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Bishop Marvin Sapp opens up about ministry
and remarrying


By Derrel Johnson, rollingout.com

  A multiple GRAMMY nominated, 22-time Stellar Award-winning gospel superstar, songwriter, producer, and pastor, Bishop Marvin Sapp leads a thriving ministry - the Michigan-based Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, with two locations serving Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
  Sapp also leads Metropolitan Bishop within the Global United Fellowship where he oversees more than 100 churches in 19 states. Days before the release of his current album, "Close," Sapp discussed the loss of his wife, MaLinda Sapp, moving forward, and raising three kids as a single father in this revealing interview.

The Faith
What is your leadership style as a bishop?

  I try to empower people. That's my goal. I'm what you would call a metropolitan bishop over a central deanery of Global United Fellowship. And central denary of Global United Fellowship is like 19 states in the central part of the United States so I have under my purview, 148 or 149 churches that I cover.
  But the blessing is that I have three bishops under me, provincial bishops, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of what Global United Fellowship is all about. It's a fellowship of about 900 churches in 22 countries and the fellowship is only around four years old so it's fairly new.
  So my leadership style, thanks be to God, is I really just need to stay on top of the three bishops that I have and I've been blessed to have three great guys that I have the opportunity to work with and they really more or less make my life pretty much easy as it pertains to that responsibility as an Episcopal leader.
  Do I have to come down on them? No, because they are excellent leaders in themselves and they keep me posted and abreast of everything that's going on as it pertains with the central deanery so I've been blessed with an easy going position where I don't have to do a whole lot because I have great support.

How do you balance your ministerial obligations with being a recording artist?

  I don't balance it. I prioritize. When you really understand your assignment, you keep everything in proper order. Before I'm anything else, I'm a father. That's my first ministry. And then after being a father, I'm a pastor. Because I pastor two churches, one in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and one in Muskegon, Michigan. And then after that, I'm a recording artist. And then after that, I'm an entrepreneur. I try to keep everything in proper order.
  When I prioritize stuff in a proper way, it really makes it easier, for the sake of a better word, to accomplish the goal of taking care of all of the responsibilities that are in my hands. Having quality staff, I don't have staff for my kids of course, I am the staff for them, but when it comes to the other things that I need to do, you just got to have good people around you that you trust to be able to execute your thoughts, your concepts, your plans, and then you got to hold them to task.
  You got to make sure that what you release them to do that they do it. I've always been pretty good at remembering things, conversations, and then I also do something that most men don't do, I journal my conversations and thoughts and stuff like that, so if I ever need to recall it, I can always recall the conversation, and bring it up. You've got to be able to hold people to task. That's the key thing.

The Family
Since the untimely death of your wife,
Dr. MaLinda Sapp, what have you learned
in terms of love?

  Since the passing of my wife, one of the things that I've learned to love is the importance of family and the family unit. You know when she passed away, I really began to really just focus on my children and try to make sure that they were the very best that they could possibly be as individuals. And, then try to raise them up to be productive young people and productive citizens to society.
  I learned how to love the whole concept of family, and what the family unit was all about. I think too, I kind of learned how to love myself and appreciate who I was as an individual. It really teaches you how to really value life in general because life is so short. You know the bible says it's but a vapor. It taught me how to appreciate every moment and how not to, for the sake of a better word, how not to be angry and bitter about things not going the way you planned for it to go, but to embrace it, and just live through it.

What do you miss most about her?

  I think one of the things that I miss the most is every morning she would get up and she would say the words, "keep it moving!" Every morning she would get up while the kids were running around the house, they might've been dragging around and she'd be like (imitating her voice) "keep it moving children, keep it moving!" Just trying to make sure that we as individuals understood the urgency of the moment. I miss her saying that.
  I also miss her saying that excellence is the standard, not the goal. She always instilled those words in us to understand that in a pursuance of trying to be the very best that we are trying to be, that we need to make sure that we're focusing on excellence because it is the overall standard, not just the goal. She always instilled those words in us to understand that in a pursuance of trying to be the very best that we are trying to be, that we need to make sure that we're focusing on excellence because it's not the standard it's the goal. It's what we should be pursuing the most.
  There are a lot of things that she used to say all the time. One of the things she used to say all the time, she used to call everybody beautiful. Every woman was beautiful, and every man was a man of God. No matter how ugly they were, or messed up their lives were, every man was a man of God. She always saw individuals not for what they were but for what God had created them to be and to become.
  So there's a whole lot of things that I miss about things that my wife said and now I find myself saying it, call everybody a man of god, call every woman beautiful you know because it doesn't matter how ugly their actions may be or how ugly they may be in personal eyes as pertaining to the things they do, God has created and formed them in a beautiful way.

The Future
Would you ever remarry?

  Absolutely. I'm at a place now where I'm ready to consider moving forward. My kids are grown. My kids are 23, 20 and 18. None of them live in the house. All of them are in college and that was really my focus and my goal was to raise my children and give them all of my attention. During the process, I obviously dated, but some, most, or all, did not understand why I would not commit and move to that place of trying to be married. They needed their Dad and they needed their Dad's undivided attention.
  So I made a decision to make that sacrifice to be their everything because I knew that if I was their everything that once I got them to a place where they were mature enough to be able to move on with their lives and to succeed in every area, I would have time to be able to find life and find love again. I don't want to be alone.
  I am a better married man than I am a single man. I was married my whole adult life. I was with my wife from 23 to 43. The single life in this world is very different. Very, very, very different. I'll find a boo one day.

See Marvin Sapp's official lyric video of "Close" - Click Here

The Music
What is the story behind the title
of the album?

  Well, the story behind the CD "Close" is, in life, all of us go through major challenges. Ups, downs, circumstances that are beyond our control. And many times, as believers we tend to get frustrated. And even as unbelievers we tend to get frustrated and begin to think that God doesn't care, he doesn't see, he doesn't understand. But what I began to realize is that the more that we are afflicted, that means the closer we are to what God said we're supposed to have. And the reason why that is, is because the enemy's goal is really to just get us to be frustrated to the point where we just forfeit the promise of God for our lives.
  So the whole gist of Close is just to let people know just because you're under attack it [doesn't] mean that you're at a distance. That literally means that you're within arm's reach of what God said you're supposed to have.'

Do you have a favorite single on this album? If so, which one and why?

  My favorite song on the album is called "Carried Me." The reason I like "Carried Me" is because it speaks to the grace of God. How the only reason we were able to make it through all of the circumstances, situations, challenges, lassitudes of life is because God was there all the time carrying us through these situations by his grace. I think that to me is, without question, my favorite song on the CD but there's a lot of great material on there that I think so many people are going to be blessed by. But "Carried Me" is like one of my favorites. It's like one of my favorites to sing too.

Tell us about the collaborations.

  This record we got a few. Actually, just like one real collaboration. That's with Erica Campbell, and, you know this young rapper on the record [Izze Williams] "You and Me Together," which was written by myself, Rodney Jerkins and Aaron Lindsey. We came together and we did something really, really amazing as it pertains to keeping it funky and churchy all at the same time.
  Then there was another song on the record that was produced and written by R. Kelly. The song is called "Listen." And the message of that song is just an amazing message, which it challenges us really to look at our circumstances, pay attention to the challenges that we face. And when we look and pay attention to the challenges that we face, if we really pay attention we'll see that God is really trying to speak to us through our situations. We may not hear his voice audibly, but we do hear his voice if we pay attention to what we face. So, you know I've had the opportunity to work with some great people.
  I got Kirk Franklin on there. He produced an amazing song on there called "Kind God." So I mean this record I believe is a wonderful collage of different textures and different moments, but I didn't leave my base.

The Family
How is life as a single father?

  Life as a single father, it was challenging because that was not the plan for my life. My plan was to be with a woman that I had planned on spending the rest of my life with and raising our children together and then after they became young adults just going off into the sunset and it just being us two.
  But now I'm an empty nester, and all of my kids are gone. And I'm trying to figure life out now because I really have the opportunity now to be able to find Marvin and find out what I like again! So it's been a challenge, but it's not a challenge that I'm not up for. It's a challenge that I'm excited about embracing and preferably moving forward in.

What's your secret to spending time
with loved ones?

  My secret to spending time with loved ones is understanding that it's not about the quantity of time, but it's about the quality of time. Quality means everything to me. I could spend five minutes with you and if it's five minutes where I'm enjoying and we're laughing and we're smiling and we're having a good time, it's great. Then I could spend an hour with you and it may be miserable and I'll be like "I can't do this!"
  Because my life is so busy, I value moments. Moments mean a lot to me. I don't believe in wasted moments. I just believe that every moment is a learning process so I might spend some moments with you that you may think is wasted but the reality is I was learning some lessons while I was sitting here talking to you and maybe one of those lessons is I don't need to spend as much time with you as I had been. My thing is quality time, because I don't have a whole lot of quantity.

Leisure
What do you do to unplug?

  I have the strangest hobby and I got introduced to this hobby four years ago. When I want to unplug, I go to the shooting range, believe it or not. I go to the shooting range every Monday. I'll go shoot 100 to 200 rounds from one of my many tools that I have at the crib. But that's my passion. I enjoy going to the gun range. It's a wonderful release for me. And then I collect ink pens. I collect fine writing instruments and things of that nature.
  I'm not your normal African American brother. I go out and do the thing that I really enjoy. Some people golf, which I do that, some people play basketball, which I do that, some people play football, I don't do that no more. I'm too old for that, but I do enjoy going to the gun range and having fun there.

Who are you listening to right now?

  I'm an old-school guy, man. I listen to people like Peabo Bryson. Today I was listening to the old Winans, you know back in the days. My son just recently introduced me to this young man [Daniel Caesar]. He has a song called "Blessed" and it's a wonderful ballad. And it's a love song where he says, "yes I'm a mess but I'm blessed to be stuck with you." And I'm like man, it's kind of been on repeat on my cell phone. And you know I said one day this is going to be a great song to sing at a wedding.

~ from rollingout.com  ~

 

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MARVIN SAPP
"Close"
(from Close)



Includes the hits "Close" and "Listen."

MARVIN SAPP
(You Shall Live)



Veteran gospel great Marvin Sapp's first studio recording in a decade and first full length album in four years and his fourth consecutive #1 album. You Shall Live is the perfect blend of God-given talent and powerful testimony, showcasing Marvin's explosive voice on a selection of timeless favorites and original songs, including "Yes You Can," "Live," "Count On You," and more.

MARVIN SAPP
(Here I Am)
Deluxe Edition


Marvin Sapp
(I Win)
Deluxe Edition


Marvin Sapp
(Thirsty)


Marvin Sapp
(Be Exalted)


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