark Resources.


Watermark was also able to fund a new partnership with Seed Company to translate 3,218 verses of the Bible (Matthew, Luke, and part of Genesis) for the first time into a language spoken by 30 million people in the Middle East.


people per week were served at Watermark Coffee. The shop added seating and extended its hours to include Saturday mornings. We also opened new spaces for community groups in the East Tower. 


kids in El Salvador are now sponsored by Watermark members through Compassion International. 500+ of those kids were added in the past year.


church planters were sponsored and sent through a ministry partner to unreached people groups throughout South Asia. 


pastors and church planters were sponsored through a ministry partner, and they are on track to plant 20+ churches in Iran.

Financial FAQs

Financial FAQs

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

What is Watermark’s budget?

Our budget is $33.3 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024. We are funded entirely through the generous giving of our body. Those dollars are contributed all throughout the year, but about 25% of our annual giving is received each December.

Why don’t we “pass the plate” for giving at Watermark?

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.

How is Watermark’s budget used?

86% of our budget goes directly to 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.

How does Watermark prepare for the unexpected?

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.

How did the budget change from last year?

Our budget increased by $1.1 million (3%) over last year. High inflation was again a significant driver. 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. Our actual spending has consistently been less than budgeted, and any extra funds are put toward strategic priorities.

Does Watermark have any debt?

We gratefully celebrate that we have never incurred any debt.

How is the budget created, approved, and managed?

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.

How do I get more information?

Our finance team is happy to meet with members to discuss our budget and answer finance-related questions. Please email and let us sit down with you at the Watermark Coffee Shop!