Sapp will maintain his position as pastor in his local church, which meets for worship at its sanctuary at 2415 Madison Ave. SE. It also has a campus at 600 Burton St. SE. With his new bishop designation, Sapp has spiritual oversight of GUF’s North Central Province, which includes 70 pastors and churches in Michigan and eight other states.
Other local GUF-affiliated groups are Royal Priesthood Ministries Full Life Center and Central Bible Ministries, both in Grand Rapids.
Sapp serves under the international fellowship’s Presiding Bishop Neil C. Ellis, who led Friday’s service in which several candidates were conferred with the title.
“This is without question one of the greatest honors for anyone who understands the order of God as pertains to the church,” Sapp said.
More than three dozen members of Lighthouse Church traveled to Jacksonville for the occasion, including all three of Sapp’s children. Several of his extended family members were also there.
The new bishop said GUF has administrative support to help him in his additional duties. He added that his recording and performing career will not be diminished by his new church role.
“This will be an opportunity for people to see me in a different light,” said Sapp, whose new album “You Shall Live” is No. 2 on the most recent Billboard.com gospel sales chart. The song “Yes You Can” also ranks No. 2 among gospel radio singles.
“I believe this is a great time for me to be able to do what I’m doing,” he noted of his busy calendar. “My kids are growing older and are gone more.”
Marvin II and MiKaila will be away at college this fall. Madisson begins her junior year of high school. Sapp’s wife and mother of their children, MaLinda Prince Sapp, died of cancer in 2010.
“It’s not about juggling or balancing, it’s all about prioritizing – that’s what we’ve always done,” said Bishop Sapp of his various involvements. “Children first, church second, music third and everything else after that.
“This is a new season and a new day for me, and I believe that greater things are in the future.”