It was 2 a.m. and Frank Wagner, then in his 20’s, had an epiphany that solidified God’s call to ministry. That epiphany included returning from another very long, yet enjoyable day in the hospitality industry and a half a dozen paychecks strewn across the bottom of his dresser drawer- untouched. His heart and mind collided in thoughts of whether he was making a difference in people’s lives. Years earlier he had a prompting at 16, from the pastor at the Lutheran church he attended to consider becoming a pastor himself. Growing up without a father, he wasn’t sure he could live up to that role that had filled an important void in his own young life.
But soon after that precious 2 a.m. epiphany, Frank moved in faith, left his job and enrolled in seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He hated it. He questioned his choice. His former boss offered him double his salary to return. Yet, something deeper moved him. He stayed the course. And a bright spot emerged when he had to serve 10 hours a week in church as part of training. That, he loved.
His extensive care and love has allowed God to use him to touch thousands of lives at different points of need.
Members of his congregation are sad to see him go, but thankful for his years of service. Longtime member, Rhonda Danielson, said,
In these days it isn’t often that a pastor stays at a church for 25+ years. That alone indicates how much the members love and respect Pastor Frank and wanted him to stay forever! Every sermon he preaches gives you some “tidbit” to chew on and ponder throughout the week.
Perhaps the greatest lesson he ever taught me happened at a worship leaders’ meeting when another person on the committee reamed me out for “starting that awful contemporary music” at our church (even though she knew very well that it was always Pastor Frank’s plan to introduce contemporary Christian music). I was terribly offended and stormed out of the room. Pastor Frank followed me out and we talked. His lasting words to me were, “I’m sorry about what happened to you in there, and I know you were deeply hurt by the words that were just spoken to you, but we have to remember that God loves that lady equally the same as He loves you, and He sees value in her, too.”
And Pastor Frank lived out those words and treated and loved every member of HSLC equally, which you can’t say about too many people. He is one special Godly man!
Now, soon to be 37 years later in 2021, Pastor Frank, who has pastored Holy Spirit Lutheran Church (HSLC) in Juno Beach, Florida for the past 26 years, is approaching a new season; a path he has not walked before with the HSLC family. And they are walking it together. He has repeated, and repeated again, the things all who are involved need to consider as his role changes. His heart is focused on an intentional process, one that considers the needs of everyone. Being honest from the beginning in all aspects toward staff, board and congregants and allowing everyone to adjust during each new consideration is important for a safe and healthy process, he strongly believes. “It takes more time than you think you need”, he offered. The process, involving many dedicated hearts, will have taken a total of 5 years at HSLC, come 2021.
When he bows his head to pray, he says he leaves the outcome up to God. He believes healing comes in many ways and obedience is his focus.
Pastor Frank and wife Martina, who pastor Frank says has allowed him to be a better pastor, consider the HSLC family, their own ‘family’. Pastor Frank’s journey includes pastorships at Lutheran churches in St. Pete, Yorba Linda, CA. (a church plant) and HSLC in Juno Beach. He has embraced laughable memories such as his own screams from fake snakes during an internship in Texas, (he scared off the deer!), and a real beauty pageant run at HSLC (he won!).
His extensive care and love has allowed God to use him to touch thousands of lives at different points of need. He is no stranger to supernatural miracles, too, as he witnessed two physical healings after praying for hospitalized HSLC guests when death was imminent. They both lived. Pastor Frank grew. When he bows his head to pray, he says he leaves the outcome up to God. He believes healing comes in many ways and obedience is his focus.
Pastor Frank and HSLC will welcome their new Lead Pastor soon, and Pastor Frank will then act as associate pastor for the ensuing 12 months. Pastor Frank said he is excited about the new voice God will be bringing to HSLC. “I’ve given my best years to being a pastor”, he commented, quick to say he “brings nothing to the table,” but that it is all God.
This next season holds a ‘would like to’ list that includes visiting family in Switzerland, leading small groups, mission trips and fundraising along with new ventures such as learning guitar and perhaps woodworking. Pastor Frank’s retirement is a beautiful wind of the Holy Spirit leading him to a new season.