Coffee Association key leader uses all of his story to serve God, share Christ

Brad Boykin (left) and Sean Roehler topped their Big Dude Approved video antics when they each ate half of a Paqui tortilla chip — the world’s hottest chip known as the ‘death chip’ — and waited 10 minutes before drinking anything.

Coffee Association key leader uses all of his story to serve God, share Christ

The day Brad Boykin ate a “death chip,” he had at least done his homework. He and his cousin, Sean Roehler, did their research, ate a high-fat meal and took antacids before each eating half of a Paqui tortilla chip, the world’s hottest chip.

“A jalapeño is 6,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and a death chip is 1.9 million,” Boykin said, adding for perspective that pepper spray is 2 million SHU.

He and Roehler took the “10-minute challenge” — to eat a piece of the chip, which comes with just one chip individually wrapped and packaged in a cardboard coffin, and wait 10 minutes before drinking anything — as part of Big Dude Approved, a series of videos they produce and post online.

In recent months, Boykin and Roehler started “flipping pallets,” buying pallets of liquidated products and selling and giving away the things they unpack. They started doing live videos as they unboxed their shipments, which sometimes included snacks that they’d try. One thing led to another, and they ended up with the Paqui death chips.

And though it was a rough 10 minutes, they survived because they were prepared, Boykin said.

But over the years leading up to that chip, he’s come across things in his life that were a lot harder to survive — things maybe he wasn’t as prepared for.

A time far from God

Things like a troubled marriage. A porn addiction. A loss of a ministry job he loved. And finally — the loss of a baby. He and his wife, Emily, already had one son when she found out she was pregnant with twins. But at 5 months pregnant, the doctors only found one heartbeat.

“When that happened, I felt like we were being punished for my sins,” Boykin said.

He’d been living his life disconnected from God ever since things had started spiraling.

“I hadn’t prayed in years at that point,” he said. “I had let myself get so far away from God.”

And if he’s honest, he didn’t know how to get back. When his son, Jonah, was born healthy, Boykin was afraid he was going to lose him too, so he didn’t let himself love his son the way he wanted to. Jonah was six months old before Boykin let himself believe God wouldn’t take him away.

“I was struggling with depression and felt hopeless. For a long time, I felt like it was something I was supposed to be able to fix myself and couldn’t,” he said. “I finally came to a point of forgiveness. I went from a point of feeling like I was completely lost and broken to feeling like I’d been healed.”

Boykin’s wife’s aunt invited him to sing in her church’s Christmas cantata, and that opened the door for him to start attending church again. Over time, he stopped being afraid of people asking him what had happened in his past and started allowing God to use that as part of his testimony.

“I enjoy sharing my story with people now,” he said. “I want people to know that He does restore, He does bring back.”

Finding his way back

In Boykin’s life, God restored even more than His and Boykin’s relationship — He restored Boykin’s old job too. In 2019, he and his family moved back to serve at the Vineyard Christian Retreat, Camp, and Conference Center of Coffee Baptist Association. His wife also serves as the association’s ministry assistant.

“We’re blown away, to be honest,” Boykin said.

John Granger, director of missions for Coffee Baptist Association, said Boykin left a job where he was making three times as much money to come back to the camp because he felt like it was what God was calling him to do.

‘Heart for … the gospel’

He said Boykin has “a heart for people and the gospel.”

“I have known Brad since he was an early teenager,” Granger said, noting that Boykin went on associational youth missions trips. “I value his partnership in the Lord’s work here in Coffee County. He is gifted with being able to do many practical things, and he has really good insight into how to share God’s Word to meet needs.”

Boykin leads missions trips and is a key leader in the associational children’s camp and in his church, the Church on Boll Weevil Circle, Enterprise. Not only that, Boykin is a regular participant in the theological classes Granger provides for bivocational pastors.

“He is more help to me than I can express,” Granger said.