Remembering Peter Wagner – Part 2 of 2


August 15, 1930 – October 21, 2016

Yesterday I posted here to let you know that on Friday, Oct 21 at 2:30pm C. Peter Wagner went to be with the Lord. He was 86.

In remembrance of him, I’m sharing some thoughts about his impact on my life . . . particularly in the area of church growth.

Yesterday, I shared this link to an interview I did with him on his impact “on” and the current state “of” the church growth movement (one of the last interviews he conducted) – you can download that MP3 plus an overview of his life and impact here – both are FREE:

(Even if you can’t study or listen to these now, I encourage you to grab them for your library. The link will be FREE and active through the end of the week but since these are all paid resources in our store, I will have to eventually turn it off.)

Today, I would like to share a few more personal thoughts and lessons/book recommendations from Dr. Wagner.

I only met Dr. Wagner once . . . it was his eightieth birthday party. As providence would have it, I was finishing a Growth Barriers event in Los Angeles on the very week that two days of celebration were happening for Dr. Wagner’s big 8-0.

I was able to attend a large celebration at a local LA church and then a smaller private event sponsored by his publisher (which was also my publisher for my first three books). At the private event, Dr. Wagner shared that he was moving into the final chapter of his life, what he called his ‘fourth career.’

Dr. Wagner shared:

Career 1: Missionary to Bolivia
Career 2: Church Growth Professor at Fuller Seminary
Career 3: New Apostolic Reformation Leader

Career 4 was as yet undefined as the 80-year-old looked ahead to how God would use him in his final years.

Born August 15, 1930 in New York City and called to ministry sometime in the mid-1950s, Dr. Wagner is a reminder to all of us that God’s call to ministry is consistent while he often deploys us to various assignments.

For me, Wagner’s influence was in his writings and teachings on church growth, so here’s my top 3 recommended books:

1. Understanding Church Growth by Donald A. McGavran and C. Peter Wagner (1990)

2. Your Church Can Grow (Regal Books, 1974; rev. ed. 1984)

3. The Book of Acts: A Commentary (2008)

And to conclude this post, I will leave you with my favorite (and most impactful) quote from Dr. Wagner:

“The single most effective evangelistic method under heaven is planting new churches.” – C. Peter Wagner

Dr. Wagner began almost every class or lecture with a silly joke (he loved to laugh). He may not like that I’ve been so serious in these emails but I look forward to talking that through (and many other things) when we meet again in heaven.



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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyChurch Planting, Evangelism