Every Batman Needs a Robin

In their day they were the dynamic duo. One was the pastor, the other the assistant. One was charismatic, the other the work horse. Both could hit a softball further than about anyone else I’ve ever met. Get them on the same team and they were unbeatable. Both had incredible talent and million-dollar smiles. They and their wives merged at the perfect time, built a multi-million-dollar building, and took Calvary Tabernacle to a different dimension. In their day, they were an unstoppable force.

There are people who just go together. Laurel and Hardy, Jordan and Pippen, and Siskel and Ebert. For me, in the early 80’s it was Jim Larson and Jim Brannon. An earlier blog recounts the impact of Pastor James Larson on my life, but the story would be incomplete without Jim Brannon. He was the secret behind the sauce. While Pastor Larson beat the tambourine and preached vision, Jim Brannon was the ultimate second man. Pastor Larson envisioned it; James Brannon made it happen.

I am not sure that Calvary Tabernacle’s current building gets built without him. He was comfortable with, and understood his role as Robin, the second man. Whatever it took for the church to succeed, he stepped up. He wasn’t scared of hard work. I saw him in mud filled holes, working on pipes, and on sky-high scaffolding. He also wasn’t afraid of making hard decisions, he often had to be the bad guy, make the tough calls, and because he was willing, things got accomplished. Ministerially, he served the Indiana Youth Department, preached when Pastor Larson was gone, and filled any void when he saw a need. 

Before coming to Indy, he was an important cog in the success of the church in Stockton California pastored by Kenneth Haney. He served in many roles, working with the youth, assisting with construction, and doing whatever was necessary to see that the church succeeded. His agenda never seemed to be about titles or accolades, it was about stepping up, getting the job done, and seeing the Kingdom moving forward.

Leaving Indy in the late 80’s, he and his wife would start their own church in Livermore California. As with many areas in his life, he had to dig it out, make sacrifices, and hard choices. Those choices often brought criticism, misunderstanding, and difficulties, yet he and his wife never wavered in their commitment to the message they lived and preached. I know their work in at Christian World Church in Livermore has come with great sacrifice, heartache and pain. Yet, meet them and both of them will greet you with the biggest smiles, have you laughing uncontrollably, and one would think they had never experienced pain or had their hearts broken. Mary and I see them as giants of the faith and some of the finest Christians we have ever met.

Thank you, Jim Brannon, for doing what so many aren’t willing to do, be the second man. You set the gold standard for the role. You have led with excellence as a pastor, dad, grandpa, and businessman. I admire and appreciate you, and I am thankful for your example. You have not only been someone that I look up to, but someone I wanted to emulate. Mary and I are proud to be able to call you and Janet our friends. Your reward in heaven will be greater than you could ever imagine.

4 Replies to “Every Batman Needs a Robin”

  1. As a very green 17 year old, leaving home for the first time, trying to find my way in this “calling” thing, and not having the faintest idea of how to begin….I had the good fortune of crossing paths with the two “Jims” in Stockton, CA at WABC. The evangelist… Jim Larson …was the full of excitement, fire, and charisma preacher passing through the campus on occasion. The instructor/Dorm Supervisor …Jim Branon …was the “steady as you go,” easy going, gregarious, “get it done” preacher/teacher/mentor on campus!!!

    Jon, you said it well!!! This was truly a dynamic duo that both understood and were at ease in their respective roles. Their fingerprints are all over Calvary. I have learned from both simply by observing their actions!!! It is amazing how God puts certain people in your path that leave an indelible imprint …a pattern to live by!!! I have great appreciation and admiration for both of these men.

  2. Never in a million years would I have thought anyone would have written what you stated so eloquently. I am just honored and humbled that after nearly 36 years since leaving Calvary my name was mentioned for the effort that we put forth to be the best “Robin” we could be! It was a privilege to serve alongside my best friend and college roommate, Jim Larson. I so deeply appreciate the fact that he opened the door of opportunity for me to be a part of his vision. It allowed me and expand our horizons and to meet so many wonderful people who have become lifetime friends and some have even visited our home in Livermore, CA. over the last 35 years.
    I have always felt that God had a divine master plan and that He was behind it all orchestrating our steps and protecting us in the process. I can remember at least three distinctive times that God protected us from the swift and sudden demise as we labored alongside so many volunteers who contributed their time and resources to make it all happen. Through those experiences, I learned the beauty of what has become one of my favorite passages, “But God.” Janet and I only attempted to do our best and fill the role that we were asked to fill. Some didn’t understand it, some couldn’t envision what was happening, and some were oblivious to what God was doing. While the journey wasn’t always easy, nor was it perfect, we learned a lot along the way as we faced some difficult challenges and made mistakes, but we also gained some valuable experience. Through it all God proved himself strong on our behalf and He received the glory in it all.
    While it was not always easy God’s grace made it possible and He made a way for there wasn’t a way. I have stated on more than one occasion it was God’s vision that was birthed in Pastor Larson’s heart and if I had not answered the call to support it God would’ve chosen somebody else to fill that position. Like the song, Andre Crouch wrote many years ago, “Through it, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, and trust in God.”
    Now as I look back 36 years later I am so thankful just to be a part of something that was so much greater than we imagined. God entrusted two 28-year-old boys who had never built a dog house with a vision to build a house for Him that would be a lighthouse in Indianapolis and like we used to say “Calvary is in the heart of the city with the city at heart.”

  3. Bro B was a very hard worker.with very little pay. For all he did .He almost got killed with some Electric problems.Alwsys loved him and Sid B.

    1. Ken: Yes I remember that evening when I was almost electrocuted. I also remember the guy who was working on Lilly’s building project who did the same thing (I did) a couple of days later and was not as fortunate. There were two other times I remember… I was driving the bobcat down into the basement not knowing if the “ramp” (two wood rails) would support the weight of the tractor and the other one was when I slipped on the roof when it had a little ice on it and almost wound up it the “pit” between the new building and the old building which the best I remember was about a 40 drop! God was/is good to us and during the three-plus years it took to build the building, not one was seriously injured! I didn’t realize it at the time, but those were some of the best years of our lives and those times forged some of our greatest memories! Thanks for taking the journey with us! You inspired me on more than one occasion and became a trusted friend!

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