By Rick Kern
Pastor Guy G. Goodell is a man with a mandate! He has pastored for decades and has preached everywhere from prisons to street corners. He has founded churches and fought for Christian education rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where he emerged victorious. Goodell has also conducted over 200 seminars for various Christian educators’ conventions, helped establish churches and training centers in Haiti, and cooperated with the Reagan Administration to smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union. Additionally, he has established Bible colleges and seminaries in Romania and several other former Soviet Union countries.
All this on top of multiple articles for countless news outlets and Christian publishing groups, the authorship of numerous books, and the creation and leadership of the Strength for Living Counseling Center through his local church. And as if all this wasn’t enough, he shepherds Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church, located in Hudson Falls, New York, while recently making a commitment to author one book a year until the Lord takes him home.
Oh, and did I mention a pilot’s license, a Ph.D., years of university-level teaching experience, and two-years of studying the Russian language? To say he refuses to rust out, but is instead committed to burning out ablaze with Christ’s love, might help us see the picture the way it is (while making us all a bit uncomfortable about our accomplishments — or lack thereof).
The 76 year-old Goodell was born in Jacksonville, Florida to alcoholic parents which left his home life with a lot to be desired. They surrendered their lives to the Lord when young Guy was about 12 years-old, and the change in them was so stark and jarring that he followed suit a year later.
His call to the ministry came when he joined the military and a Southern Baptist chaplain who took an interest in him challenged him. “He began talking to me about the call to preach and he began talking to me about God’s power on my life,” explains Goodell. “He would train me and have me lead Bible studies on a volunteer basis in the barracks in the old Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.” He continues, “Those guys were all going into combat so he wanted to be sure that I gave them the Gospel and gave them the opportunity to get saved. That was when I really came to the realization that God had His hand on me and that I needed to surrender my life to preach.”
Married some 53 years with two children and three grandchildren, Pastor Goodell spends most of his time at Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church. As might be expected, his church cooperates with many similar organizations to spread God’s Word world-wide. The fellowship has multiple ministries that in addition to preaching and teaching, include counseling, evangelizing, missions, children’s programs, an onsite bookstore, a Christian K-12 School, and a Bible Institute/College program.
Pastor Goodell is the quintessential servant-leader as reflected in his personal philosophy of leadership. “Basically,” he says thoughtfully, “my philosophy of leadership is for me to be a model of the truth I want people to adopt for their lives.” As a Christian, you cannot argue with biblical logic like that!
In addition to pastoring, Goodell teaches many of the English courses for The College of St. Joseph, a Catholic college in Rutland, Vermont. Three years ago, they approached him to develop a Bible curriculum for the college in tandem with the teaching post. Thus, when he is not preparing sermons, counseling parishioners, or on outreach, he is busy creating classes and interviewing potential professors as he develops St. Joseph’s Bible course work.
About five years ago at the prompting of his wife and suggestion of some of his colleagues, Pastor Goodell began authoring books for publication. He has penned three books, and at this writing has a fourth at the publisher. His latest work, What To Do When Your Storm Strikes, is the result of many years of ministry and problem-solving as a pastor, in evangelism, education, and missionary work. Essentially an exposition of Acts 27, a description of Paul’s trip to Rome at the end of his life, it is a powerful application of the lessons he gleaned from the chapter. Pastor Goodell demonstrates how the principles from Acts 27 can be implemented in the believer’s life when facing crises. “There are twelve principles in there that will work in any crisis that you’re facing in life if you’re willing to apply those principles to your crisis,” notes Goodell.
Much of Pastor Goodell’s work throughout the years has involved counseling and at a certain point he realized that about 75 percent of his counseling revolved around abuse in the home either of children or wives. The net effect was a powerful read called The Christian Abuser that is a lightning rod of controversy in some ways while in others shines the light of hope into some very dark corners of life.
The Christian Abuser confronts the widespread problems associated with a misguided concept of “headship” among Christian men and the heartbreak of the resulting fallout. “We have brainwashed both men and women to believe that headship is telling your wife what she has to do,” Goodell admits, “and she has to do it when you tell her to do it or to stop doing it when you tell her — it’s a misconception of headship.”
And while it has landed with a splash, getting more than a few people wet with its message who wanted to stay dry, it is a book whose time has come. Having been all over the world, Goodell is convinced that this appears to be a uniquely American Christian problem and address it with tact, compassion, sensitivity, and class. He cites agape love and its landmark description in 1 Corinthians 13 as the roadmap to biblical headship.
“Headship’s primary responsibility is twofold,” he explains, “— to provide direction based on what the Bible actually teaches, and to provide protection for those who are simply trying to take the direction that the Bible gives.” He continues, “So you have to put both of those into place and realize that the biblical concept of headship does not negate the individually of the people under the leader.”
The Christian Abuser has done so well that Christian Book Distributers recently made it available assuring a vast audience and much greater marketability. It can be purchased through them or through outlets such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble as well.
As far as the nature of the problem, Pastor Goodell does not mince words or soften the blow — he tells it like it is, “Abuse in the Christian home is covered up almost as well as a politician covers up the skeletons in his closet.”