Earlier this year, Project Hannah announced that Peggy Banks would be the new global ministry director of Project Hannah. As the ministry is transitioning leadership, we wanted to take a moment and let Peggy share who she is. We trust this extended content gives you a better picture of Project Hannah's new global ministry director.
- Florida native
- Trained nurse, LPN degree
- D.Min., Western Seminary in Portland, OR.
- Minister of spiritual formation, Northwest Bible Church of Dallas, TX
- National director of women’s relations, Dalit Freedom Network
- Director of leadership development, Stonecroft Ministries
- Director of women’s ministry and biblical counseling, Calvary Chapel of Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Marli interviews Peggy
Interview was originally published in TWR Magazine. This content is the extended edition of the interview.
Marli Spieker, founder, and Peggy Banks discuss the future of Project Hannah.
MARLI: Who is Peggy Banks?
PEGGY: I’ve been in ministry a little over 27-plus years. Married for about 20 years to my husband, Ken.
Right out of high school, I went to a technical nursing school. I worked as a nurse before becoming a personal trainer in Florida and started working with professional athletes. I owned and operated an aerobics business for 15 years. I had the great privilege of becoming a national aerobic champion and doing fitness commercials on the local television and radio stations during the time I owned the business. I thought I had it all!
Although things looked good on the outside, I was not a Christian and I was dying on the inside. I came to know Jesus later in life when a friend invited me to her church. I heard the pastor preach on Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I knew I needed God to be my refuge and strength because I was in trouble.
At the time, I was dating a guy who was very abusive and hurting me very badly. I gave my life to Christ that day at church, and what happened next was a miracle. I came home and ended my relationship with my abusive boyfriend. That evening he broke into my apartment when he came there to kill me. He said, “If I can’t have you, no one else will.” He held me captive for several hours until he left my home. I know it is only by God’s grace and mercy that he left my home that night.
Then, God captured my heart and transformed my life forever. God called me into full-time ministry, but because of bad decisions to drop out of school, I needed to start at the beginning. By God’s grace I was able to earn three degrees in just 11 years.
In seminary, God gave me a mission statement for my life. It is “to help hurting women around the world find hope and healing in Jesus.”
Being with women and working in ministry to women has been on my heart for years. I’ve had amazing role models and terrific mentors, spiritual moms, leadership coaches and godly friends who are very special to me and my walk with the Lord. I pray every morning that God would make me a woman who, like my mentors, walks closely with the Lord and is passionate to help women learn and live like women who know they are treasured by God.
MARLI: How has your life been different than imagined?
PEGGY: Growing up I always had a heart for those who were hurting. I was the girl in the room who would look for the one girl sitting by herself. I would make my way across the room, introduce myself and invite her to sit with me. I never wanted anyone to feel alone, unwanted or unseen.
Growing up, I experienced several trials and difficulties. Yet I always hoped that God would use those trials and difficulties to help others know that they have value and purpose in something bigger than themselves. I explored careers in nursing, social work, psychology, but God had other plans.
I came to know Jesus later in life when I was invited by a friend to visit her church. It was at that church that I heard about having a personal relationship with Jesus. I grew up in a religious home, so I knew how to live out a religious routine of faith, but I never knew what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
I gave my life to Christ that day, and almost immediately he placed in my heart a deep passion to help women around the world who are hurting. Later, in seminary, God gave me a mission statement for my life to help hurting women around the world find hope and healing in the person of Jesus.
MARLI: Tell us how you came to join us at Project Hannah.
PEGGY: I met Marli when I was working with Stonecroft Ministries, in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2009 Project Hannah and TWR came to do a presentation on how to communicate to oral cultures, and I thought it was brilliant.
During Marli’s visit we started talking about the possibility of me working with Project Hannah. However, it just wasn’t the right timing for me. I had just started working in Kansas City and was still completing my doctoral studies in seminary.
Then, in September of 2015, I received a phone call from Ann Chastain telling me about the transition with you [Marli] and Project Hannah. My name had been recommended by a friend for consideration in succeeding you as the global ministry director. Ann asked me if I would be interested in exploring the idea of the position. What Ann did not know is that God had been speaking to me since January of 2015 about how he was doing something new in my life.
Every year, I take the first 21 days to pray and fast and seek the Lord and his word for direction for that year. In 2015 I experienced the Lord revealing many ways God had created me differently, and for the first time, I realized that God may have another position for me to serve him and the women around the world.
MARLI: What were you doing in your last ministry and why would you consider leaving?
PEGGY: At the time, I was serving at Northwest Bible Church as the minister of spiritual formation. I was part of a senior leadership team with our senior pastor, executive pastor and our small-groups minister.
In mid-May of 2015, God used my senior pastor to reveal to me that God may be moving me out of my position with Northwest. My senior pastor said to me,
“Peggy, I see you doing a lot of things with hurting women outside the church. Are you happy here? Are you all in here?”
Coming from my senior pastor, I took that to heart and asked God if I was “all in” at the church.
God touched my heart and said, “I want you ‘all in’ with hurting women around the world. I want you to tell them about me!” Then I received the call from Ann Chastain.
MARLI: What is one thing in Project Hannah that has grabbed your heart specifically?
PEGGY: What has grabbed my heart the most is to see what God is doing in our prayer ministry. To have over 50,000 intercessors praying in over 85 languages is quite astonishing.
MARLI: Tell us three things that you bring to this ministry.
PEGGY: First, I believe I bring global experience working with women who are suffering in many different ways. I’ve worked with women around the world [who are trapped] in sex trafficking. Second, my passion and skills are in the area of leadership development for women. I’ve worked with women leaders in ministry, nonprofit, corporate and church leadership. I’ve been active on four nonprofit boards and several executive leadership teams in churches. I have experience with leadership development and ministry to women in sex trafficking, domestic abuse, homelessness, sexual abuse and many other issues that women face every day. I bring leadership experience with mentoring, coaching and team development. And then, finally, I have over 25 years of pastoral counseling experience and a deep passion and purpose that women know they can have hope and healing in the person of Jesus Christ.
MARLI: Where is Project Hannah going to be 10 years from now?
PEGGY: I am a goal planner at heart, and that is why I’m consistently going back to the Lord in prayer seeking his guidance and direction.
I don’t know where Project Hannah will be in 10 years, but I do pray that God’s hand is still guiding and directing our hearts and steps toward women knowing more about Jesus and who they are as children of God.
I pray that women will know that they are treasured by Jesus and have a purpose in all they are doing in their spheres of influence.
I pray we would have over a million women praying around the world through our prayer calendar on a daily basis.
I’d like to see some fresh online video and audio productions that will reach our next generation of women listeners and leaders; maybe a Bible institute for women where they can download or listen to some classes and get a real basic understanding of the Scriptures.
Bonus: "Tested or Tempted"
In addition to Peggy's gifts in leadership, she also is a teacher. We have included a recording of her speaking about fear and trusting God during a Dallas Theological Seminary chapel service.
—Peggy Banks on September 29, 2015 in DTS Chapel