GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Bishop Marvin Sapp, a Grand Rapids native with a major influence on gospel music, will return home to celebrate what has become a beacon of light in West Michigan.
He and his late wife, MaLinda Prince Sapp, founded Lighthouse Full Life Center in Grand Rapids 20 years ago this week.
Bishop Sapp’s successor, Senior Pastor RJ Marshall, said he pledges to continue what they started.
“Life gets better at ‘The Light,'” said Marshall. “I just want to continue serving God’s people.”
Marshall said he and his wife, Kristan, along with the rest of their church family, have been worshiping and celebrating Lighthouse’s legacy all week. He says he’s been excited to see old faces and meet new ones.
“This is our homecoming, so the goal behind it was that people, who were behind this ministry at one point or another, would just come home and celebrate 20 years of ministry,” said Marshall.
Emmarene Smith has been at Lighthouse from the very beginning.
She’s known the founders since third grade and said she watched them host services in two other Grand Rapids locations before its current one became the permanent spot.
“I have cleaned the bathrooms here, I have greeted here,” said Emmarene Smith, a board member at Lighthouse Full Life Center. “I just count it a privilege to serve God, so I’m sticking and I’m staying.”
Marshall is on the same page. As he looks forward to the church’s next milestone, he’s reminded of what makes Lighthouse shine.
“I believe our church was started on faith, and I believe we are continuing in faith,” said Marshall.