"I'm averaging two good weekends a month with my performance schedule right now," said Visser, 55. "And I'm hoping after the first of the year to build on that."
For seven years Visser was a lead singer with the locally-based Faithful Journey Quartet. But as he began to do solo concert dates, he felt God calling him in that direction and last year he officially ventured out on his own. He has already recorded two solo albums, and has done concerts around Michigan and beyond.
During a nine-day swing through Florida last February, the artist did seven performances.
An independent builder by trade (JVR Builders), Visser maintains a work schedule flexible enough to fit around his concerts.
His traditional and Southern gospel style is exemplified in his recordings. Among the songs are hymns ("Blessed Assurance"), more contemporary ballads ("Mary, Did You Know?") and some upbeat gospel rhythms ("I Keep Trusting On").
"The song that gets the biggest reaction in concert is 'I Can't Help It,'" said Visser of the song he often sings at the conclusion of his music sets. "It's about being so excited about what God has done that I'm not gonna hold it back but tell people about it."
Visser grew up in the Grand Rapids area and is a long time gospel music fan. For many years he was a follower of the local group The Heralders and sang in the mixed choral ensemble Touch of Joy.
Since beginning his solo music ministry he's dedicated himself to getting out the word.
"Building a ministry is something like building a business, only it's not a tangible product," he mused.
"The product is my ministry and music and the message I'm delivering."
Through Facebook, a website, and contacts with pastors and churches, Visser is promoting his availability. He has an informational video which samples both his singing and his speaking during concerts.
Word of mouth has been helpful in getting bookings. During his trip to Florida, Visser got a call about an RV park in Tennessee that hosted gospel music concerts. He was able to schedule a date there, and then began looking for churches in the area which might also host a singer around that same time. Visser tracked down two of them.
A similar story led to a concert swing to northern Iowa and eastern South Dakota. "I've also done some retirement and nursing homes along the way," he said of stops which help with travel expenses to his other dates.
SHARPENING HIS CRAFT
For several years Visser has attended the National Quartet Convention held in Pigeon Forge, TN. Held annually each September, it's the prime national gathering for the nation's top gospel quartets, soloists and other ensembles.
"This is my first time as a solo artist," said Visser of this year's trip. He's singing at one of the talent showcases, and for the first time has an actual artist booth in the convention center exhibit hall. That's where he'll be stationed selling his CDs ("I Keep Trusting On" and "I Won't Forget.") as well as making important agency and industry contacts.
Visser performs several songs he has not recorded. "God is Faithful" and "He Loves" are songs which have a great message, he says. He also loves the hymn, "The Longer I Serve Him."
Although typically singing to tracks, Visser will occasionally mix in his guitar and even lead audiences in singing hymns or other familiar choruses.
"There are adjustments I've made as a solo artist," Visser noted. "Communicating with audiences is different. In a group there's more banter on stage. But now lots of times I'm actually interacting with people in the crowd."
See some videos and clips of Jim Visser's music online.