In the face of adversity, a man truly defines himself. Pastor and gospel music legend Marvin Sapp did just that when his wife of 15 years, MaLinda Sapp, Ph.D., lost her battle with colon cancer in September 2010. With unwavering faith, Sapp weathered the storm while guiding his children into brighter days. “I understand now that God trusts me enough to give me three kids—Marvin Jr., Mikaila and Madisson—who totally depend on me.  They know I’m going to be there for them no matter what,” says Sapp. “Some men don’t have the opportunity to be the type of father they need to be, and I hope my example teaches them to step up.”

A man of great faith and unlimited possibilities, Sapp not only wants the same for his own kids, but for all God’s children. “I’m trying hard to make sure I leave behind something that my kids can be proud of and run with it. The Bible tells us that we’re supposed to leave an inheritance for children. That’s why I’m opening an arts-based school next fall in Grand Rapids, Mich., called the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology. I want these kids to know that they’re being groomed for bigger and better things.” 

Fatherhood, says Sapp, isn’t just a biological right for men, but a calling to endlessly serve.