Bishop Marvin L. Sapp is a passionate orator and biblical teacher, who desires to be a living epistle glorifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ both in word and in deed who serves as the senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church as well as Bishop over Global United Fellowship North Central Providence. Many say his voice is instantly recognizable with a characteristically raspy ringing with power and authority as he masterfully illustrates with excellence the Word of God. Not only is his delivery exemplary, but his knowledge of the historical text brings to life the message of hope and healing.
“Not a singer that happens to preach, but a Preacher called by God who is gifted to sing”
Singing since age four he has shared the stage with many gospel notables and his gift is celebrated across musical genres. He began singing with the gospel group Commissioned in 1990. In 1996, God led him to go solo. He released his first CD “Marvin Sapp”, then Grace and Mercy”, then his CDs were as follows: “Nothing Else Matters”, “I Believe”, “Diary Of A Psalmist”, “Be Exalted”, “Thirsty”, “Here I Am”, “I Win” and in 2013 he released his Christmas Card CD that featured his three children. The backdrop for the CD “I Win” came from him mitigating the pain of the loss of his wife through conversations with God. The title “Here I Am” for gospel star Marvin Sapp is more than a little ironic when one considers that, “Never Would Have Made It” from his 2007 release “Thirsty” has been among the most ubiquitous gospel and R&B songs. According to Billboard, Marvin Sapp single “Best In Me” matched the 2008 peak of his seminal “Never Would Have Made It.” The mega-selling “Never Would Have Made It” held the #1 slot on Gospel and R&B radio for over a full year; topped the Urban AC chart (the first to do so since Yolanda Adams’ “Open My Heart”) and has the top selling ringtone and ring back (2 million sales), and propelled “Thirsty” to the top of the gospel charts for 28 weeks. But for the 10-time Grammy Award nominee and celebrated pastor, Marvin Sapp, being dragged to the depths of his grief and drowning was never an option. Following the loss of his beloved wife of 18 years to cancer, preceded by the untimely deaths of his biological father, spiritual father, and musical mentor; Sapp still had three children (Marvin II, MiKaila, and Madisson) to raise, an influential church to run, entrepreneurial ventures and a thriving musical career to maintain. He poured his swirling emotions into his craft, crediting the cathartic creative process with the release of his stunning revelatory decree You Shall Live. You Shall Live, featuring the hit radio single Yes You Can, was released on June 2, 2015.
He has enjoyed a decorated music career receiving 10 Grammy nominations, 22 Stellar Awards, 2 Soul Train Music Awards, 2 BET Awards, 2 Dove Awards, and 8 BMI songwriter’s awards for sales along with many other accolades and honors from national, regional, and local institutions.
“Not Complacent, yet pressing towards the mark”
Bishop Sapp has been honored and recognized for his professional and philanthropic efforts in his home city, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received the city’s highest African American honor, a Giants Award, as well as the Frederick Douglas Award from the National Association of Negro and Professional Women’s Club. He is an established author of six books and the sixth one is titled “Selfless” which was released September 2014. In this book, he discusses what it means to live selflessly with your partner along with practical ways of doing so. In summer of 2015, he will release his seventh book entitled “#The Boaz Project”. He is also an entrepreneur illustrating success in various areas of business.
Bishop Sapp is also the President/Founder of Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology (GREAAT). The first performing arts and technology charter school in West Michigan (Pre-K to 12th grade), which began in the fall of 2012 enrolling 6th – 8th grade students. GREAAT is now Pre-K to 10th grade consisting of over 500 students. GREAAT strives to cultivate academic excellence in children by inspiring their minds and imagination through the arts.
A life changing day took place in the summer of 2003, as a small group of people gather in a unplanned manner, to ponder over where God was leading them for that particular juncture in their spiritual journey. Some stayed, others dropped out and shortly there after a few more joined the group which over time evolved into 24 individuals. These individuals became the foundation of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church and the group was later named “Little Rock 24” by our pastor. One thing was certain for this group- God had provided a “Joshua” for this journey in Bishop Marvin L. Sapp. Through much prayer, awesome teaching, sound spiritual instruction and yes, many tears, we all started on that spiritual journey with “One Voice and One Vision”.
None of the members fully understood at that point the scope of the vision and passion for ministry and community outreach which had been placed in Pastor Sapp’s heart as he assumed the role as our spiritual leader.
The first service in 2003 on October 19 was held at Praise Place Multi Purpose Ministry Center. This service was standing room only as Bishop Marvin L. Sapp delivered his first sermon as the newly installed and consecrated Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church.
A strategic five year plan was unveiled by Pastor Marvin predicting that the ministry would worship at the Praise Place facilities for at least a year or 100 members whichever came first. Needless to say, the initial group of 24 quickly multiplied and with a growing children’s ministry that took a very comprehensive look at the bible, the ministry, Bishop Marvin was quickly forced to consider other options as space had already become a problem.
Within the first 30 days the ministry was offered an opportunity to take over a local church. After much prayer and deliberation the initial membership decided this would be in the best interest of the ministry. Led by Bishop Marvin, the group strategically made efforts to secure and restore the new Lighthouse Full Life Center Church facility.
Two Service Times in 2004 accommodated the growing membership at the new Lighthouse Full Life Center Madison facility. More than 800 members attended services on Sundays and the growing children’s ministry included, Faith Central for college and young adults; Youth In Action, ages 15-17; MVP, ages 12-14; All Stars, boys age 8-11; Princesses girls ages 8-11; Children of the Light, ages 4-7 and Noah’s Ark for our infants up to age three.
Lighthouse: Battle Creek in 2006
Celebrated with an open house. High praise unto the Lord, as this will also go down in history to celebrate our second location and as the first day Bishop Marvin L. Sapp open the doors of the Lighthouse Battle Creek church for membership under Pastor Eric Tolbert.
Lighthouse: Kingdom Square in 2008 is the realization of Pastor Marvin’s goal for One Voice, One Vision. Kingdom Square, a nearly 17 acre campus, is home to more than 1,500 active members. Lighthouse focus on a Five Fold Ministry of excellence using the Full Life Approach. The Full Life Approach is designed to focus on the whole man, considering their physical and mental health, financial and educational needs and spiritual growth and development. Kingdom Square also houses Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology, Kingdom Sports Alliance, Selah Records and Books, Relativity, King’s Court, and Rhema Bible Institute. The Campus of Kingdom Square expands the capacity for Bishop Marvin and MaLinda Sapp to offer members one Morning Glory worship service and a multitude of church sponsored events at one location.
We continually see the favor of God and labor of our Pastors, Marvin and MaLinda Sapp, grow a community of believers from 24 people worshipping in a restaurant/church known as Praise Place to now hundreds at a new place called Kingdom Square. And we can see, prophetically, how our “praise” has brought us to the “kingdom”.