Kevin Goodman was an airline pilot flying across the country when seizures put an end to his flying career.
“I went from flying jets to not being able to drive a car,” Goodman said. “That’s a unique spot to be in.”
Today as pastor of Boeuf River Baptist Church, Winnsboro, La. and a May ’21 graduate of Leavell College, Goodman begins work on an M. Div. in the fall. As he looks back over his journey from his calling to ministry, to a career in aviation, and then to the pastorate, he sees God at work every step of the way.
“As a pilot, I didn’t think I was running from my call,” Goodman said. “I felt like [ministry] would come in its own shape and fashion.”
The draw of aviation was strong and doors opened quickly for Goodman, even as a youth. By the age of 20, Goodman had his commercial pilot’s license. Soon, he was a flight instructor.
In the cockpit of the 50-passenger Embraer 145 that Goodman flew for Continental Airlines’ United Express, he found opportunity for Gospel conversations with non-believers as well as fellowship with believers. Goodman believed he was where God intended him to be.
Episodes of blacking out began and as his wedding to his bride Kharissa approached, the seizures intensified. Injuries he suffered from falls during black-outs included broken bones, but doctors could not isolate the cause. Days after his honeymoon, a grand mal seizure made a diagnosis of epilepsy clear and his career in aviation was ended.
Medication brought the issue under control and Goodman served as a youth leader at his church and as a lay-speaker in his association. A pastor on medical leave called Goodman one day and asked him to serve in his place. Months later, Goodman was asked to stay as interim pastor, and then finally, as pastor.
As Goodman settled into his pastorate at Boeuf River Baptist Church, seminary was the “farthest thing” from his mind, he explained. The pastors he had known growing up did not have seminary degrees and Goodman felt he was serving as God intended.
The next step of God’s plan became clear during a revival week when the guest preacher mentioned to Goodman NOBTS and the Caskey Center’s support for small-church pastors.
“I would never have considered seminary if I hadn’t heard about the Caskey Center scholarship,” Goodman said. “I’m better equipped than I ever thought I would be.”
People who know him “laugh,” Goodman said, because “I was the kid that detested high school.” But in his interview for the Caskey Center scholarship, Dr. Mark Tolbert, director, asked Goodman why he wanted a NOBTS and Leavell College education. Goodman replied, “I just want to be the best I can be.”
Though a seminary education was not orginally in his plan, Goodman is grateful for what he has learned in theology and practical ministry, as well as help in dealing with cultural issues unique to today, Goodman explained.
“There’s no doubt [coming to seminary] has really helped me. I wish I could send every pastor to NOBTS,” Goodman said. “That’s what the Caskey Center is doing. It’s really helping guys like me, in today’s culture.”