He got through the sermon fine, and that only motivated him to move forward with his decision to preach.
He began to feel God’s calling in November 2010.
“I was scared to death when He first called me to preach,” said Rev. Staggs. “I wanted to make sure it was God. I had to have a peace about it.”
It didn’t take him long to find that peace.
“I’m the most spiritually fulfilled that I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “You get to involve yourself in the lives of others as a preacher. You care for them, love them, share their joys and their ups and downs. I’m the pastor, and their needs are greater than mine. I’m there to serve the Lord and them.”
Rev. Staggs traveled quite a bit as a child. His father was in the Army, and he often carried his family with him.
While his father served in Vietnam, Rev. Staggs, his mother and brother lived in Jacksonville, his mother’s hometown. He remembers at the age of 9 attending West Side Baptist Church and being involved in the activities there. No matter where they were, his mother kept the family in church.
“She taught me about Jesus as a child,” said Rev. Staggs. “I’ve got a wonderful mother.”
He said he found another wonderful woman in his wife, the former Debra DuHon. They’ve been married 30 years. They dated four years prior to marrying.
Rev. Staggs remembers the day in March 1979 he walked into Piggly Wiggly where Debra was working.
“She took a chance on cashing an out of town check for me,” he said. “She was beautiful. She had long brown hair, big brown eyes and a beautiful smile. She’s been a blessing to my life and ministry.”
On their first date, he remembers eating at Long John Silver’s in Anniston, going to the mall and seeing a Clint Eastwood movie, ‘Every Which Way But Loose.’ My heart’s for the Lord first, my wife, then my church and my job. Those are the areas I feel like I’m most needed.”
Rev. Staggs has worked at Parker-Hannifin Corp., 32 years where he is an assembly specialist. “I thank God for my job,” he said. “I’m grateful to have it. I love all my friends at work. I’ve been there so long, it’s like family.”
He has 32 vacation days as well as personal days and holidays. Rather than vacation, he and Debra choose to stay home and work with their church, which is now Roberts Chapel Baptist on Alabama 21 North, just off Alabama 21 on Maxwellborn Road. In the short time he has served as pastor at Roberts Chapel, eight people have joined the church and there have been three baptisms.
His first day at Roberts Chapel was Palm Sunday this year. At that time he was chairman of deacons at Hatcher Avenue.
Rev. Staggs was born in Huntsville. He is the son of Helen Patterson Staggs and the late Leon Staggs. His brother, Bill, lives in Glencoe.
Growing up, Rev. Staggs and his brother spent a lot of time at their grandparents’ home on Patterson Lake Road. It was at their home near the lake that he and Debra were married. His grandmother, Gladys Patterson, is 102 and resides in Piedmont Healthcare Center. His grandfather, O. B. is deceased.
Rev. Staggs and Debra have lived in Pleasant Valley near Jacksonville for 19 years. He began shooting a .22 caliber target rifle when he was a teenager. That was the beginning of a lifetime love of guns for him.
“Over the years, I’ve had various hand guns and rifles,” he sad. “I think my mom steered me toward that as a teenager. She thought I might be interested in it. I didn’t grow up around hunting and fishing, especially since my dad died when I was 14.”
He’s not the only one who likes guns in his family.
“Debra also likes to shoot,” he said. “She’s a better shot than I am. I bought her a 410 pump shotgun. Recently, my mother saw a copperhead and called Debra. She said, ‘Annie Oakley, get down here with your shotgun.’ She shot it and killed it.”
Something else the reverend likes is eating. He gets teased a lot for it.
“My nickname was Buffet Bob for a long time,” he said. “Some friends from work and I went to Roma’s one morning for breakfast. They were taking bids on my meal. I think my bill was lose to $18. I don’t eat as much as I used to though.”
Several years ago he lost 60 pounds but gained 20 of it back.
“I wanted to do it for health reasons,” he said. “I was 46. I didn’t want to be big the rest of my life. It was easy to lose it, but it’s hard to keep it off.”
Rev. Staggs said that pastoring Roberts Chapel sometimes doesn’t seem real.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m the pastor there,” he said. “It’s overwhelming that people will put their trust and confidence in you to lead them. It’s very humbling. I thank God for sending me there because I would have never have known the wonderful people there. My life has been richly blessed because of that.”
Rev. Staggs said his church door is always open to anyone who would like to visit.
Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.