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Emeritus missionary Wagner to be nominated for SBC v.p.

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–William L. “Bill” Wagner, an emeritus missionary with 31 years of evangelism and church growth ministry in Europe and the Middle East, will be nominated for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention when messengers gather for the annual meeting in Salt Lake City June 9-11.
Planning to nominate Wagner for the SBC post is Darrell Robinson, special assistant to the vice president for evangelization at the North American Mission Board and author of “Total Church Life”, an evangelization strategy for churches.
“The opportunity of serving Southern Baptists in this way would provide another platform for speaking boldly about the importance of missions and evangelism in all that we say and do,” Wagner said. “The stewardship of such a trust would bring honor to the many people who are working overseas and in North America with a missions heart.
A native New Mexican with family ties in the western United States, Wagner, who now serves as the E. Hermond Westmoreland Professor of Evangelism at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif., is an advocate for mobilizing young people in global missions service.
He currently is developing a proposal that would challenge Southern Baptists to send out thousands of college-age adults for a two-year term of service specifically for direct evangelism. Participants in such a “Nehemiah Project” would serve both in the United States and in other countries, with the cost of their service being paid for by family, friends and churches.
Wagner will be one of six Southern Baptist seminary professors leading a team of students in a contemporary mass evangelism course in the Salt Lake City area in the days preceding the convention.
Wagner was nominated as second vice president of the SBC at last year’s annual meeting by former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary missions professor Cal Guy to “speak up for missions and missionaries.” He was defeated for the post in a runoff.
Wagner began serving as a missionary with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in 1965, stationed in Salzburg as a fraternal representative of the IMB to Austrian Baptists. Following his appointment to that country, Wagner was the board’s regional consultant for evangelism and church growth for Europe and the Middle East. Living in Ohain, Belgium, he assisted missionaries and national Baptist leaders with on-the-field mission planning.
During his missionary service he also started and pastored four churches, served as head of the practical theology department at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Heverlee, Belgium, served as interim executive secretary of the European Baptist Convention, and chaired the European Baptist Federation Committee for Mission to Muslims in Europe. An important part of his work was the promotion of MasterLife in his region of responsibility. He led Baptists in Europe and the Middle East train more than 17,000 in discipleship.
Prior to his mission service, Wagner was pastor of Hermosa Baptist Church, Albuquerque, N.M., from 1961-65. The church began in 1961 with 20 members and grew to a membership of 450 by 1965. There were three building projects during this time and more than 175 people were baptized. The church also started one mission and sponsored two others.
Wagner received his doctor of theology from the University of South Africa, the doctor of missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif., the master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, and the bachelor of science in engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Married to the former Sally Ann Crook, the Wagners have two children.