When Roger was born, his family lived in Ottumwa, Iowa, where they resided most of his younger years, except for a brief time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a year in Dallas, Texas. At the age of 14, Roger and his family moved to Southern California.
He spent the rest of his teen years and early 20’s in California. After Roger graduated from MarkKeppelHigh School in So. San Gabriel, he attended PasadenaCityCollege and PasadenaNazareneCollege in Pasadena, California.
Roger gave his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 18 in a church called The Church in the Barn in El Monte, California. Feeling called of God to sing for the Lord, he put together a group of teenagers called The Tune Teens to sing gospel quartet music at The Church in the Barn. He asked Eldon Campbell, Ellis Phillips, and Sharyl Quealy to be part of that group. They sang regularly at the church and on a weekly radio program. He and Eldon also directed the youth department at church. Three years later Sharyl became Mrs. Roger Bankson when he was 21 years of age. Over the next 10 years, 6 children were born to their union – Jill, Doug, Joe and Jeff (twins), Todd, and Stacy.
Roger met Bobby Jones, who was about the same age, while attending PasadenaCollege. Bobby’s father Bob Jones, who started the Songfellows Quartet, along with Kenna Martin, were singing as a professional quartet in California, and had already recorded several albums. Roger was asked to sing first tenor with the Songfellows at the age of 21. They recorded 4 long play albums together and held concerts in churches and auditoriums throughout the state with other groups including the Blackwood Brothers, Statesmen, Oak Ridge Boys, and the Harvesters.
Three years later, Roger and Kenna formed the Golden State Quartet for the purpose of singing full time throughout the entire United States. Three other men joined the group – Dewey Short, Lee Park and Jerry Pippin. The group traveled extensively and recorded 3 albums in the short space of 1 year. The group then decided to go their own ways, each one successful in his own endeavors.
The following year, Roger put together another group called the Searchlighters. The first members were: Roger, Richard Reil, Ken Feliciano, and Paul Parry. After about a year, Richard was replaced with John Ballard, and Eddie Chavez was asked to join the group as piano player, singer, arranger and master of cerimonies. When Ken decided to leave and sing with the Weatherford Quartet, Paul Parry’s younger brother, Ted joined the quartet to sing baritone. The Searchlighters recorded two albums and traveled throughout most of the western states.
After the Searchlighters disbanded, Roger accepted a position as Administrator of a nursing home in Rapid City, South Dakota, while continuing to sing solo on weekends. About a year later, Roger moved with his family to Denver, Colorado to be the Minister of Music at Mountain States Baptist Temple where John Avanzini was the pastor. They developed a close friendship that has spanned many years. He organized and sang with a local group until during a singing tour to Southern California, Roger and his wife led his brother Dennis and his wife Patti to receive Jesus into their lives. Soon afterward, he re-organized the New Searchlighters. Roger and Dennis, accompanied by their wives and 10 children, traveled and sang throughout the United States and parts of Canada.
Then a call came from the Gospel Lads, a gospel quartet headquartered in Joplin, Missouri. They were a full-time singing group working with the “Revival Fires” television ministry and singing in approximately 250 churches each year. Roger sang first tenor with The Lads, recording 3 albums during that time. It was during one of these tours that Roger and Sharyl’s 3 year old son Todd was run over by a truck and killed. That tragedy, however, was turned into a tremendous witness and testimony of the grace of God.
However, it appeared that Roger was destined to return to a solo ministry. He Traveled for many months with Russ Martin and sang for the Revival Fires Television ministry. Roger also ministered in several revival meetings with a large crusade team from Canada. He began scheduling summer tours that spanned most of the United States and Canada while their children, who could now sing harmony, were out of school for summer breaks.
The Bankson family moved to Apopka, Florida in 1982. After his twins, Jeff and Joe graduated from high school, he and his sons continued to minister full time for about 10 years as The Banksons, recording 5 albums together. Later on, his sons Doug, Joe and Jeff traveled for a year as a trio called Brother, and recorded 1 album entitled All Around the World.
In 1999, Roger’s wife of 38 years passed away with a brain tumor. After his wife “left him for a better man,” Roger married Kelli Burks, a wonderful woman with a pure heart, who has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. Kelli is also an ordained minister and has a tremendous gift of teaching. She is presently the Director of Life Christian University – Victory Church Campus.
For almost 8 years Roger served with his oldest son, Pastor Doug Bankson, as an Associate Pastor at VictoryChurchWorldOutreachCenter in Apopka, Florida. Since his children have all married and have their own individual ministries, Roger now continues to sing and travel as God called him to do many years ago. He is on the road again, singing in churches all over the United States and Canada.
Roger has been featured on radio and television throughout America and did a special on ABC TV for Revival Fires several years ago. He was also featured as a soloist on the PTL TV network in California, and on the Angel TV network. Additionally, Roger sang for Benny Hinn when his ministry base was located in Orlando, Florida. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and several foreign countries ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Roger sang tenor with several quartets including: the Songfellows, Golden State Quartet, Gospel Lads, Searchlighters, and The Banksons; and sang in concert with groups such as: Blackwood Brothers, Statesmen, Imperials, Oak Ridge Boys, Stamps, and others.
Of the 25 gospel and contemporary Christian music albums he has recorded, 7 have been solo albums. His most recent album entitled Holy Ghost Reign features original music written by his family.
Roger’s concerts include anointed songs written by his gifted family, as well as traditional, and popular Christian music. His preaching and singing are combined together in a very unique way that blesses the audience. His ministry has been well received by young and old alike as they have been blessed, encouraged and challenged by Roger’s personal witness and anointed singing.
Roger and Kelli currently reside in Mount Dora, Florida, and continue to be a part of VictoryChurchWorldOutreachCenter in Apopka.
“Roger Bankson is not only a personal friend but someone I look up to for his knowledge and ability to lead an audience to a closer walk with Jesus. He has an uncanny ability to charm an audience with not only his ability in song but also in the love of Jesus which exudes from his personality on stage. I can promise that your people will not be disappointed in his presentation of song and teaching”……. Mark Remington, Zellwood, FL – Christian Drama
“I have known Rev. Bankson to be a man of integrity with a pure heart to serve Jesus and a desire to see people receive from God. He is an amazingly gifted and talented singer who truly involves the congregation in his music ministry. But the music is not just a show. Rev. Bankson flows with the Holy Spirit and has delivered some inspiring and timely teaching to our church.”…..David Ferguson, Pastor – Living Word Ministries, Richmond, VA
“It is with great joy that I have the privilege to recommend the ministry of Roger Bankson. Roger has been a tremendous blessing to both me and to our church. He has always presented himself and his ministry in a spirit of integrity and I have found him to be faithful in keeping his engagements and doing a great job of ministering the love of Jesus through his music. Roger has one of the finest tenor voices I have ever heard and when he sings you can sense the presence of God in your midst”.Cal Langford, Pastor – Foundation Life Fellowship New Bern, NC
“Just a few lines to thank you for your faithfulness in coming to Christian Retreat to minister to us. We pray God will richly bless and anoint your ministry”….Art Chartrand, Conference Coordinator – Christian Retreat, Bradenton, FL
“Thank you so much for joining me on ACTION 60’S! I enjoyed interviewing you and had lots of positive comments from my Senior Adults after the program. I appreciate the time you took from your day to be on our show. My very best to you”…..Herman Bailey, Host. Action 60’s – WCLF TV Channel 22, Clearwater, FL
“Just a note to thank you for being with us on PTL Monday night. It was a pleasure to have you on the program and I know that you were a blessing to those who were watching. It really was a good time in the Lord! Your music was fantastic!”…..Jerry Barnard, President – Christian Communications Network, San Diego, CA
“Roger has been with us and was a great blessing to my people. He is an excellent singer, a wonderful communicator and is deeply spiritual. He can really touch people and it is a delight to work with him.”…..Quentin Edwards, Pastor – Cypress Cathedral, Winter Haven, FL
“Roger has a gifted voice and has ministered on a number of occasions in churches I have pastured. Each time he has shown a sincere desire to see God change lives. His ministry will be one of encouragement and joy in the Lord”….Bill Cox, Pastor – Eustis, FL
“Over the years of our ministry we have been asked on numerous occasions to recommend someone’s ministry or program. Very seldom have I felt impressed to do this. I must say that without reservation I can endorse the ministry of the Bankson family. Not only did I have the priviledge of being their pastor, but have enjoyed and have seen my congregation greatly blessed by their music and testimony. Our congregations response is always: “Pastor, how soon are the Banksons returning?” I guess that’s the best response any pastor could ask for.”……… Ron Masters, Pastor – First Assembly of God, Marysville, WA
“We can never say thank you enough for sharing your beautiful ministry of music with our PRAISE THE LORD family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and from the hearts of the entire family. May God richly bless you”…..Paul Crouch, President – PTL Television Program, Santa Ana, CA
“I have used Roger in my communion and miracle services, and his anointed music enhances the worship and ministry. Roger is a tremendous blessing to our church. He is a gifted vessel of God, always willing to serve when called upon and frequently with no preparation time. I highly recommend the Roger Bankson family”…..Benny Hinn, Evangelist – Benny Hinn Ministries
“It is with great pleasure and confidence that I recommend Roger Bankson to you and to your congregation. Roger is one of the finest ministers of the Gospel that I know. I have personally worked with him in many different circumstances and have found him to be super sensitive to the leading of the Holy Ghost. Roger has one of the really refreshing styles of ministering the Word through songs and words and gets a congregation involved in worship and praise of God in a deep dimension. His Holy Spirit guided life so impressed me that it caused me to be drawn into a new meaningful relationship with the precious Holy Spirit. Truly he has made a lasting impression on my life”…..John Avanzini, Evangelist
“The Roger Bankson family have been to our church a number of times. They are very talented and have always been a great blessing to our people. Roger has a beautiful voice and sings with a special anointin of the Holy Spirit. His attitude and spirit are very easy for any pastor to work with. I highly recommend him”……G.K. Rees, Senior pastor – Frisco Church, Webb City, MO
“We have always injoyed and been blessed by the music ministry of your family. A deep sincerity is communicated and the presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested. God uses your music for His glory. We commend you to churches everywhere.”…..Marvin Rickard, Pastor – Los Gatos Christian Church – Los Gatos, CA
“It is my privilege to recommend highly our brother, Roger Bankson. I have know Roger for many years. We have held revivals together many places. He has on many occasions been our guest soloist here at Johnson County Christian Church. Roger is one of the outstanding soloists in America today. His beautiful singing has touched the lives of thousands across America and many other parts of the world as well. The outstanding thing about Roger’s ministry is his deep love for Christ and his sincere and loving concern for people”…..Ronnie Epps, Minister – Johnson County Christian Church, Overland Park, KS.