Dr. Wagner has had a rich and varied career as an engineer,businessman, pastor, missionary, educator, author, church planter, and university president. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1936 and attended high school and the university in that city. After a five year practicum period, he became a licensed Civil Engineer and took over his father’s business, the Albuquerque Testing Laboratory. His desire and call to go into the ministry led him and his wife Sally to one year of Study at the Baptist Seminary in Ruschikon, Switzerland. After that he returned to the United States and attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, receiving a Master of Divinity degree. Returning to Albuquerque he went back into engineering and at the same time started his first mission, which became the Hermosa Drive Baptist church.
The church grew in four year to over 400 members before the family went with the Foreign Mission Board to Salzburg, Austria to represent the Baptists. While in Austria he served as the fraternal representative for the Southern Baptists, started three more churches, was selected to be the Home Mission Director for the Austrian Baptist Union and began a very successful youth center work in the city of Salzburg. This youth center won over 300 young people to the Lord over a seven year period.
After eighteen years in Austria he attended Fuller Theological Seminary where he earned a Doctor of Missiology degree. Several years later he received his Doctor of Theology degree from the University of South Africa. The family then moved to Belgium because he was asked to become the Church Growth Consultant for the Baptists of Eastern Europe, Western Europe, The Middle East and North Africa. He did this work for the next twelve years. One of his greatest accomplishments during this time was instituting the MasterLife Disciple course in the area. It was translated into over twenty languages in this area and over 22,000 took the course.
During this last period he became very interested in Christian Education and was given the opportunity of helping the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven Belgium. While there he founded their highly successful PhD. Program. A little later he was asked to help create the Biblical Seminary Bonn.
He retired from the International Board after serving over 30 years and was then invited to take the Herman Westmorland Chair of Evangelism at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in San Francisco, California. He served there for ten years and retired once again.
It was at that time that Dr. David Jang invited him to become the Dean of Theology for Olivet University, a new university that Dr. Jang had recently founded. During his time there he served in many positions including Dean of the School of Theology, International President, President of Olivet University, and Dean of the PhD. Program, which he founded.
At the present time he is a member of the Doctoral Faculty at Olivet and has created the Olivet Institute for Global Theological Studies, an International think tank for strategy development. He is serving as the Pastor of the Snyder Lane Baptist Church close to his home as well as the North Bay Farsi International Church which he founded.
During his ministry he has planted nine churches, helped start three university level schools, authored four books, and taught in over 60 countries of the world. He is fluent in German and has run sixteen marathons as well as being written up in the Runner’s World magazine for having run a minimum of 5 kilometers in over 1200 cities and towns in the world. While in California he was elected by the Southern Baptist Convention to be their Second Vice President of the Convention.
Dr. Wagner is blessed with a great family consisting of his wife Sally, his daughter Candice, a German teacher in Texas and Mark an International Mission Board missionary in Germany. He has four grandchildren. Candice and her husband Scott have Sophia and Matthew while Mark and his wife Carrie have Kate and Natalie.