Winans, Marvin L. 1958–

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Marvin L. Winans 1958

Musician, Pentecostal preacher

Raised in Holiness

Established Perfecting Church

Consumed by Zeal for Gods House

Honored by Many for His Music

Selected discography


Marvin was born the youngest of twins and the fourth of David and Delores Winans ten children, many of whom share his dual career in music and preaching. His musical genius became evident at age four, when he and his brothers sang at their churchs national convention. Ever since that first selection, Marvin Winans music ministry has engaged thousands of people from around the world and across the generations. As both a lyricist and composer, his songs have touched the souls of a searching generation, and have earned him many awards from his peers in the music industry.

His gift for preaching became evident early on, at age 18, when he preached his first sermon. Since 1976, he has been preaching through music and singing the gospel. This twin focus of his ministry has developed over the last three decades to make Marvin Winans a major force for the gospel--on stage and in the pulpit.

Raised in Holiness

Since birth, Marvin was raised in holiness in a large family headed by a long line of preachers and devout parents. Growing up in Detroit, we as brothers were taught the importance of family by our parents [who, by the way, were teenagers when they married]. Having been thrust into the duties of adulthood at such an early age meant that sacrifices had to be made. As we look back over our shoulders in retrospect, we realize that we were poor, if you measure wealth by material acquisition, but rich if you measure it by love. We were also taught the importance of God, good work ethics and education.

The home church that helped raised him, Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ was founded by his great grandfather, the late I. W. Winans. Marvin remembers two significant life-changing events associated with growing up. In February of 1970, during a 150-day revival conducted by Mother Estella Boyd (at Gospel Revelation Church of God in Christ) he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. After acknowledging a definitive call to ministry, he preached his first sermon at Shalom Temple on December 18, 1976.

At a Glance

Born Marvin L. Winans on March 5, 1958, in Detroit, Ml; son of David and Delores Winans; the youngest of twins and the fourth of David and Delores ten children; father of three sons, Mario, Marvin Jr., and Josiah.

Career: Producer, lyricist, composer, and recording artist, 1976-; pastor, Perfecting Church, established in the Detroit area, 1989; currently serving as President of the School Board for the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts.

Selected awards: Gospel Music Associations Dove Seal threetimes for Best Contemporary Gospel Group, 1986-88, and once for Best Contemporary Gospel Single, 1990; the Grammy Award four times for Best Soul Gospel Performance, 1985-88, and once for Best Soul Gospel Album (All Out, 1993); the Stellar Award for Best Gospel Group, on eight occasions, 1986-90.

Addresses: Office Perfecting Church, 7616 E. Nevada, Detroit, Ill 48234.

Marvin Winans has since preached wherever his Lord calls, which has taken him all around the world. Wherever Pastor Winans goes, his ministry has been accompanied by reports of healings, miracles, and changed lives. But the pastor has influenced even more people from his own pulpit at Perfecting Church, an inner-city congregation on Detroits east side. When he is not making music with his brothers and sisters somewhere around the globe, he is ministering to the flock of God which is his charge, bringing them to perfection.

Established Perfecting Church

Perfecting Church took its name and purpose from a Bible text which reads, Whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28). Perfection, in this case, isaprocessof maturing and a call to maturity. This sanctification process, involving the whole person and applicable to all people, begins the moment we come to know Jesus.

This vision of perfection was given to Marvin Winans at a formative time in his life. As he was wrestling with Gods call to the pastorate, this vision would not let him go. One day during church services at Shalom Temple--a certain vision came to him, which this preacher can recall in vivid detail, as if it were yesterday: After Mother Estella Boyd had laid hands [on me] and prayed with me, I was slain in the Spirit. I began to see people trickle toward me as water. It was at this time that the Spirit of the Lord spoke to my spirit, They are coming to you. And I responded in my spirit, No, Lord, not me.

As I continued to say no, the presence of God began to leave. As I desperately tried to hold onto the Spirit of God, and yet at the same time refuse the vision, I realized it was an impossible task. The more I said yes to God, the more the presence of God began to inundate my spirit, and as the vision continued, more people came to me. Suddenly there was a multitude of people before me of all races, and the Lord said, They are coming to you to receive.

The birth of Perfecting Church, in the basement of Winans home, was the result of obeying that vision. He founded the Perfecting Church in May of 1989 with eight members (plus a few guests). Since that humble beginning, the church has grown and increased its membership to more than 2000 members, with several choirs that Winans helps to lead.

As the pastor, Marvin Winans, oversees a diverse array of programs, including Perfecting Outreach, a treatment and rehabilitation program for alcohol abusers and drug offenders; Perfecting Care, which acts as a shelter of warmth for the homeless and helps them find housing; the Perfecting Community Developing Corporation. He is proprietor of Perfect Copies, a full service copy center which trains and employs people from the community, as well as the church. He also founded the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts, a Detroit charter school for grades K-5, which will add one new grade each year for the next seven, until it accommodates K-12.

Consumed by Zeal for Gods House

Pastor Winans has recently unleashed the power of gospel music and the oratory of preaching in a renewed fight against AIDS with a pilot program that debuted in October of 1997 at Perfecting Church. Detroit was the first of twenty cities to join the Gospel Against AIDS effort. His hope is that twenty other cities will follow, all tapping into the energy of black churches through the collaboration of activist Mary Fishers Family AIDS Network and the Winans, the First Family of Gospel Music.

Pastor Marvin Winans helped to form the Gospel Against AIDS because the leading cause of death for black men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 is AIDS. The Perfecting Church has lost members to this dreaded disease, so Pastor Winans does not hesitate to use his pulpit to preach on this taboo subject and touch people in this area of their life. The Gospel Against AIDS brings a message of hope and compassion for those who are afflicted, prevention education for those at risk, and support from congregations as well as friends and family of HIV patients. Whatever man gets into, God has an answer for, Marvin Winans told the Detroit News. There is no pit too deep. God forgives and heals.

Of his present vocation, Pastor Winans says, the thrust of my ministry is a hunger for souls. Jesus said, The zeal for mine house has eaten me up. Since becoming a pastor, I have been completely consumed with the challenge of presenting Jesus, not only to my local church, but to evangelize the world with the gospel. I would rather preach than eat, pray than sleep, and give to the ministry than receive the accolades of men. The zeal for Gods house has eaten me up.

Honored by Many for His Music

Nonetheless, accolades from men have come to Marvin L. Winans and his brothers for their gospel songs. As a group, Marvin, Carvin, Michael, and Ronald have nine releases and a showcase or two full of music awards. They are four-time winners of Gospel Music Associations Dove Seal, five-time winners of the Grammy Award, and eight-time winners of the Stellar Award. The Winans brothers have been serving up inspirational, hope-filled music for the better part of two decades. Their music typically showcases the many sides of gospel, both lyrically and musically.

The Winans brothers have spread the good news and stirred the souls of millions of fanatic gospel fans and secular R&B listeners alike. Thanks to crossover hits such as Everydays the Same, Its Time, and Aint No Need to Worry, have turned black contemporary gospel into a labor of love that has helped to underwrite many of their offstage ministries. This Grammy-winning quartet of brothers have also paved the way for their platinum-selling sibling duet, BeBe and CeCe.

The Winans brother and sister act crosses formats and styles to stretch the creative boundaries of gospel music. The Winans distill the essence of pop, rhythm & blues, country, jazz, and urban into an harmonious blend that is irresistible, enduring and unique to them. They also have been known to collaborate with other well-known artists, to produce cross-over music that appeal to secular audiences, but with a clear gospel message.

For example, pop star Stevie Wonder was featured in a solo vocal on Everydays the Same. Other pop artist that he has teamed up include Thelma Houston, Ricky Van Shelton, Laylah Hathaway, Andraé Crouch, and Anita Baker. The phenomenal success with both Christian radio and secular Urban Contemporary stations of that recording confirmed that the Winans crossover music has broad appeal.

Marvin Winans and his brothers make no apologies for being preachers as well as musicians. And preach they do. Their 1995 album, Heart and Soul, embodies rich percussion instruments with the powerful message, Please Believe in Me; on the same album theres also the encouraging words of Count It All Joy. As Marvin says of this song, If God brings you to [a place of suffering], then hell bring you through it. The albums opener, Paradise, captures the fervent desire of every soul in an ardent expression of all-out, no-holds-barred worship and adoration.

Winans notes that his life in the church can be even more rewarding than his life in on stage. Music is common to both, but because most of our parishioners are between the ages 18 and 35, what I do there is very hands-on, he explains. And what we see keeps our songs relevant to the times. We dont just sing at our church. We help, hold hands, and cry with our congregation. We deal with everything between life and death.

Selected discography

(by the Winans)

Introducing the Winans, Light, 1981.

Long Time Coming, Light, 1983.

Tomorrow, Light, 1985.

Let My People Go, Qwest, 1986.

Decisions, Qwest, 1987.

Live at Carnegie Hall, Selah/Qwest, 1988.

Return, Qwest, 1990.

All Out, Qwest, 1993.

Heart and Soul, Qwest, 1995.



The Detroit News, October 13, 1997.

People Weekly, October 25, 1993, p. 31.


Marvin Winans, Image Is Everything, Shippensburg, PA: Treasure House, 1996.

Whos Who among African Americans, Guest Foreword writer, 9th edition, Gale Research: Detroit, MI, 1997.


Additional information provided by Perfecting Church in Detroit, Michigan in January of 1998.

Dietrich Gruen