Rev. Gary W. Wagner

Rainbow Acres
P.O. Box 1326
Camp Verde, Ariz.  86322-1326

Work Phone: 928.567.5231

The Rev. Gary W. Wagner has been bringing a profound sense of calling to the ministry of Rainbow Acres since he joined the organization as president in 1996. That calling is rooted in a passion for the Church and its faith-based ministries and social justice endeavors.

Rainbow Acres is a faith-based residential community for men and women with developmental disabilities. Affectionately known as “Ranchers,” these individuals are worthy of dignity, respect and the opportunity to discover their God-given proposes in life.

Rainbow Acre’s “whole-life” concept teaches daily living skills, social skills and employment skills. Social skills are reinforced through a variety of social activities, including Special Olympics. Employment skills can be utilized both on the ranch and in such Verde Valley businesses as Sedona Recycles, the National Park Service and Safeway. Spiritual life is encouraged through Prayer Circle, Bible studies, and opportunities to worship and participate in community churches.

“Because I am the father of two children with disabilities, I have empathy for the individuals who live here and for their families,” says Wagner. “I draw on my pastoral care, counseling and professional fundraising experiences to help me fulfill my responsibilities.”

Wagner stresses that those who live at Rainbow Acres share the same basic needs as all human beings: self-acceptance, acceptance and affirmation from others, meaningful work and life purpose.

“What makes Rainbow Acres distinctive is that we help people tap into resources of faith to find a healthy self-acceptance,” says Wagner. “While some disabilities can never be completely overcome, they can be accepted and transcended.”

Seeing Ranchers mature, develop meaningful relationships with friends and discover their giftedness are the most rewarding parts of the ministry, Wagner notes.

“Persons with disabilities are important in the Kingdom of God!” he says. “I see so many people at Rainbow Acres who have a tremendous concern for the well-being of others and a deep appreciation for friends. Their personal achievements are miracles of faith and hope.”

Under Wagner’s leadership, Rainbow Acres has replaced mobile-home units with 12 new permanent homes and eight apartments.

“As Rainbow Acres is growing,” Wagner says, “there are openings for new Ranchers.”

Wagner and his wife, Jussara, have two school-age children, Isaac and Abigail, who are Rainbow Acres volunteers. In addition, he has four older sons. Wagner’s hobbies include traveling, genealogy and antiques.


  • Postgraduate studies, Fullerton Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.
  • M.Div., Colgate Rochester (N.Y.) Divinity School
  • B.A., Religious Education and Sociology, University of Sioux Falls, S.D.


  • Director of Development and Marketing, Omniplex Science Museum, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Vice President, Phillips University, Enid, Okla.
  • Director of Development, Alderson-Broaddus University, Philippi, W.Va.
  • Director of Development, American Baptist Assembly, Green Lake, Wis.
  • Director of Development, Bacone College, Muskogee, Okla.


  • Ordained: 1972
  • Birthday: Sept. 5


  • Rainbow Acres is a mission partner with American Baptist Home Mission Societies, a member of American Baptists Homes and Hospitals Association and an affiliated ministry of American Baptist Churches Board of General Ministries.
  • Rainbow Acres was founded in 1974 by the Rev. Dr. Ralph K. Showers. Its mission is to provide homes with heart and promising futures for men and women with developmental disabilities.
  • Rainbow Acres is currently home to 76 men and women aged 18-80.
  • Over its 40-year history, Rainbow Acres has served more than 450 persons from more than 21 states.
  • To learn more about Rainbow Acres or to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of it, visit, or contact Wagner at or 928.567.5231.