May 28, 2024

55 Years of Marriage, Ministry and PBA-How PBA Shapes Us

PBA News

When Charles Brannon first came to West Palm Beach, he had no idea what God had in store for him. 

 The future first class president of PBA came to West Palm for baseball, not college. 

His goal was to try out and earn a spot on the Mets. One fateful night, he heard the teaching of Dr. Moody at the former Chapel by the Sea. Charles was compelled to listen and hear what Jesus was about.  

A Calling Beyond the Field 

He began attending First Baptist Church (FBC), now known as Family Church, still intending to play professional baseball. Charles got saved at First Baptist, later receiving his call to ministry too. 

“I had never truly been called into ministry, it was never a thought,” Charles said with a laugh. “But one Wednesday prayer night at FBC, I heard God’s call. I answered it.”  

On January 18, 1967, Charles was licensed to preach by Dr. Moody, marking the start of his ministry. At the same time, Dr. Moody announced the founding of Palm Beach Atlantic College.  

“I knew I would have so many tremendous opportunities there,” said Charles. “So, I decided to enroll.”  

Summer of 1968, Charles taught in his first ministry as the youth pastor at Terry Parker Baptist. Here, he met his “beautiful and perfect” wife, Sally. The couple would continue dating as his classes began in the fall of 1968. 

After completing his first year, the couple wed on July 3, 1969, just a few months before Charles was ordained. They moved down to West Palm permanently in 1970.  

Foundations of Faith and Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic 

 Charles continued to attend classes, while Sally worked as a secretary, supporting her husband during the school year. Over the summers, Charles would work various jobs also to provide.  

Palm Beach Atlantic College (as it was known then) had a large impact and on the Brannons, both personally and academically. Not only did Charles receive his first college degree and find his calling into ministry at PBA, but he welcomed his first child here too. 

“I was actually in the chapel at the time, just as you all do today, when I got the call that Sally was in labor with our first child,” he said.  

The couple also made lifelong connections, supporting them as Charles began his ministry.  

“The people I connected with made a big difference, I had support not just from my wife, but from the members of First Baptist.” 

Charles also became the first class president at Palm Beach Atlantic, unbeknownst to him that he had even been nominated.  

“When they called my name, I didn’t even expect it. I didn’t have a speech prepared,” Charles said. “I said something like this ‘We are here at PBA with all walks of life. We have people to see, places to go, and things to do.’ With that, I won the position.”  

After he graduated in 1974 with his bachelor’s in religion, Charles briefly served as a pastor at Canal Pointe Baptist Church by Lake Okeechobee. Soon after, the Brannons moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Charles would complete his seminary degree.  

A Legacy of Service and Impact 

 Following seminary, Pastor Brannon began to pastor at Bethesda Baptist Church in Georgia. In 1976, the family moved to Fort Lauderdale, where Charles began pastoring at Riverland Baptist. Riverland Baptist was the first of a couple of churches Pastor Brannon would lead in South Florida. Including First Baptist Church, Boynton Beach.   

“We had a lot of great memories during our time there,” said Sally Brannon. “Chuck even was honored by the President of PBA at the time.” 

God was not done with Pastor Brannon and his ministry, calling him to start his own church, now known as Gateway Church. 

 “We started the church as Heaven’s Gate Church,” said Sally. “We thought it was perfect since we would be leading people to Heaven’s Gate.”  

“However, we obviously had to change it,” Chuck laughingly chimed in. 

 Gateway church was founded in 1991 and has continued to serve for Christ. 

“We have had numerous baptisms, sometimes even in a pool at someone’s house,” said Sally. “We just have so many great memories and friends who are truly like family there.” 

While Chuck and Sally’s life has had many changes over the past 55 years of marriage and ministry, they feel that PBA has remained almost the same. 

“While the campus is more diverse now, the world is more complex. There is no doubt the preparation is the same though,” said Chuck. “The preparation is simple: a Christ-led education of God’s word and Jesus’ love.”  

Pastor Brannon stayed involved as much as possible as an alumnus, serving for six years as a Trustee member.  

“I would have loved to be more involved, but God has called me to be involved in ministry and, well, that keeps me very busy,” said Chuck. 

 Pastor Brannon and his wife have learned a lot of wisdom during their time at Palm Beach Atlantic and during their ministry.  

“Here is what I think is the most important to remember that I learned in my time;” said Chuck. “Make certain you are truly converted, living in God’s light and get to the place where you accept your calling.” 

“And to be in love with your family. Those are the key elements,” added Sally.  

Do you feel called to ministry? Find out more about PBA’s School of Ministry here. 

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