Todd Wagner David Leventhal Watermark
Todd Wagner (center) announces his resignation to Watermark Church while former teaching pastor and elder, David Leventhal (left), and Elder Kyle Thompson (right) listen. (Source: video screengrab)

Pastor Todd Wagner Resigns from Watermark Amid Turmoil

By Julie Roys

Todd Wagner, the embattled pastor of Watermark Church, a Dallas multisite megachurch with a pre-pandemic congregation of 20,000 people, has resigned his position as senior pastor and elder.

Also resigned is David Leventhal, an elder and teaching pastor at Watermark, who said he had lost trust in Wagner’s leadership. 

The elders at Watermark, along with Wagner and Leventhal, announced the resignations at services yesterday. The announcement was captured on video and posted online with a statement from the elders.

In the video, an emotional Leventhal said that he had resigned on March 26 because of “a loss of trust in Todd’s ability to lead in the role of pastoral elder/senior pastor, which was the direction the elders were wanting to move to.”

Several weeks after Leventhal’s resignation, Wagner separately decided to step down as senior pastor and elder, the church’s statement said.

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In the video, Wagner said that the “clarity” to step down was “not hasty,” adding that the discernment process had started a year ago.

“God has allowed the clarity and conviction that we need, that I need, to serve well in this role to dry up,” Wagner said.

Watermark Church
Elder Mickey Friedrich (far right) explains the leadership transition at Watermark to the church congregation while Elder Kyle Thompson (2nd from right) and resigning pastors, Todd Wagner and David Leventhal, listen.

The twin resignations come after months of turmoil at the church.

In September 2020, Wagner announced he was taking a leave of absence to work on pride issues. He said at the time that he was not guilty of “disqualifying sin” like sexual immorality, financial misconduct, or “foul language”—something Wagner reiterated when he announced his resignation.

In January, Wagner returned from leave to preach his first sermon and received a standing ovation from the congregation.

In the online video, Leventhal described the process of discernment with Wagner as “heart-breaking, exhausting, and expensive” for Leventhal, his wife, the elder team, and the campus pastor team.

He added that he and Wagner are “good” and there is no “anger,” “malice,” or “slander” between them. For much of Wagner’s speech in the video, Leventhal did not look at Wagner, but stared straight ahead.

Since November, it appears two other Watermark elders have left the original board of six men—Brian Buchek and Beaut Fournet. Fournet is now listed as an elder emeritus, but Bucheck no longer appears on Watermark’s leadership page. The only remaining elders at Watermark are Mickey Friedrich and Kyle Thompson, though a third man, Blake Holmes, has been named a candidate for eldership.

Over the years, Wagner has been dogged by allegations of spiritual abuse published on a blog called No Eden Elsewhere.

In response to a tweet by a critic questioning Wagner’s seeming humility when he announced he was taking a leave of absence in September, Wagner tweeted: “Mission accomplished.” Wagner later deleted that tweet.

Wagner was tearful during his speech in the video Sunday. He confirmed Leventhal’s statement that the two are at peace and are “in community together.”

Wagner said he is excited about what God is going to do at the church in its next season and urged the congregation to obey their leaders.

He then applied the words Paul used to describe his apostolic ministry in Acts 20:26-32 to his own tenure at Watermark:

“With a clear conscience, I’m going to say this to you,” Wagner said. “‘Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.’”

Wagner also warned the congregation with words from the passage, stating that “after my departure savage wolves” will come among you, “and from your own selves men will (rise up), speaking perverse things.” Then, modifying Paul’s description of his three years spent in Ephesus to Wagner’s 22 years at Watermark, Wagner added, “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of 22 years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

The congregation at Watermark responded to Wagner with a standing ovation. And Elder Kyle Thompson tearfully described how God had used Wagner “to disciple and grow and to model for me what faithfulness looks like more than anybody else, period.”

Elder Mickey Friedrich then urged the church not to “try and judge whose version of events is right or wrong. That’s for God to reveal or conceal.” He added that “there are just too many layers” and that even Friedrich and Thompson “land at a different place than (Leventhal and Wagner) regarding why we’ve arrived here.”

Both Wagner and Leventhal will remain at Watermark as elders emeritus, though the church said it is “proactively pursuing men to add to the Elder team.”

According to the church website, Wagner and Leventhal “will spend time with their families preparing for whatever the Lord has next.”

Watermark’s Leadership Update Video:

Jackson Elliott contributed to this report. This piece has been updated.

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71 thoughts on “Pastor Todd Wagner Resigns from Watermark Amid Turmoil”

  1. Wow. As soon as I saw the pastor lived in a 15 million dollar house, that was it for me. That is one huge cult.

    1. Keegan Mueller

      Wow Andy, you got to do more than just Google the name brother. There are more than one people with the name Todd Wagner. There is a filthy rich entrepreneur whose name is Todd Wagner. Different guys

    2. I think you may have missed a decimal point — according to the link in the post his house (verified to be the correct Todd Wagner) was a little over $1.5 million as of 2019. Which still seems excessive for a follower of Jesus. 4774 square feet — also poor stewardship unless he’s raising 8 kids or something.

      1. Watermark Member

        As stated above, don’t confuse Todd Wagner the billionaire with Todd Wagner the pastor though Todd Wagner the pastor does live in a home valued between 1 and 2 million dollars. I was informed that this was a gift from a wealthy individual who has known Todd a long time and does not attend Watermark. Todd had 6 children living at home at the time he was gifted the home.

        1. “Todd had 6 children living at home at the time he was gifted the home.”

          so what. it simply looks very bad. a lavish lifestyle is contrary to everything Jesus stood for — if Jesus still matters, and if anyone actually remembers.

          but unfortunately christian powerbrokers have made ‘christianity’ about things other than Jesus Christ. Jesus is is merely a mascot and a marketing word.

          1. Perfectly said Scottie. I am so tired of the evangelical industrial complex justifying there greed and sexual abuse and bullying. No wonder the under 30 group are saying goodbye to church. And so have I. Small group of meeting once a week. Don’t need the large meetings with rock music and parking headaches and entertainers with impulse control issues claiming it’s the Holy Spirit in them. No it’s not. It’s all a show for people to be conned into thinking your being godly. It’s where two or more are gathered not where two or more thousands are gathered.

          2. I wonder what is considered a lavish lifestyle. Most people in the U.S. have a lavish lifestyle compared to most believers around the world. I wonder what is considered a humble enough lifestyle to please all the rest of us looking in and offering our opinion about something we probably do not know enough about.

      2. The house was gifted to him by an extremely successful member of the church. Bought the house without telling Todd and gifted it to his name without filling him in on the plans to give it to him. Not Todd’s decision but good try on the “poor stewardship” bit.

        1. “Not Todd’s decision but good try on the “poor stewardship” bit.”
          +++++++++++++++++

          seems pretty far-fetched to me, but sure makes for a great explanation and a great story (if you’re not Todd or the supposed wealthy person, this is what you were told).

          even if 100% true (zero exaggeration or embroidery), it almost makes it sound like Todd was an unwitting victim of disproportionate generosity and was utterly helpless. Poor Todd.

          no one was threatening him – he deliberately chose to live as the 1%, say yes & accept it, move in and make it his home.

          1. I don’t know what the tax rate is near Watermark but I doubt I could afford just the taxes & insurance on that house

          2. Agreed. He could have thanked his friend for his generosity, and politely declined the gift, suggesting he would love for the proceeds from the resale of the house be donated to a local homeless charity instead. Not that difficult, really.

      3. You are correct. I was wrong and truly apologize. Let me rephrase:
        4774 sq ft house. Worth 1-2 million. Demands full disclosure of finances in church groups, but having a hard time finding his. Reminds me exactly like Steven Furtick and many other “pastors”.

        Follow the money….

        1. I’m with Scotty and Andy Wilson. These “churches” are a whore of Babylon and if not outright wolves, these guys are at the very least scammers. Show me one bit of Biblical historicity in favor of the modern seeker-oriented megachurch. You can’t find any. This crook has got to go.

  2. Does anyone know if the Re:Engage marriage program that Watermark started is worthwhile? It’s gotten popular which makes me suspect. Another $ maker?

    1. I am a former Watermark member. Watermark is very good at many things but also very bad at a few. I went through the Re:Engage program twice early in it’s development. In principle it was excellent. It was one of the many things I thought they did well. Watermark’s “issues” IMO are people issues more that content or material issues. Approach with caution but it is OK to approach.

    2. Our church does Re-engage and we love it. Not sure how much of a money maker it is since all we spend money on is the workbooks. You can tailor it to your group’s needs
      .

    3. I have shepherded groups at Re|Engage…I do not trust the leadership at WM Re|Engage. They gossip. Re|Engage at other churches may be worthwhile…

      1. I don’t doubt some unconcionable things happened.

        however, since evangelical leaders have redefined ‘gossip’ to mean “don’t rock the boat” to protect their power, careers, and revenue, can you explain what you mean by gossip?

  3. They’re all using so much jargon that it’s hard to figure out what any of it actually means.

    Best wishes to the church members, though.

    1. These overly dramatic talks tend to make me feel like I’m not spiritual enough or they’re covering up something. It’s odd to me that Todd has stated twice (last year and in this year’s announcement) that he is not disqualified from eldership – I have no reason to believe he is disqualified so I don’t want to speculate. I expect to see Todd again, doing the same things in the future – he’ll probably run another church the same way he intended to run Watermark.

      1. Curious Counselor

        In some ways this reminds me of the CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace debacle. Remember how CJ wrote a book on humility and then some of the staff said he was anything but and instead was quite controlling.

        Many churches left that denomination ….

    1. Amazing indeed! What does all white and all males have to do absolutely anything with regard to this situation? Sounds like something Whoopie Goldburg would say. I suppose you think you can do better than they?

      1. All white and all men has nothing to do with anything. It was meant to jerk everyone’s chain. Women have gotten to the point where they thing their poop doesn’t stink lately.

  4. i watched the video – don’t know how i got as far as i did… i had to turn it off. i felt like i was watching and listening to animated cardboard characters. the artificial contrived ‘way of being’ is over the top. so much pretense. Todd especially. like he’s a programmed automaton. utterly un-credible. i don’t believe a word he says.

    and so much mimicked behavior amongst the group.

  5. “Several weeks after Leventhal’s resignation, Wagner separately decided to step down as senior pastor and elder, the church’s statement said.”

    So Leventhal resigned several weeks before Wagner, but they’re announcing this together, on the same day? Maybe I’m straining at a gnat.

    1. And then they agree to work on the same board? If I thought I couldn’t work with someone I wouldn’t be turning around and working with them.

  6. Why is it that I’m led to believe (Based on reports and personal experience) that one has to possess certain sociopathic traits in order to be a successful megachurch pastor?

    1. Just study what a grandiose narcissist is and you will see why. True humility is replaced with a very shallow and false one and so they humble brag about how big a crowd they can draw. It is all about leveraging God not for the good of the people but for bragging rights about how successful they are. Of course, God has a very different definition of success than we do. The first being last and the last being first is not how most “Christians” think. By our measure our savior Jesus was a total and complete failure. In His end the crowd that He drew wanted to see Him tortured to death in the most cruel way possible. They were not giving Him a standing ovation.

      1. Curious Counselor

        I’m confused about your statement that the crowd Jesus drew wanted to see him tortured to death in the most cruel way possible.

        Please would you please explain a bit more about this take on Christ’s death

  7. There’s a lot of talk and a lot of Christianese language, but it’s still impossible to say exactly what happened or exactly what is and was going on. It’s clear as mud. The only thing I can discern between the lines is that something went very wrong. What a strange and often sad world much of American white evangelicalism has become.

    1. Curious Counselor

      If I had to guess the Sr Pastor Todd agreed to leave if the concerned pastor Steve agreed to resign. Their countenances in the video departure statements appear to be quite different.

      It’s all based on financial packages and NDAs now.

  8. I keep coming back to this because something just doesn’t seem right. AGAIN, I have absolutely NO proof and it’s pure speculation. The over-humility seems … fake, like false humility. Leventhal doesn’t seem very interested in this whole thing — Wagner appears attentive during Leventhal’s speech but Leventhal seems stand-offish toward Wagner. Could just be their abilities to appear a certain way up in front of a crowd. But it still feels like something is off. Why wouldn’t they just tell the church what happened? Why all the allusion? Or evasion?

    Todd was put on sabbatical to reflect about his proud attitude. OK. He comes back, preaches, and the elder board is moving forward with reinstating him and Leventhal has qualms about it. But why?

    1. yes, things do not add up. they portrayed it as Todd having the support of the elders and full steam ahead. that the elder board was ready to go in Todd’s leadership direction.

      Todd portrays it all as a divine ‘God told me’ sort of thing. Sort of as God told him and his wife that it was time to move on to the next thing God has planned.

      Yet, Mickey Friedrich says: [don’t] “try and judge whose version of events is right or wrong”, and that even Friedrich and Thompson “land at a different place than (Leventhal and Wagner) regarding why we’ve arrived here.”

      Mickey makes it sound like the decision for Todd to resign was something “we’ve arrived at” due to “events”.
      .
      .
      well, the current ‘working job description’ for leaders of a big church is being ready, willing, and able to obfuscate, embroider the truth, and in some cases lie.

    2. Religious double talk. They refuse to be honest so they can make a come back in a year or two. That’s what they all seem to do.

  9. Elder Mickey Friedrich then urged the church not to “try and judge whose version of events is right or wrong. That’s for God to reveal or conceal.”

    What a bizarre statement. If I was a member of this church my motivation for remaining or leaving would be almost entirely based upon trying to figure out what happened in an effort to understand if the leadership is healthy or unhealthy.

  10. “trying to figure out what happened in an effort to understand if the leadership is healthy or unhealthy.”
    +++++++++++++++

    christian leaders who are not straightforward and forthright cannot be healthy.

  11. “God has allowed the clarity and conviction that I need to not leave a snarky comment, to dry up.”

    I think I’m getting the hang of this Christianese thing.

  12. Idaho Spudster

    “Both Wagner and Leventhal will remain at Watermark as elders emeritus.” I’ve never heard of nor attended a church with such a position. Perhaps it’s appropriate for an elder who retired after many years of exemplary service and is available on occasion to give counsel. In this murky situation, however, the two men don’t need honorary titles. Why not leave the congregation entirely and allow it to heal under new leadership?

  13. I’m sorry to hear of judgement that has been passed around. I was a member for nearly 14 years, sure bunch of us saw some challenges (as some churches may face) not doubt.
    Why do you throw a stone (more likely without looking at yourselves first). Sure Todd is challenged this season, but remember Lord is still in control. Regardless Lord’s will be done Prov 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Even through this challenges we can be so judgements these day.
    It is Lord that gives and takes it away. It’s upto Him. Problem with a church goers these days is (they are simply judgmental- half the time without any knowledge or discernment. Remember the verse when most friends depart, there is one who stays closer then the brother. I bet some of you, don’t attend or are part of the church, Jealousy amongst many of you I can smell from here. This is maybe a time for correction for Todd as it seems (2 Tim 3:16-17) haven’t you ever done anything wrong? Or you perfect? There is clearly some issues, but isn’t Lord bug enough to handle it, even at the worst of Todd missed the boat? I believe this man would help many, I can say that without shadow of doubt.
    How many have you all lead to Christ? If the answer or NONE then you need to look at your own lives and see if correction is needed. If you (as some I bet aren’t producing fruits but first one to take a shot at his house, cars and family. Shame on you folks. Problem with the churches these days is many in congregation will do same thing as Judas did, deny !! It is the Lord Jesus who is in control after all folks. Does God want everyone to be broke? Humility and pride has been an issue as many of us see, but since you are the first one to throw the stone, if you used this time to share the Gospel with others (I bet some would get saved) as Lord wants us to rely on Him and have the Holy Spirit to guide us. He is waiting on us and saying “Go” but lost ones are here judging because of some issue no matter how big it is (Lord has it)
    Scripture also says live your neighbor as yourself….folks many of you here have already missed that mark. I know I often do. I’m also a bit a sad with respond of David (elder) who is in the leadership role to show the love with staring at the congregation (may be because of challenges). That’s the problem often times one comes on a hot seat and forgets one day would come that same thing that man have to face. It is kindness that brings people to repentance. David (elder) Himself had lot to grow in area of discernment, the way he is reacting isn’t ok either. That’s why people leave churches snd are constantly hurt.
    First and foremost- this is a season that God is shaking things up. Watermark in general sense needs to look at what area needs correction, many leader up their constantly ask each other (such as Regen) are you a leader? This drum beat often is driven by pride, immature leaders that’s been placed to seven themselves. I’m heart broke and still excited to see what Lord and how He is going to carry out this. If you call Christ a savior then learn to make Him
    Your savior folks, going to church doesn’t do anything, sometimes you find someone you’ve known for years will disappoint you, devil can sit right next or you until you have spiritual discernment snd understating. Pray snd ask the Lord for that, sure many here are upset, but not many know what has taken place fully, you judgmental hypocrites. I’m saying that outta love and also saying it truly saddens me to see many of you have hardened your hearts. You are probably the person ego roles in Lexus’s each day when you pull in the church but if Lord has gifted something you are too quick to put that person under the bus.
    I’m not taking about prosperity-
    One question is
    (How many of you have actually prayed for Todd)? His Grace is given to everyone, let’s say even if He wasn’t saved (let’s say if he was one) have you prayed for him? If not? Then check your heart.
    I’m sorry Todd but I’m praying for you and your family through this rough times. Regardless we know Romans 8:28 maybe it’s a season of 2 Tim 3:16-17. Regardless I loved your passion and pray that Holy Spirit would cover you and lead you in the area that needs correction.
    Love you Todd
    Andrew Bhatia
    Thank you for praying for me when I was a cigarette smoker snd 23 yrs of smoking addiction was lifted within a year or so afte that. I’ve been freed for nearly 10 yrs now with cigarettes, alcohol snd sex until wife had been given,
    Thank you for the leadership which I thank God and I’m so sorry to see many have turned against you.
    I’m Jesus name.

    1. Appreciate your response! I was so disappointed reading all the comments, especially when considering the targeted audience for this site.

      Humility, self-awareness of our own sins, repentance, forgiveness and grace for others, these should not be forgotten. Pastors often receive the most judgement and it’s rarely considered that they likely face the most spiritual warfare. Why wouldn’t the devil try to tempt and discredit a Christian leader who’s been respected by so many and positively influenced so many? Sounds like the perfect target for attack…

  14. I was looking at Watermark’s governance section on its website and two things stuck out to me: 1) they have 2 doctrinal statements, one for members and one for elders and 2) they are Elder-Rule, Elder-Led. Both of these practices are, in my opinion, unhealthy. 2 doctrinal statements create confusion over authentic belonging. Elder-Rule governance removes any hope of independent accountability – the elders are originally self-appointed and thereafter elder-appointed. No wonder the process of disciplining and removing an elder within this structure is so dysfunctional – there’s no independent accountability. There’s no independent authority (like a congregational vote or a higher denominational officer) that can remove an elder in this government structure. The elder team is interdependent of each other, creating a system in which it is impossible or highly difficult to discipline or remove any one elder. You live by Elder-Rule, you die by Elder-Rule. Or, in this case, you live on as Elder Emeritus! 🤦‍♂️

    1. I am not sure what is wrong with elder rule since it is biblical. As for two doctrinal statements, our church has something similar, one for members and one for leaders. In our case, it is because those in leadership are held to a higher standard; more is expected of them in terms of their beliefs and practice.

      1. Darren, here’s what I see are the problems with Elder-Rule church government. I think one can probably make a case for it using Scripture, but I think Elder-Rule ignores the Scriptural precedence of independent accountability:

        https://link.medium.com/fNrBTVcVNfb

        In terms of two doctrinal statements, what this does is set up an “inner ring” of people who more closely align with the beliefs of the church (and by church, I mean elders). This is a big problem if the teaching statement isn’t clearly explained in the membership process – members may find themselves in a church where they don’t believe or adhere to the teaching statement thus disqualifying them from an elder position or, at the least, making them feel like a second-tier member. It’s a really bad idea in my opinion because it’s not being totally forthright with members about what the church actually teaches. Better to have one doctrinal statement that unites both members and elders in my opinion.

        1. Paul, thanks for the response. I know that there are many different types of church governance. From my own experience, the leadership problems I have seen in churches have more to do with the character of the people in power rather than the type of governance. Our church has an elder-type rule that is healthy, but I know of churches that have had an elder-type rule that is not so healthy. I also know of churches that do not use this model that are both healthy and unhealthy. Maybe because I have not had a negative experience with elder rule I do not see it as a problem.

          As for the doctrinal statement issue, I see what you are saying. In our church, this is clearly laid out during the membership process. To become a member, there are certain things with which a person has to be in agreement, of course; but if a person becomes an elder, then what is expected is more clearly defined. The reason for this is because, as an elder, he will be responsible for teaching others. This gives freedom to members who may still be working through some of their beliefs while also holding the elders to a higher standard. You are right, being up front about it is important.

          I did not have a chance to read the article you wrote, but I will get to it as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing.

          1. Darren, I think I get where you’re coming from with the idea of a teaching statement. In my opinion, it’s best to have the teaching statement serve as the unifying statement that covers both members and elders, so that those who attend and who are working through their beliefs don’t prematurely sign a membership covenant that in reality places them under the pastoral authority of elders who adhere to the teaching statement. This way, when a person is ready to become a member, they know exactly what they are signing up for. Churches that utilize a confession like the Westminster, 1689, or the 39 articles seem comfortable requiring specificity in their doctrine for both members and pastors – I think this is more transparent, and thus healthier, than having two statements. In the end, I do think it is a matter of opinion, but I think churches should lean toward transparency.

          2. Darren, I was thinking about this a little more – think about the language you use explaining how elders are held to a “higher” standard doctrinally speaking. Is this standard really “higher” or is it just more “specific”? I went to a church with a broadly evangelical membership statement coupled with a specifically Calvinistic, and specifically young earth creationist, teaching statement. The teaching statement wasn’t explained to me in the membership process. Are Calvinism and YEC accurately described as “higher”? I don’t think so. Definitely they are important to Christian theology, but they fall within a spectrum of orthodox third-rank doctrines.

  15. Darren,

    you said,

    “I wonder what is considered a lavish lifestyle. Most people in the U.S. have a lavish lifestyle compared to most believers around the world. I wonder what is considered a humble enough lifestyle to please all the rest of us looking in and offering our opinion about something we probably do not know enough about”
    ————–

    yes, that is a valid question. what is lavish? what is enough?

    to the woman in mumbai who lives with her family in a sheet metal lean-to in a “slum” and keeps it spic and span, tidy, and as ‘homey’ as possible (a hero in my mind), lavish would be a walls and a roof of some kind. indoor plumbing plumbing would be a luxury.

    to the homeless person in Dallas, it might be a hot meal and a warm bed, a job, eventually a home of some kind (a room to call their own, a studio, an apartment,…)

    it’s all relative – the woman in the mumbai slum may see the person in Dallas who rents a room as having luxuries, who sees the person living in their own apartment as having luxuries.

    the family in a 1970s 2,100 sf home of their own in the suburbs may feel they have the short end of the stick, and see the family in the newer 3,400 sf home as having amazing luxuries.

    what’s enough? it’s all relative.

    even so, i think it’s patently obvious that living as the 1% by 1st world standards, even in part, is lavish by any and all standards.

    i expect someone who represents Jesus Christ in a leadership capacity to live in accordance to Jesus’ message on money and wealth. if servant leadership plus Jesus Christ means anything, it logically using financial means to serve others. in one’s own city or metropolis, for starters. the equity in a $million+ home can be invested to provide hot meals, warm beds, jobs, training, and more for years.

    1. Hello, Scottie. Thanks for the reply. I agree, it is all relative, which was kind of my point. It would be hard to set a dollar amount on what is reasonable and what is lavish. There are also a lot of factors that go into measuring one’s wealth, not just the dollar value of one’s house; and there are a lot of things that go into measuring one’s character, other than how much money one has or the kind of house one lives in. It is an interesting discussion.

      1. agreed. seems to me median, or less, is reasonable (relative to the community where the church exists). that is, if we keep Jesus Christ as part of the equation, with an understanding that more is incumbent on leaders than on others.

        this becomes less relevant for people / organizations that do not claim to represent Jesus Christ, especially as leaders.

        (although my personal view is a modest lifestyle is best for all, and all things considered,)

        1. You guys can rip apart our church and Todd all you want, but I know him, and you won’t find a man with more of a heart of gold than him. He’s definitely not perfect, but he is a good and Godly man who preached the gospel boldly and consistently.

  16. Friends, there’s a lot of speculation here. Speculation, in this context, equates to gossip, and at it’s heart, is pride. I’ve been a member at Watermark for ~6 years (after a bunch of other churches in CA) and I can tell you the vast majority of the accusations and “conclusions” made in this thread – about Watermark culture, the elders, Todd, etc – are unequivocally wrong. This is absolutely nothing like a Joel Osteen situation.

    I’ll happily answer any questions, but for any Believers here I would strongly encourage you to first take this to the Lord in prayer, then His word, and then ask yourself if it’s healthy or wise or appropriate to make such claims about a person / place you know almost nothing about.

    1. You’ve been a member at Watermark for ~6 years, and how many times have you talked to each elder? How many times have you actually talked to Todd? That church is huge and has 2 campuses (at least) so I find it hard to believe you even know these elders yourself.

  17. Wow! Usually blood in the water attracts sharks, but nothing that fierce here, just a bunch of blood sucking remoras. Todd Wagner is a guy that would jump in a foxhole with me with the bullets are flying, and I for him. I know him on a first name basis, as I do some of those elders on the stage. Todd gave me support and comfort during a rough time in my life, and I will be FOREVER grateful. Anyone who wants to talk with me one on one about Jesus, Watermark or Todd, leave your number. I’ll meet you

  18. Ray

    Are you familiar with the website, “No Eden Elseware?”
    It is mentioned in this article.

    http://noedenelsewhere.com

    You might want to check out this site
    Seems there are some Watermark menbers
    Who ain’t very happy.

    The author writes in an article titled…
    Mind Games – The Bizarre & Controling Culture of
    Watermark Comunity Church.”

    “I would say on average I receive a few emails a month from people who have been hurt by Watermark Community Church. I have no doubt there are many many more victims.
    ——-

    Some titles of articles written about Watermark Church.

    Before you Sign.
    What you need to know about “Church Membership Covenants.”

    The Aftermath: Stories from Former Watermark Church Members

    The Aftermath Part II: Stories from Former Watermark Church Members

    Family Ties: How Watermark Community Church is Alienating Families

    1. Yeah, I glanced at it. Came off as legalistic trolling. Kind of “smarmy” too. I’ve said my bit, not interested in burning much more time, unless you or anyone wants to leave a number to meet to discuss Jesus, WM or Todd. You may have the last word if you wish.

  19. Wagner is a bully. He hides behind the church to bully people whether in the church or outside. He publicly criticized other local church leaders and called them out in the media and then doesn’t really share his issues. Does anyone find this highly hypocritical?

    Wagner is all about control and he lost it. When he stepped into an executive pastor role a few years back he didn’t like that his replacement (JP) was more poly than he was so he didn’t allow him to pastor/lead. JP ended up leaving because of it. I don’t have an extensive history with Wagner but several of my closest friends say that they saw this same controlling, egotistic behavior back in the 1990s when he came to Dallas to lead a high school group called K Life.

    Wagner has always surrounded himself with “yes men”. If you challenged him or the church you were quickly dismissed. It looks as if an elder finally stood up and refused to be silenced. I’m still waiting for more transparency but doubt we will get if from Wagner as that “pride” runs deep.

    1. I first visited Watermark in 2005 when they were still meeting at a high school in Dallas. After hearing Todd’s sermon, I left the building thinking “pride comes before the fall will be evidenced in that man someday.” So recent events are unsurprising to me. I’m only surprised it took 15 years.

  20. A. Amos Love

    Ray

    Thanks for giving up the last word.
    Very humble of you.

    And thanks for the word “smarmy.”
    That’s a new one on me.

    Smarmy — Dictionary
    ingratiating and wheedling in a way
    that is perceived as insincere or excessive:
    a smarmy, unctuous reply.

    Smarmy — Thesaurus
    insincere; smooth-tongued, slick; greasy, oily, saccharine;
    ——-

    You write about the website, “No Eden Elsewhere.”
    “Came off as legalistic trolling. Kind of “smarmy” too.”

    You use some strong “name calling,” words…
    But, you provide NO evidence, NO situations…
    to verify your “name calling.”

    Which of the “victims” of…
    Watermark Community Church “abuse.”
    Pastor Todd Wagner, “abuse.”
    Are you calling “smarmy,” insincere?
    And why?
    ——-

    Watermark Community Church has believers “SIGN”
    A “church membership contract…” errr…. covenant…

    In the Bible, can you name…
    One of His Disciples who signed a “church membership contract?”

    NOPE…
    ——-

    Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenant
    https://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds**
    have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  21. I’m confident Todd wagner has done more to help people than all commenter’s combined. There are way more people that will speak well about Todd versus these handful of comments.

    Love always wins.

    Happy Sunday keyboard warriors!

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