Bob The Builder
From a very young age, it was clear that God had given Bob Brandon the gift of building. Whether with his hands or his mind or his personality, Bob was undeniably a builder. Isn’t it fascinating how a set of children’s building blocks can later develop into building a church, both physically and spiritually?
“I liked to build things as a kid,” Pastor Bob said. “I was always listening in church business meetings and the men of the church included me and gave me opportunities to have responsibilities in the church.”
At the ripe age of 8, little Bob was on construction sites and treated like one of the men because he was such a hard working, independent boy. He was already working in the ministry before he really even understood who Jesus was.
Bob’s Come to Jesus Moment
One rainy day at the age of 12, Bob was reading his Bible memory verse from Isaiah 53:6 when he realized the verse was talking about him. Isaiah 53:6 says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” At that moment, Bob accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and made his decision public the following Sunday in church.
“God’s call was different to me,” Bob explained, when asked if he knew he’d be called to pastor a church one day. “It was more like, how could I use my talents to follow God’s great commission? It wasn’t anything specific, just to serve wherever I could be used by God to find my life’s purpose.”
On the Right Track
It was his love for running that put him on his true path. Bob was an incredible runner as a teenager. He had no idea that his regimen of running five miles a day before school would lead to a track scholarship from the University of Washington in Seattle, right up the street from his childhood hometown of Tacoma. While in college, Bob and his close-knit group of friends traveled in student ministry groups every summer and saw many people come to Christ from all walks of life. This group that God banded together decided collectively to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after college. If that wasn’t awesome enough, this same group shared the desire to start a church together, with an emphasis on reaching people who had not made a decision about Christ in their lives. Under God’s leadership, the friends built a church and Bob got to use his construction skills from his youth to do his part to transform a building into a church. Bob served as the Executive Pastor at the still-thriving Hope Church for about 20 years, faithfully living out his passion to follow God’s great commission.
Don’t Forget the Love Story
But let’s back up a minute, back to seminary, where Bob met his beautiful wife Beverly. Beverly was finishing her Master’s degree in Religious Education. She became part of his small group of friends and Bob knew very quickly he wanted to get to know her better. He summoned up the courage to ask her to breakfast one morning and told her over coffee that he wanted to date her. Bev, not known to be shy, asked him exactly what his intentions were with her and Bob said “to marry you.” He joked that she asked, so he answered truthfully! The happy couple was married 18 months later and is as adorable today as they must have been back then.
Bob and Beverly have four grown children, two boys and two girls. Barrett, the oldest, is married and currently resides in Fort Worth; Brooke is also married and living in Kansas City; Blair lives close-by in Austin with her beautiful baby girl, Ezrie; and Britt is the youngest, currently in law school at Texas A&M.
All Roads Lead to Northside Church
On the path to becoming the Pastor of Northside Church in Austin, Bob’s 27 years as executive pastor gave him a strong foundation to prepare him for the future. He might not have always seen it this way. In fact, Bob said the biggest challenge he has ever faced in his life was the aftermath of parting ways with Hope Church. He didn’t know where God was calling him or what he was supposed to do next. He did learn that his relationship with God was the most important thing as he worked through this life change. He worked in construction for two years while waiting for clear direction and then moved to Austin to join a church staff in South Austin that later merged with another congregation. Ultimately, the move to Austin allowed him to bring his love of running into the picture again. He accepted the position of head track and cross country coach at Hyde Park Baptist School, where he also accepted a teaching position. Beverly became a high school teacher at Hyde Park as well, where she still teaches today. As with many private schools though, budget cuts cause some teaching positions to be eliminated, and while Bob was retained as track and cross country coach, his teaching position went away and he began searching for other opportunities to teach.
If you can teach high school kids, you can probably teach adults, so when the director of the Austin Baptist Association (ABA), David Smith, asked Bob to fill in to preach at a small church that was without a pastor, Bob said sure. The church was in the midst of interviewing, or inviting pastoral candidates to preach, and had trouble finding the right fit. In a church business meeting, the ABA director asked the church body if they would consider bringing Bob in as a candidate, not just a guest preacher filling in between candidates. The church body was receptive and felt an instant connection when Bob came to preach again a few weeks after filling in.
Bob was hired in July of 2016 as Pastor of Northside Church, making an immediate impact as he began to preach the Word of God each Sunday and minister to the church. Aside from serving as Pastor, Bob finds himself in the familiar position of Bob the Builder. A relatively new church with a new name and a new outlook, ready to serve the North Austin community both inside the church walls and in the community.
Who is Northside Church?
The church family that Bob inherited was everything he hoped for. He sees them as a people who want to minister to others and who have a heart for all people. They thrive in the challenges they face and they want to see the church blossom and grow.
“I want to be a people known by our love for one another and for the Lord. I see us as a church that God will use locally with a global perspective. I think we will work with the gifts we have to impact the world,” Bob explained, adding an invitation to newcomers. “We are a church where it’s okay to come and ask questions, investigate the truth and make decisions. I want people to love the Lord, walk with God and connect with the needs of this present day. I want people to view Christianity as a viable opportunity to consider.”
In five years, Bob envisions a strong ministry of people true to our Faith and the Scriptures, who apply it well. “I want to have ministries that include the people of Austin… people of all ages and cultures who reflect the flavor of our city.” Bob wants to offer a variety of ministries, led by mature Christians who have grown with the church.
In short, Bob wants a church that lives by his favorite life verse, John 4:34, which reads: “My food, said Jesus, is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”
And what he really wants people to believe with all their hearts, is that Jesus is a real person and not just an idea. “We can have a relationship with Him!”
So, there you have it, Bob the Builder is building a start-up church in which he invites you to grow and become an active part. He is building relationships and helping to build our faith as he teaches us God’s word every week. Come build with us, come grow with us!
|Who is Bob Brandon?
What do you do outside of ministry and work?
I enjoy reading, writing and running. I thrive on variety. The more I have to do, the more energy I have. I also just like to be with people.
What’s your favorite thing about Austin?
I love the diversity. The wide range of people, music, food, climate and culture. People come here from all over the world and we have a great melting pot of people. I love to sit at The Domain drinking coffee and people-watching.
Speaking of food, what’s your favorite Austin restaurant?
Kerbey Lane. The original one reminds me so much of my college years.
What’s your favorite sport to watch?
Track and field, because I know what goes into it to make it work.
If you were on a reality TV show, which one would it be?
The Amazing Race so I could work with a team to be successful.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
My wife Bev. She knows me the best and she challenges me.
If you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow, what would you do today?
I’d be centered around helping others… I’m not trying to finish some kind of bucket list. I’d definitely talk to people I know who need Jesus and I’d be looking at people who still have questions and urgently encouraging them.