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Training Leaders

Watermark Institute

Taking Gifted Leaders to the Next Level

The Watermark Institute Fellowship is designed for proven leaders who already have a few years of work experience (typically people who are 25+ years old). If you are faithfully leading others in ministry and feel called to make it your vocation—or if you are already in vocational ministry but want to gain more training and experience—the Fellowship may be right for you.

The Fellowship provides biblical training, discipleship, and hands-on ministry experience. It is a 10-month long deep dive into the Word of God and the world of church leadership. You will learn from and work alongside people who have been leading churches and ministry teams for years.

Some people go directly into ministry work after the 10-month Fellowship, and some go on to get a seminary degree. For graduates who go on to seminary, the Fellowship counts for 12 hours of credit at Dallas Theological Seminary or Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (with the possibility of earning even more credit by “testing out” of seminary classes).

Be a Part of the Institute!

Applications for the 2021-2022 class close on February 1, 2021.

Apply Now!

Hear the Heart Behind the Institute

Director Blake Holmes and Senior Pastor Todd Wagner talk about the intent of the Watermark Institute and what they look for in candidates during this episode of the Church Leadership Podcast

Listen Now
“The Fellowship deepened my love for the Lord and knowledge of His Word (Matthew 22:37). It is full of people who love the Lord and are learning how to better love and lead others in the context of vocational ministry. Ministry is often ‘caught, not taught’, and this was learning by doing.”

Connor Baxter

“The best part of The Fellowship was finding new intimacy with Jesus. Learning His Word and being with His people resulted in a deeper understanding of who God is.”

Dinah Wright

“There is no better way that I could have spent a year. I gained a deeper love for God, a greater knowledge of His Word, and new passion to pass it on.”

Kirby Wagner

I knew I wanted to work within the church but needed a place where I could get practical ministry experience and receive feedback on my performance. In my previous position in ministry, there was very little oversight, so I was not able to gauge if I was an effective minister of the gospel and shepherd of those I was leading. The Fellowship allowed me to jump into the ‘deep end’ of ministry while having access to a mentor to help sharpen my gifts.

Jayson Fisher

Fellowship FAQ

Check out answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

How do I apply?

To begin the process, please complete the Institute application.

When can I apply?

Applications open in November for classes that begin the following August. The application deadline is February 1, 2021.

How many people are accepted into the Watermark Institute?

It varies depending on the year. In a typical year, we receive hundreds of applications and accept about 50 people into the Institute.

How long is the program?

Each Watermark Institute class meets for about 10 months, from August through May

Do I have to move to Dallas?

Yes. The Watermark Institute is an in-person program located in Dallas, TX.

Where will I live?

We will work with you to either provide a place to live or provide a housing allowance. The majority of Residents are provided an apartment by the program. If a resident is married, a stipend is provided to help cover a portion of the rent.

How much does the Watermark Institute cost?

$0. We see the Institute as an investment into the future of churches around the world and a way that we can serve the overall body of Christ.

Do Fellows receive financial compensation?

Fellows are provided with housing (or a housing allowance) and a monthly stipend. They are also able to work part-time, either within or outside of the church. We strongly advise you not to apply if you have a considerable amount of student or consumer debt

What do people do after completing the Fellowship?

One of the goals of the Institute is to help Fellows figure out their best next step. Many go directly into full time ministry, some attend seminary and others may decide to pursue a different vocation.

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