Former pro football player finds his calling as youth pastor

Gordon Banks, a successful businessman and a former NFL player, was considering offers to coach in the college and pro ranks.

Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks, a successful businessman and a former NFL player, was considering offers to coach in the college and pro ranks.

Then he had a change of heart.

Persuaded by family, friends and his faith, the former Stanford University and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver decided to catch on as a youth pastor in his community.

The Kent man hasn’t regretted his career choice. His church came calling and today, more than 25 years later, he continues to join congregations locally and abroad to make a difference through ministry.

“On paper, it wasn’t a great decision but in reality it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Banks, 58, who along with his wife, Derozette, are lead pastors of Overcomer Covenant Church on Auburn’s West Hill. “It’s been great. … The church is very healthy, explosive … there’s a real excitement, a lot of energy. There are new families and young people growing. Lives are being lifted to the next level. It’s pretty rewarding.”

The Banks and the church will welcome nearly 1,500 people from the region, throughout the country and other parts of the world to this weekend’s No Limits conference – a three-day event that features acclaimed speakers, music, informative breakout sessions, panel discussions and activities for children and youth.

The church, at 33415 Military Road S., is multiracial and nondenominational, attracting people from throughout the Puget Sound region.

The conference, as Banks explained, is a chance for church leaders to come together, build a common vision and serve followers.

“Especially now,” Banks said. “It’s certainly an interesting time. We certainly have to overcome some of the challenges in our society, economically, in our relationships, and on and on. … If there’s ever a time we needed unity, this is the time.”

Banks, who grew up in Southern California, excelled at football and track and field at Stanford before embarking on an eight-year, journeyman career in the NFL and the since-defunct United States Football League.

The Banks met while he played for the USFL’s Oakland Invaders, and she was a beauty queen, competing in the Miss California USA Pageant.

After serving at a Covenant Church in Dallas for several years, the Banks accepted the opportunity to lead a church in Auburn. It’s been home ever since.

The Banks maintain a busy schedule while raising five children.

“We’re here to help people and strive to be a difference maker in their lives,” Banks said of his work.

The No Limits conference opens with a rally at 7 p.m. Friday and continues throughout Saturday and Sunday.

“The conference is a significant mile-marker for us as a church and is always a huge moment in the lives of those who attend,” Banks said. “The magnitude of the conference and the dedication that people bring is something that we are inspired by each and every year.”

The conference is open to the public with free admission, but Saturday’s sessions and day events for children require registration.

To register and to learn more, visit overcomerconference.com.

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