Southeast Christian Church’s Wild Game Feed brought thousands of men—young and old alike—together on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Blankenbaker Campus to enjoy dinner, fellowship and a show with comedian Mike Goodwin.
Goodwin, who donned his trademark wooden bow tie, had men laughing about his 8-year-old son’s flag football escapades and his squat struggles at the gym.
At one point, Goodwin skipped up and down the center aisle of the sanctuary with a big smile on his face.
After Goodwin’s act, men got to see the more serious side of the comedian, who talked with Men’s Associate Pastor Mason Bramer and shared the story of how he came to know Christ.
“I kept having this void,” Goodwin said. “I was trying to fill it with women, alcohol and partying. It would work for a little while, but then I felt like it kept getting bigger. It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t fill the void. I needed to do something different. Then, I gave my life to Christ at a New Year’s Eve Service in 1999.”
Goodwin said he used to be a “womanizer,” but Jesus transformed him into a one-woman man. He has been married to his wife for almost 19 years.
“I found my worth and self-esteem in women,” Goodwin said. “Whatever I did, I was trying to attract women. I went to college to get a good job to get women. I would go to the gym, work out and get muscles to get women. Everything led back to women. I’ve been so deliberate to make sure my wife knows there’s no other women in my life, especially because I’m on the road and taking pictures at different events. I’m so protective of my wife and my witness.”
More than leaving a legacy of comedy, Goodwin wants to be remembered for being a man of integrity.
“I’ve had people say all types of things about me and my character, but I’ve outlived the lie,” Goodwin said. “The Bible talks about the ‘man without guile.’ I want to be a man without guile. I want people to say, ‘Mike Goodwin is a good man and a solid guy.’ I often didn’t see that in the church because I never saw anyone else’s weaknesses.”
Many men were moved by the comedian’s candor and his call to be raw in your relationships with other men.
“It did grab my attention,” said Southeast member Danny Lyons. “I was thinking, ‘I wonder what a person who never goes to church is thinking about this? I wonder what someone who is involved in those sexual struggles right now thinks of this?’ There’s such a taboo around these topics and older guys don’t talk about this stuff. It was perfect.”
John Wiegand, who has been a member of Southeast for 15 years and attends the La Grange Campus, brought his two sons, who are 13 and 35 years old.
“My oldest son was glued to the interview,” Wiegand said.
Wiegand also served as one of the 100 men who volunteered at the event.
“I was in FH1. I worked the atrium. I was all over the place,” Wiegand said. “I made about 25 laps around the atrium just looking for people who were on the outskirts and tried to bring them to someone who could show a positive image of Southeast.”
The Wild Game Feed’s theme for men to be more aware of their view of, and relationships with, women ended with a challenge to action.
Men’s Ministry Leader Ronnie Cordrey talked with Rachelle Starr, the founder of Scarlet Hope, an outreach ministry that shares the hope of Jesus Christ with women in the adult entertainment industry.
“I’ve never gotten to speak to a room with the majority being men,” Starr said. “I think the thing that is unique tonight is I can say the women who are in the adult entertainment industry, that are exploited and trafficked in the community, around the world and online, are beautiful. I want every single woman to know they’re loved by God. I want to ask for the men in this room to stop looking at pornography, to stop visiting strip clubs, to stop the demand of this and partner with our ministry to bring a future and hope to these women.”
A portion of the Wild Game Feed’s proceeds benefited Scarlet Hope, and the organization was presented with a donation of $10,000.
“We’re launching the largest outreach we’ve ever done this March, and it’s called ‘Text Outreach,’” Starr said. “In 2007 when we started Scarlet Hope, social media and iPhones weren’t really available. Now we’re trying to reach women that are online, and this donation will fund that.”
“That was probably the most powerful part of the whole event,” Lyons added. “Because when we’re involved in pornography or prostitution, and a high percentage of men were or are probably involved in one or another, we don’t think that it’s one of God’s daughters being abused. That grabbed my heart. I think that might have stopped some men in their tracks.”
For more information on how to get connected to the Men’s Ministry at Southeast, visit www.southeastchristian.org/connect/men.