Meet the Pastor

 
 
 
 
 
 
Pastor Appreciation: Mark Bankson
Pastor: Mark Bankson
Church: Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Stanwood, WA
Nominated by: Sandy Schreiner
 
A few weeks into the Covid shut-down, Pastor Mark and our Praise Team, developed a drive-in worship service and built a raised platform in our parking lot. Through blistering summer sun; crisp/windy fall mornings; cold rain, beating hail/sleet and 15+ inches of snow – P. Mark has been on the platform every Sunday! He’s on fire and Spirit-filled every service – encouraging us to step out of ourselves and to reach out toward our community. He explains the culture Jesus lived in; then shows us how those rules and prejudices mirror those we have; then, how we should behave in order to mirror Jesus’ actions – “Love God and love people!”
 
I am a new member of our Church Council, as Evangelism Chairperson, – he always has time to answer my questions, to meet with me as we work to create our events/activities calendar, providing relaxed, friendly, community-oriented events that reach out to, and invite, our neighbors to come, eat and play with us. These activities are designed to foster new friendships outside of our church – “low risk/high reward” opportunities – that create safe relationships where people can ask questions, share their experiences with Jesus, and grow in faith together. P. Mark has been training 26 of us to be Alpha Experience leaders (see www.alphausa.org). We plan to hold this Experience twice this year – starting April 13 and again in October. He’s been doing all this during the Covid shut-down! Just wait and see where P. Mark leads us once things are totally open again! He is an awesome, caring, outward-reaching man who cares about our church and everyone in our Stanwood-Camano community! You can feel his energy buzzing and he’s exciting those around him every time we get together!!! (Even at Covid’s “social distancing!”)
 

 

Pastor Mark Bankson: Recently I returned from the adventures at Universal Studios. We rode rollercoasters that brought thrills and chills around every corner.  Screams, laughter, tears and high fives were celebrated throughout the day.  We built memories as we reached for the stars and plummeted into pitch black.  We shared those experiences together – and being together made all the difference.  Life is an adventure! Faith is an adventure! God made us in order that we might share these adventures together and when we do – it makes all the difference. We all have a history that adds color to the adventure.  My history begins as I was born in Auburn, CA, in 1963. In my early years, I lived in several California locations as my dad was a pastor. In high school, my family moved to Kent, WA, where I graduated from high school and then attended Pacific Lutheran University.  I received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from PLU and then attended seminary at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I have served as pastor in San Bernardino, Auberry in California, and also in McMinnville, Oregon. In 2007, I accepted the Call to pastor Our Saviour’s Lutheran In Stanwood.  I have two children, Isaiah and Jeriah, and a stepson. Skye, Skye recently completed a Master’s degree at San Francisco Art Institute. Isaiah recently graduated from Central Washington University with Law and Justice and Psychology degrees. Jeriah, my daughter, is a student at Whitworth University studying Physics. My favorite activity in my free time is backpacking with my kids in the high country. I also love music, playing the guitar, golf, road trips, hiking, travel, sports, exercise, riding my motorcycle when I get a chance, and cooking up some tasty food for my family. I have had the thrill of pastoring a mission church, building a family log home, and pulling a trailer across the United States. I participated in our German exchange students wedding in Hamburg, Germany, traveled to the Holy Land, and last summer, broke a rib and punctured a lung in Hawaii while body surfing. As I have been pastoring at Our Saviour’s for the past eleven years, we have experienced some wonderful adventures together.  The roller coaster of life has also taken us on a ride that’s included supporting one another in the midst of surprising challenges.  In this journey together, we have discovered that God is good and He is worthy of all our praise. We have many other adventures ahead of us. Some will bring great joy. Surely others will bring tears and sadness. But what makes all the difference is that we share the ride together. And in the midst of the ride we remind one another of the truth that:

  1. God loves us.
  2. Jesus died for us, and
  3. He has a plan for each one of our lives. 

 

Certainly, in this shared adventure, God will guide us deeper into his glory.

I hope you will join us on this adventure as we ride together! Yours In Christ,

Pastor Mark