To: Todd Wagner
Subject: On The Fence About Watermark
Hello Pastor Wagner,
Good Experiences So Far:
We, as a family, have been visiting Watermark for the past month. We are very much considering joining the church and actively participating in its community missions. The services have been relevant in our day-to-day lives and compelling. My doctor – Jay Burns, a lovely Christ follower, is a walking testimonial for Watermark and even offered to introduce us to you. I have had a wonderful conversation with Suzanne Sanderson about the elementary children’s program to make sure I’m aligned and okay with it. I also had a moving discussion/debate with Suzanne about the color of the membership.
With that said, I have been on the fence about joining primarily because I feel lost in what I call “a sea of White.” Please do not be offended by my phrasing. Everyone at Watermark has been inclusive and welcoming. Being black, I feel as though I stand out more within the congregation. Bottom line, I know that’s not what matters. It’s about being spiritually fed and feeling as though God brought me to Watermark to carry out a purpose or mission. I’m just trying to reconcile that with a natural conflict with traditional churchgoing norms. You don’t see many White people falling over themselves to join a predominantly black church and I think that’s only natural from a comfort perspective.
What is your position on racial integration in the church body?
Does Watermark plan to actively market to more diverse audiences/if so how (e.g. black, Hispanic, Asian)? (keep in mind we reviewed your Web site to see the faces you present and I cruised your lot on a Sunday to see the faces and ask questions of your attendants)
What is the greater vision for Watermark in Dallas?
Why does Watermark do community mission work in South and East Dallas as oppose to any other Dallas locations?
From: Todd Wagner
Xxxxxx…thanks for your note and your honesty about your concerns right now. I am so grateful that you have enjoyed Watermark for the last month and would love to answer your questions. If you’re familiar with our website, you may have seen our position/passion for diversity, but if not, it’s below so that you can continue to be informed.
Diversity — We agree that churches more easily attract those with similar preferences and/or life experiences. Therefore, we acknowledge that simply by being who we are, we necessarily “target” a certain segment of our society. Our desire however, is that the Holy Spirit will bless us with a rich diversity of ages, life-stages, religious, racial, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We desire to foster an atmosphere of unity that communicates warmth and acceptance of all that care to join us. It is our hope that the things that ultimately define us are those things that speak to the needs of the entire human race not only specific ethnic or demographic ones. Therefore, we stress such universal concerns as forgiveness, redemption, significance, peace, meaning and truth above styles, tastes and preferences.
To answer your question about marketing ourselves towards races, our heart is to continue to pursue Christ and minister to ALL He brings to us, hoping that the sweet aroma of Jesus is upon us and attracts anyone who is hurting, lost, or broken. As a church we don’t target races, but rather all hearts to be turned completely towards Christ. We would love for the Lord to bless us with as many unique personalities and life experiences to aptly form a unified yet mosaic body to completely serve Him. We hope all who feel stirred to worship with us are equally loved, encouraged, and challenged, and that we foster an atmosphere that allows for our members to feel comfortable inviting their friends from every sort of background to join us.
Regarding vision, as a church our purpose is to call all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. We want to continue to reach out to the unchurched, de-churched, dead churched, as well as call followers of Christ here to Believe in Him, Belong to His body, Be trained in truth, and Be strong for ministry…which is what we refer to as the “4 Bs”. We would love to see all believers realizing the abundant life that they have with Christ on earth, and want to leave a lasting impression wherever we are!
We have been graciously given the Lord’s favor to have ministry partnerships to serve in South and West Dallas, and have seen fruit in the opportunities we have been given. We also encourage our members to reach out wherever they may live/work/go to school – and we have story after story of lives being changed all around the Metroplex because the body of Christ at Watermark is faithfully loving neighbors, their kids’ friends, co-workers, or anyone else they may come in contact with.
We would love for you and your family to be a part of that ministry if you continue to feel led to make Watermark your church home, and we would hope that your leadership in joining a predominately white church will open the doors for hundreds and thousands of others to follow you as we pursue Christ, His purposes and each other together. I would enjoy meeting you guys the next time you visit…you are always free to stop by after a service to say hello and allow me to welcome you in person. Dr. Burns is kind to offer an introduction, and I would always love to see him as well if he wants to join you. I agree that he is a great example of faith and Christ-likeness to me, and I’m grateful that he has been the same to you and your family.
As you continue to process your next steps, we pray that God would have you yoked with other believers.
Thanks again Xxxxxx…it encourages me to hear how you have felt loved and welcomed at Watermark, and I am hopeful that you and your family grow in Christ no matter where you decide to worship Him. I look forward to meeting you soon and being able to greet you face-to-face.
7540 LBJ Frwy
Dallas, TX 75251
Join the Journey at www.jointhejourney.com