Carl B: How do you define your journey from your self-titled debut, “Marvin Sapp,” through your latest release?
Pastor Marvin Sapp: Total and complete maturity. At least 12 years ago when we did our first solo project, I was kind of trying to find myself. Just really, really more or less experimenting with different aspects and style just to see where I fit. And now at 40, I kind of know who I am, and what God has called me to do, and I just try to make things in that area.
Carl B: You work with Aaron Lindsey and Myron Butler on this project. What was the working relationship like with those great artists?
Marvin Sapp: Well, those guys are just awesome. I mean, Aaron is probably one of the most prolific producers, and Myron, of course, a phenomenal producer, song writer and artist. It was just great working with them. They brought to the table everything that I needed in order to be successful, and I attribute the success of this project really to their gifted talents, along with mine, and just being a wonderful chord mixed together to produce a wonderful sound.
Carl B: I had the privilege of being at the live recording, and what amazed me was that the facility you used was humongous and yet you had the ability to turn it into an intimate worship setting. How were you able to pull that off?
Marvin Sapp: We just walked into it and when we got there, we just made a conscious decision that we were going to really try to invite the people of God to come in and to worship. I mean it is a 4000-seater with about 3000 people in there, and we all just came in and as a group of believers, we just decided to love on God. Everybody came in with the same spirit focus and goal of worshipping God.
Carl B: You have always stated that you are a preacher who sings, and a singer that preaches, how do you keep the two roles separate?
Marvin Sapp: Well, you know what, the musical component enhances my preach work in the industry. A lot of people that do not know Marvin Sapp the preacher, they do know Marvin Sapp the singer and because they know Marvin Sapp the singer, it really opens up doors where the preacher will get the opportunity to come. And usually, it is when the preacher comes, they stop inviting the singer. But I try to keep them not separate, but each of them have their own distinct office, but they function together and I think that is the best way to phrase it. I always tell people, ‘I am not a singer that happens to preach, but a preacher that has to sing,’ because singing is a gift and preaching is a calling. Now I have learned that if you are to be successful in your call, you have to be tapped in to the source, and I just think that is the key thing. I think the musical component enhances my preach work in the industry, but my passion is preaching and my gifting is with it.
Carl B: How has it affected you musically? I know that you are working on Sunday morning. You do not travel as much as you used to. How is your passion at what you do musically now?
Marvin Sapp: Well, I still travel at times, believe it or not. I am just a little more structured in my travel schedule. I am usually gone on Wednesday and Thursday until Friday. Some Saturdays depending on the distance if I can get back on Sunday morning or not and I am home every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. So, we pastor two churches of course, the Lighthouse [Full Life Center] and the church at Battle Creek so we do like two services in Grand Rapids and the service in Battle Creek every Sunday. I think that the key thing is I think it has taught me sensitivity. Pastoring can be difficult if you lose focus, and I think what has helped me is that after having to carry the rod and staff, it has taught me great sensitivity musically to understand what the sheep needs, what they need to hear, and what they do not need to hear.
Carl B: Last question, what dreams does Marvin Sapp have for his ministry and for his music?
Marvin Sapp: Man! Musically, I think my major dream would be, just like any other artist who wants to sell millions of records, to impact lives and to change lives. When it comes to ministry, I mean, we are doing what I dream. The Bible says to arrive at the right decision, you make a claim that goes with the dream and run with it. And God has blessed us with the people and that happens, so we really have to have the passion to do great things in the kingdom of God. Right now, we just finished negotiations with the Catholic diocese of West Michigan, and we are purchasing their property, which is a 17-acre piece of land in the City of Grand Rapids that has over a hundred and fifty thousand square foot of building space. In March of 2008, if everything goes right, we will close on that property and move our entire operation on to that property which will be called Kingdom Square. So I mean, we are doing what I believe God has called us to do as a Church, as a pastorial gift, and that is to impact not just our city, but our region also, in the name of Jesus Christ. And not only that, but we are impacting the world through our music, so I believe the best is indeed yet to come.
Carl B: Well, Pastor Sapp, thank you so much for your time. I know that you are busy, but we do thank you for taking the time out to talk to us.