My name is Bill Wagner, and I’m pastor at Trinity. At the risk of boring you, let me give you some vital statistics about my life:
• I’ve been a child of God since He adopted me through Baptism’s washing of rebirth and renewal when I was thirty-days-old.|
• I’ve wanted to be a pastor since I was in second grade.
• I daily thank God for allowing me to marry my High School sweetheart, Gwen, a woman He has gifted with exceptional beauty, vibrant faith, and the uncanny ability to turn a blind eye to my many faults!
• The Lord has graciously blessed us with three outstanding children— Becca, Josh, and Jake— who have gone on to begin families of their own, giving us three precious grand babies: Winter, Maisie, and Graham. To say that Gwen and I have been blessed is a definite understatement!
• Finally, I’ve served the Lord Jesus Christ as a pastor to congregations in Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee.
There’s my thumbnail. But the best way for me to tell you about myself is to share what God has taught me in almost thirty years of ministry. Don’t worry..... You don’t have to buy my book! I can do this using three concise Scriptures:
LIFE LESSON #1: “A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps.” [Proverbs 16:9]
While I knew that I wanted to be a pastor since I was in the second grade, a career change by my father when I was about to enter High School, a football scholarship to MTSU, and my acceptance into dental school all led me to doubt that this was God’s plan for my life. Through these experiences, though, He taught me invaluable lessons that would definitely help me as a pastor. He brought my wife into my life. He sent me to a secular university to give me a new perspective about the world. And He used cadaver lab to show me that dentistry was definitely not the career path for me.
LIFE LESSON #2: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” [Galatians 2:20]
After my short stint in dental school, and still believing that the window of opportunity to become a pastor had closed, I entered a training program to become a printer. Soon after, we were overjoyed to find out that we were expecting our first child. As I gave our beautiful baby girl, Becca, her very first bath, God spoke to my heart and opened my eyes to the wonders of the Gospel as never before. First, His Spirit pointed out the fact that even though my daughter was only minutes old, I already loved her so much that I would do anything to protect her from harm, even willingly sacrificing my own life. Next, He asked me if I could ever allow evil people to mistreat her, beat her, and finally nail her pink little hands and feet to a cross. At that moment, and with stunning clarity, the magnitude of God’s grace hit me like a ton of bricks! The depth of His love for mankind..... For my wife & sweet baby..... Even for me..... Became incredibly real like never before! So convinced that sharing this fantastic news with the world is what I needed to do with the rest of my life, I entered seminary six months later.
LIFE LESSON #3: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” [2 Peter 3:18]
You would think that after being a pastor for almost thirty years, I would have this “faith” thing pretty well mastered, but you’d be wrong. In fact, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Why? Because everything about our God— His love, His wisdom, His power— is so off the chart that it will take a literal eternity to get to know Him! I’m just like every other one of His children— I’m a work in progress, and His labor in me has just begun. But how exciting it is to be His handiwork and following His footsteps!
So, that’s my story in a nutshell. I would love to hear yours! I hope you’ll visit Trinity that the conversation might begin.
LaDonna Lyons is the Directory of TLC Childcare and a vital part to the success and growth of the children. For more information on LaDonna or the Childcare, please click the TLC ChildCare Ministry at the top of this page.