Archived Story

Staples expands on his brand of encouragement

Published 5:33pm Sunday, April 8, 2012

“God brought me” to Dowagiac, Pastor Eugene C. Staples Sr. of Second Baptist Church says. “I was contacted by this church, so some pastors and community leaders knew of the work we were doing in South Bend. I’m here long-term. I’m in Dowagiac because there is a need.”
“I wasn’t looking for this,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about Dowagiac. I didn’t know anything about Dowagiac until I got this call.”
He has preached all over the country and in Africa and hosted a TV show.
Gene is beyond jitters, but “when I came here my stomach was bubbling I was so nervous. They wanted me to come back again, and my hands were shaking.”
Staples’ vision for Dowagiac is to “encourage those in the community who have been neglected or not been introduced to Christ and to partner with this city to make this community a better place. I have a list of people I’m going to meet with to learn what the issues are and what Second Baptist can do to be part of the solution. To be not only a place of refuge, but encouragement, and to educate people to live better lives — not only with God’s Word, but to equip them with things they can apply to help others so it becomes a revolving door. Financially, how can we make it when we don’t have all that much?
“By streamlining our lives so we don’t want as much and are comfortable with what we have. Let me say, the same issues exist here as in South Bend, which I didn’t think wouldn’t.
“One issue we don’t have in South Bend is meth is not the drug of choice. Our spiritual response also has to address social issues. We have to find a way to merge those two, so people at Second Baptist can live out their faith in ways that penetrate our community in positive ways. I met with someone 66 who never had a one-on-one with their pastor.”
“I am intentional about making sure I have an opportunity to be effective in the lives of the people God’s given me to serve,” he said about driving to Saginaw to meet retired 32 ½-year pastor the Rev. Henry C. Smith. “I wanted to learn how he was so successful in the community. God told him to cast his net where he was at.”
“I’m not trying to change anything,” Staples said. “This church has been here for 144 years and they’ve been successful.
“You add a little flavor, accent and polish and connect senior citizens to young people. I’m not going to interrupt Sunday morning service, but I might do one Friday night with multimedia.”

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