When Oscar joined the team, one of his first projects was to replace the radios that had already begun to break down in the 3 years since buying them. Replacing this equipment would have cost the church $40,000. He also faced various issues regarding interpreting services, such as the costly instillation of special equipment, long delays, and, most importantly for Watermark, out-of-date online support and services. The church wanted to keep offering multilingual services and was eager to avoid becoming a separate Spanish service, or for its attendees to have to sit in a separate group in an separate section of the sanctuary. Oscar began to look at software-based solutions to see how this might be achieved.
When Watermark made the decision to use Interactio, the system still had limited features. The only streaming option was available via a mobile app. Most attendees were first-generation Spanish speakers between the ages of 40 and 55. Most were not bilingual and did not have the necessary phones to use the app or any understanding of how to do so. It was something of a challenge to get these older, less tech-savvy churchgoers to use the system but after a few months everything clicked into place. The Interactio team worked with Watermark to update the church’s internet and wifi stability. Interactio released their new web app and call-in feature. With the new call-in feature, in particular, the types of phones and problems with tech-savvy-ness soon became non-issues. This, in turn, dramatically improved the service Watermark could provide as more people were able to enjoy their sermons and other events simply by dialing a phone number.
Because of the decision to use Interactio, the church saved tens of thousands of dollars in installation and maintenance costs (something hardware solutions would require). Watermark no longer uses radios, and this easy access to interpreting, via call-in and the app, has made more people aware of the service and encourages people to bring their Spanish-speaking friends along. Boosted by this success, Watermark wants to interpret services into even more languages. Not long after introducing Spanish, Watermark began offering services in Farsi. This had a hugely beneficial effect on the church’s international members, who now feel far more included.
Watermark believes that reaching people on Sunday is a great entry point, but they want more ministering during the week, especially for those who are unable to attend on Sunday. Watermark believes that the Church should be much more than a Sunday service; people need discipleship and shepherding throughout the week. Due to the simple but elegant solutions of Interactio, the church has seen a massive improvement in integrating non-English speaking followers and is starting to develop real communities among these international groups.