by Teresa Lockhart
Marvin Sapp is fine now, but that wasnt the case when he recorded
his live sophomore album, Grace and Mercy. He was battling a 103.5 degree temperature and
chose not to heed the advice of his doctor, who suggested he postpone the concert. But the
project has done remarkably wellpicking up several award nominations and rising to
the top of the gospel chart.
Which is funny, when you discover he initially wasnt all that
happy with it, "At first I was extremely upset," Sapp explains during a
telephone interview from his home state of Michigan. "I wasnt at my best. We
had to leave the album exactly as it was, with no opportunity to re-dub anything. But,
because of the success the album has had, Ive learned its not about me being
at my best. Its about giving my all to God and allowing Him to use it to His glory.
Its not about my abilityits about my availability."
The follow-up video, Grace and Mercy: Live in Concert, like the album, covers
both traditional and contemporary gospel with a strong, funky rhythm section and choral
vocal arrangements. Unlike with the album, the video went pretty well. "I felt really
good the night of this concert," he says. "I enjoy performing live, and (the
recording of this video) gave me the opportunity to do what I really loveto be on
stage and to minister musically."
Also a minister and evangelist, Sapp heads Joy Ministries, based in his
hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. Joy Ministries, responsible for Sapps booking and
management, is also actively involved in community outreach. It has adopted families
during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, has bought and distributed school supplies
for disadvantaged children, and sponsored several scholarships over the last seven or
eight years. "As the Lord blesses and gives to us through our travels, preaching and
singing," he says, "we take and give back to the communities."
Reprinted by Permission, Profile Magazine, Dec98/Jan99 Issue.