Today, October 13th, is the 16th Anniversary of Lighthouse Full Life Center, and it is marked with two momentous announcements.
Bishop Marvin L. Sapp has appointed Rory Marshall as the new Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center. Additionally, Bishop Sapp was in Grand Rapids to lead the church in the burning of its mortgage, leaving Marshall with a debt free ministry that will allow him to focus on preaching, teaching and outreach in true Lighthouse tradition.
Marshall will relocate from Chicago, where he was Staff Pastor at The Powerhouse Chicago under the leadership of Archbishop William Hudson III. Marshall is also an award-winning educator who, for the past two years, taught English at North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago.
This appointment comes after a detailed review of potential leaders that was undertaken by a search committee along with the executive board of Lighthouse, which Sapp chairs. Marshall assumes this role by a unanimous vote.
“It would have been easy for me to select a pastor unilaterally, but after prayer and contemplation I decided to put together a group of individuals who I trusted to help me make the best decision. I wanted to be sure to have a consensus from those who represent the congregation that the new pastor would serve. I gave the committee a list of people I felt they should look at, then the committee interviewed them and, by point system, narrowed the list down to three recommendations. Rory was at the top of my initial list. After meeting with the committee, he remained the top candidate.”
Sapp is managing the transition of Lighthouse Full Life Center in an organized and deliberate fashion as the church represents 16 years of his ministerial legacy. He wanted to not only select the best person to lead Lighthouse, but he wanted to give the new pastor a ministry without any excess debt. “My greatest desire is that the incoming pastor would have more assistance than MaLinda and I had when we started Lighthouse. I wanted not only a smooth executive transition, but for Lighthouse to be positioned for long-term growth and success. I am proud to hand over a debt-free church,” says Sapp.
Pastor Marshall says, “I am extremely honored and deeply humbled by the opportunity to extend the legacy of Bishop Marvin and the late Dr. MaLinda Sapp. Over the past year, I have been a guest speaker at Lighthouse a few times and I fell in love with the people there. They always felt like family, and now they will become family. I am committed to growing together, creating vibrant ministry initiatives and building new relationships so that Lighthouse remains a vital part of the Grand Rapids community.”
The appointment is somewhat of a homecoming for Marshall, who was born in Grand Rapids. His father, Rory Marshall, Sr. was a pastor in the city and one of Bishop Sapp’s early mentors. The family moved to Chicago when Rory Jr. was 12.
“I wanted to have somebody at Lighthouse who I felt had the same passion and drive as I have for ministry. I’ve known Rory his entire life and I know that he has a passion for ministry and to do outreach and really try to impact the community around us. Lighthouse has always been known for doing things that impact the community, so I wanted to make sure that we found someone with the ability to teach and preach, who also has a sensibility for the needs of the community around them. Lighthouse has never been just a local church. We have always been called to reach the entire West Michigan Region. Rory has the passion and the capabilities to continue the work of Lighthouse, and take the ministry to the next level.
“I’m excited for Lighthouse and I am excited for Pastor Marshall. He has a great group of people that are going to love him and support him and his family. They are going to do great ministry in this city,” says Sapp.
Marvin Sapp was Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center until September of 2019, when he became Senior Pastor of Chosen Vessel Cathedral in Fort Worth, Texas. While Sapp remains as Chairman of the Board at Lighthouse, Rory Marshall, Jr. is the incoming Senior Pastor.