For breakout sessions this year, we've brought back some past favorites and we will be introducing several new ones. Breakout sessions happen during the second day of the CLC and are meant to equip and resource you in a broad range of areas – from ministry overviews to hot topics facing churches today to leadership and skill development.
Bring your whole team and divide and conquer. Attendees of the Church Leaders Conference will also get access to the audio of all breakout sessions after the conference. Explore all our breakouts below:
Shepherding, Discipleship & Leadership Development
Ministry Tactics, Tips & Principles
Culturally Relevant Topics
Organizational Leadership for Senior Leaders
Small Group Ministry Overview with Robbie Rice
For many of our churches, Small Groups are the main entry point where people begin to experience biblical community and practice the “one anothers” of Scripture, leading to spiritual transformation. In this breakout, we’ll discuss our foundational values and guiding principles for community, how we assimilate and form groups, how we train our leaders, and how we ensure that members are shepherding one another.
Equipping Ministry Overview with Nathan Wagnon and Bobby Crotty
An effective equipping ministry creates opportunities for people to take their next step toward maturity, regardless of where they are in their walk with Christ. A one-size-fits-all approach often leaves both the new in Christ and mature in Christ feeling on the fringe rather than in the fold. Come learn strategies and innovative ideas to provide equipping opportunities based on time commitment and maturity level.
Young Adult Ministry Overview with David Marvin and Mark Saha
How are you investing in the Church’s future? Young Adults change the world, and they have more time and resources than nearly any other life stage in the Church. Let us help you do all you can to minister to them and through them. Take advantage of this key opportunity to impact the world through the local church! We’ll share best practices of leading a ministry to Millennials that has grown to 3,000+ weekly attendees.
Worship Ministry Overview with Jon Abel
Watermark’s worship ministry started 18 years ago with a borrowed guitar, a couple of singers, and a second-hand sound system that worked . . . most of the time. While teams, facilities, and resources have evolved over time, there are many things that have remained unchanged. Our goal is to serve you and share with you what we have learned on the musical and practical end of leading worship, but more importantly, what goes on behind the scenes of a worship ministry. A few of the topics we plan to cover are pastoring/shepherding a worship team, how to develop volunteers, how to lead a rehearsal, setting a vision and being who you are in your context, and developing an authentic, healthy, biblical worship culture.
Student Ministry Overview with Braun Brown
Come hear the history, vision, and values that have shaped Watermark's ministry to 6-12th graders for last 16 years. Meet our student ministry team and learn from Braun Brown, a leader with 25 years of experience working with teenagers. Discover what we believe to be the absolute essentials when it comes to helping students become rooted in Christ and grow to be influential for His Kingdom.
External Focus / Missions Overview with Jeff Ward and Oscar Castillo
The hallmark of healthy churches is a growing capacity and effectiveness in loving and serving both locally and internationally. And yet, it’s easy to get stuck in old ruts of thinking, serving up what in effect are turkey dinners and toy baskets. Whether you’re just getting started, or looking to increase your impact, come learn some practical ways to think about your church’s service "sweet spot” and deploy the modern day “Samaritans” in your church.
Elementary Ministry Overview with David Kimball, Jason Bradshaw, and Matt Clyde
George Barna says, “In the race to a child's heart, the first one there wins.” Come hear how we are striving to intentionally influence the lives of kids and parents with the good news of the gospel and to equip them for their mission of being and making disciples. We will also discuss how to develop and empower lay leaders, while focusing on the good news of the gospel.
Preschool Ministry Overview with Jinger Lord, Angela Ardis, and Lea Singer
Preschool ministry is not just babysitting while parents go to church. Come hear how we are teaching kids that God loves them, He can be trusted, and following Jesus is FUN! Discover fresh ways to engage volunteer leaders in the journey of discipleship. Learn how we build a foundation of faith in the hearts of preschoolers that make them want to drag their parents to church and impacts how they view themselves, God, and His Word.
Recovery Ministry Overview with Nate Graybill and Ann Daly
Why have over 70% of Watermark's staff been through recovery, and why do almost 1,500 people attend recovery at Watermark each week? Because God is using recovery to transform the lives of people across all stages of health and maturity in Christ. Is your church the central place of healing for its members and for your community? Learn how we use biblical steps to help Christians shepherd one another through any struggle (e.g. addiction, pride, sexual struggles, codependency, depression, etc.) toward freedom in Christ. See how you can equip your church to be the place where anyone can experience recovery in all of areas of life.
Marriage Ministry Overview with John McGee and Scott Kedersha
For the last 15 years, Watermark Community Church’s approach of preparing nearly weds, establishing newlyweds, and enriching and restoring all marriages has had a large impact on our church, community, and even other churches. We’ve found that marriage ministry can be one of the most effective ways for the church to be and make disciples. In this breakout, we will discuss the "why" behind our marriage ministry model, provide an overview of the ministries, and share how this strategy can be contextualized for your home church.
Single Adults Ministry Overview with Lonnie Smith
More than half of the people in the U.S. are single. How, as leaders of the “typically” family-oriented church, do we equip, connect, and encourage America’s greatest mission field so that they are both growing as disciples and making disciples? Don’t allow the most available and resourced demographic at your church to get lost in the crowd. Come hear the who, what, when, where, why, and how of effective ministry to the unmarried in the body of Christ. It really is possible to build a foundation for ministry to single adults who, together on mission and centered on Christ, can become fully integrated into the total life of your church!
College Ministry Overview with Daniel Crawford and Paige Tisdale
While parachurch ministries have proven to be terrific sources of spiritual formation across college campuses for decades, we believe that organizations like CRU and YoungLife can be fantastic supplements to the local church, but never a substitute. Along with the increasingly secular, liberal, post-Christian ideologies that now mark most university faculties and campus cultures, the call for the Church to be the Church is more critical than ever. But where do we even start? In the past 18 months, we have seen the Watermark College Ministry triple in size and scope. While there is no magic formula to reaching these students, we would love to share with you what we are seeing and what we are learning.
A Field Guide to Conflict: Navigating Our Greatest Opportunity To Love One Another with Garrett Raburn and Becky Lyus
Since all relationships will face disagreements at some time, followers of Christ must commit to following biblical principles as a guide for resolving conflict. Come receive tools that will serve as a continual resource for you and your church as you strive to serve others, grow personally, and glorify the Lord in the context of conflict.
Shepherding Those in Habitual Sin with John Elmore
Inevitably, there will be times that members, volunteers, leaders, and even staff will find themselves in habitual sin. And the Church is called to shepherd people caught in sin - not shun or turn a blind eye to them. How we respond will determine the health of the individual and thus the health of the church. In this session, we will share biblical principles and practical steps to help shepherd those who are caught in the spiral of addiction or unrepentance into healing and freedom in Christ.
Making Truth Taste Good: How to Counsel from Scripture with John Elmore
Paul warned the Church: No matter how zealous, how gifted and how willing to suffer - if you lack love you are a nuisance and are/gain nothing. We all know love is essential, but it’s often so hard to balance truth and grace when facing difficult counseling situations. In this session, we will look at essential components of biblical counsel and time-tested methodology that open the heart of the hearer.
A Leader and His/Her Family with John & Pam McGee and Lance & Mandy Sisco
Before a leader leads in the church, the family must be led well. We will discuss the unique challenges and opportunities those in ministry face in leading their homes, along with practical ideas for leading and loving their spouse and children.
How To Care For People Experiencing Crisis with Brett Billman
The phone rings, and you soon learn that someone you love has received devastating news. What do you do? Paralyzed by insecurity and fear, many people do not know how to respond in a crisis. Consequently, they miss out on a unique opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ and care for others during their greatest time of need. Come hear Brett Billman share the lessons he learned through the example of others after walking through medical trauma with his family.
Membership: Why It Matters and How It Reinforces the Mission with Rick Wisner and Brandon Sanchez
Why should we care whether people are members, and what difference does it make to them and the church? How does membership help you know whom to shepherd? How do we create a common understanding of the benefits and responsibilities of membership? For many, membership is optional, but God sees belonging to a local body as an important part of spiritual growth. Your approach toward membership can say a lot about your commitment to the spiritual health of those in your care.
The Institute: Training Church Leaders Beyond the Walls of Seminary with Blake Holmes and Braun Brown
The Watermark Institute provides biblical training and discipleship, combined with real-life ministry experience, for gifted leaders who desire to serve in vocational ministry. Join us for an inside look at what we are doing to raise up the next generation of leaders within the local church.
Sharing the Burden: Moving Ministry to the Members with Jim Wimberley and Mark Nicholson
When someone comes to you with a good idea for ministering to hurting and struggling people, what is your response? Here at Watermark, our response is, "That is a great idea, why don't you put together a leadership team and do it?" Over the years, 15 pastoral care ministries have started and are led by lay leadership teams with very limited support from staff. Come find out how you can lessen the burden on your staff as you increase the involvement of members when they start doing the work of the ministry. That’s when the fun begins.
What Is Discipleship? Understanding How People Grow Up into Christ with Nathan Wagnon
Too often churches focus many of their equipping efforts on pushing people through programs and measure success by the number of participants, but are left scratching their heads when so many people fail to grow in any substantive way. This session will equip you with a solid biblical theology of discipleship and help you understand the journey all of us are on as the Spirit strips away competing allegiances and forms us into Christ.
From First-Timer to Fully Deployed: Developing and Deploying Your Leaders with Kyle Kaigler and Derek Mathews
You begin with a vision of godly, passionate leaders serving in your ministry. After months of recruiting, you settle for anyone with a pulse. Your leadership pool has been the same for years as 20% of the people do 80% of the work. So how do you identify, develop, and deploy your body into disciple-makers? Come and see how to move a first-timer into a fully deployed leader in your ministry.
Volunteers: Proper Care and Feeding (and Finding!) with Benson Hines
Watermark’s ministries flourish largely because of amazing volunteers – and that can be true in your church too! Chances are you’re already recruiting people to do something, from signing up for donut duty to leading large-scale ministries. So, what are the foundations for successful volunteer recruiting? Once we get volunteers to sign up, is our job with them done? Join us for a fun discussion of mobilizing, using, and caring for volunteers.
The Most Welcoming People on Earth – Keys to an Excellent Guest Experience with Ryan Garrahan and Brian Wang
What do the Ritz-Carlton, Disney World, and Chick-Fil-A all have in common? The answer is excellent guest services. But what if we told you the Church should trump them all? In this session, we will discuss why the Body of Christ should be the most welcoming place on earth, and how your local church can be the most welcoming place in your city. Your team will be reminded that what makes the Church is its people, and only when those people welcome others as Christ has welcomed them will the Church be all it’s called to be.
Building Your Church Through Church Discipline with Rob Barry
The quickest way for your church to become infected with mediocrity, ineffectiveness, and lifelessness is to not practice one of God’s primary means of grace to believers. Jesus instructed His followers to confront sin within the church with a simple step-by-step process that has largely been ignored by the American church. We will revisit the biblical issues of care and correction, and how to functionally practice church discipline within your local body.
How to Cultivate and Encourage Your Technical and Creative Staff with Scott Miller, Ryan Howell and Mike Frizzell
The staff that serves behind the scenes can be one of your church’s greatest assets. These individuals bring problem-solving and creative gifts that can enhance what you do on Sunday and throughout the week. In this breakout, we will discuss how to encourage these individuals, tap into their unique gifting, and give them a place to thrive as they leverage their gifts for the Kingdom.
Church-Based Community Partnerships with Ryan Wall
Learn how we look for unique ways to mobilize our people to impact the community by forming unique community partnerships. We will cover our vision to reach the community as well as practical frameworks for thinking about partnerships to extend the mission of the local church. We will also present a case study on how we recently engaged with the City of Dallas and partnered with a for-profit physician group to open a nonprofit urgent care clinic. This has saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs for the city and physician group and allowed us to engage in tens of thousands of gospel-centered conversations.
How & Why We NEVER Do Childcare with Robin Dembicki and Martha Kate McJunkin
A midweek children’s ministry that coincides with adult midweek ministries is a high-impact opportunity to disciple kids from the church family and community in a fun and intentional setting. That’s why we decided to END CHILDCARE at Watermark! Our Midweek Kids Ministry team will talk about how to create a discipleship setting, Monday through Friday, that builds kids with strong faith, and encourages parents, marriages, and families, capturing every moment a child is on our campus for the sake of making disciples.
Connecting Church and Home: Keys to Effective Family Ministry with Wes Butler and Suzanne Sanderson
As church leaders, our call is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” No ministry is as important as the ministry happening in the homes of your church members because no ministry will have a more significant impact on the future of your church than that one. In this breakout, we’ll consider how the church can partner with parents to train up the next generation of church leaders and see how we can effectively equip and encourage parents for the mission they have been employed and empowered to do.
Communication, Social Media, and the Church with Caitlin Van Wagoner
All churches, regardless of the size, need to be able to communicate well. With the explosion of potential digital touchpoints, gone are the days when a bulletin and announcement were enough to let your congregation know what’s going on at your church. During this breakout, you’ll hear from Watermark’s communications team as they discuss best practices you can employ when using social media, print media, on stage announcements, and email as you communicate with your church body.
Cyber Security: Five Things to Know with Mike Frizzell
Who has a home security sign in front of their house and doesn’t pay the monthly fee for it? Studies show this simple life-hack significantly reduces your chance of being robbed by a stranger. Most of us, including me, don’t think about it until a brick goes through the backdoor window. We will discuss several simple, (nearly) non-invasive cyber security practices that will dramatically decrease your chance of getting hacked. These tips won’t keep the NSA out, but they would have prevented the DNC email scandal.
Responding to the Fatherless with Bruce Kendrick
If pure religion involves caring for orphans in their distress (James 1:27), how do we effectively and responsibly sustain ministry to those children and their families in our communities and abroad? Come learn how the Bible directs us and what practical efforts churches can lead to change the trends of child neglect, abuse, and abandonment.
Leading the Church in a Marriage and Sex-Confused Culture with Scott Kedersha
We live in a culture where God's design for marriage and sex is under attack. Porn is a click away. Unmarried couples cohabitate. Same-sex couples marry. This isn’t your grandma’s culture, and the church can’t lead as though it is. Fortunately, God’s Word speaks life and truth into our sin-filled culture. Come learn how the Church can speak into, engage with, and lead out in our marriage and sex-crazed culture.
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Local Church with the Watermark Elders
The topic of marriage, divorce, and remarriage (MDR) is a major challenge and opportunity in the local church, and most churches don't know how to biblically walk alongside couples as they process MDR. The Watermark Elders will share why a church needs an MDR policy, how your policy affects other aspects of your church (reconciliation, weddings, etc.), how Watermark arrived at our policy, what Watermark believes about MDR, and how the Church can and should partner with leaders to help shepherd their body in this area.
A Biblical Approach to Church Security with Jeff Grandy and Liz Johnson
With the growing number of active shooter incidents and other violent attacks in our country and around the world, many in the church have been left scratching their heads wondering what they can do about it. How do we respond as believers, church members, and leaders to the moral evil at our doors in a way that honors Christ and protects our flocks? What infrastructure should we have in place and how do we train our teams accordingly? In this session, we will discuss how to approach church security from a pastoral perspective, best practices to develop Emergency Action Plans, training your teams, and more.
Ten Ideas To Help You Lead Your Church Staff with Jonathan Pokluda and Adam Tarnow
Maybe you’ve heard, “leadership is everything”. That puts a huge responsibility on those of us who are challenged with leading leaders. A church staff is a team and a family of leaders. Are you curious how to make a team more like a family and a family more like a team? Come hear 10 ways to lead your staff in culture, chemistry, competency, character, and team work.
Take Your Teaching From Good to Great with Jonathan Pokluda and David Marvin
People come to church for many reasons, but their experience is often defined predominantly by the message. It has been said, "it is a sin to bore someone with the Scriptures." The teaching of God's Word is often what awakens someone to the life-changing message of the gospel. Therefore, we must grow in our ability to teach persuasively, effectively, and creatively. Come and learn best practices in preaching, teaching God's Word, and preparing sermons.
Watermark's Elder Model with the Watermark Elders
Join the Watermark Elders for breakfast as they discuss the Elder model they have used for the last 15 years, including: the requirements for Elders, the candidate selection process, the role and expectations of an Elder, and the necessity for deep community within the Elders.
Church Facilities: Approaches to Design, Construction, and Funding with Tip Housewright and Greg Crooks
Many growing churches face big facilities questions: buy vs. build, facility amenities, timing, funding, expansion, and new campuses. How should church leaders be approaching these questions? How can you have facilities that meet the needs of your congregation yet show good stewardship? Come hear Watermark's facilities strategy, how volunteer teams are organized, the approach to building design and phased construction, and when debt is used.
Growing your Kingdom Impact: Satellite Campus Learnings with Kyle Kaigler and Tyler Briggs
Join our Campus Pastors for breakfast as they discuss our process of praying, planning, launching, and growing of our satellite campuses. They will share Watermark’s philosophy and model for satellites, as well as the potential land mines to avoid. Come learn how to think through recruiting, training, and deploying key teams and leaders as you build the biblical DNA of your campus. We’ll also discuss the implementation and timing of specific ministries to disciple those in your church and reach those outside the church walls.