Lipscomb welcomed some of the biggest names in Christian music for the 49th Annual GMA Dove Awards Tuesday for a night of celebrating music and worshipping God.

Gospel Music Association President Jacki Patillo introduced the theme for the evening as “Reverent Wonder,” based on Luke 5:26. Artists throughout the night spoke on what the theme meant to them and how it impacted their music.

For King and Country kicked off the evening with a performance from their new album Burn the Ships, which just reached No. 7 on the Gospel Music Chart.

Joel and Luke Smallbone spoke on the inspiration for the album and how important it is to know when to move on. Despite the heavy topic, the pair hope to create a dynamic show.

“Art is meant to be creative and lawless and exciting,” Joel Smallbone said. “Hopefully with the show and with the record you feel that sense.”

Video Package by Erin Franklin and Cavin Jacobson

Cory Asbury takes home first Dove Award of the evening

Cory Asbury took home the first Dove Award of the evening for Song of the Year for his song “Reckless Love.” The artist started tearing up on stage as he accepted his award as he reflected on the challenges that led him here.

“Isn’t it just like the Lord to take our failures and turn it into something beautiful,” Asbury said.

After performing during the show, the rising star took home the “Worship Song of the Year” award as well as the “Worship Album of the Year.” He shared how his song has impacted people struggling with suicidal thoughts and what it means to him as an artist.

“When you hear something like that, that the love of God makes sense to someone for the first time, that’s when I’m like ‘Okay, I’ve done what I’ve set out to do,’” Asbury said.

Asbury also spoke on the inspiration for his winning song ‘Reckless Love’ and the hardship he and his wife went through four years ago when they almost lost their daughter.

“This is the story of the last 8-10 years of my life; it’s the most dear thing to me, and every time I sing it, it’s special,” Asbury said. “It was born in the trenches, and when something is born in the trenches, our faith is tested and it comes out fire-tested; that’s what this song is for me.

The night of newcomers continued with Tauren Wells, who won his first Dove Award with the “New Artist of the Year” award and also walked away with three other awards.

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Photo gallery by Anna Rogers

Zack Williams Wins Artist of the Year Award

Returning winner Zack Williams took home the much-anticipated “Artist of the Year” award after winning “New Artist of the Year” at the 48th Annual Dove Awards.

He performed his hit song “Old Church Choir” which also won Recorded Contemporary Song of the Year, and shared his journey to creating music.

“I just had this moment with God where I was like ‘God, I know you’re real. I’ve grown up with the knowledge of you my whole life, but I need you to show up and prove it,’” Williams said. “That began my season of growing and change.”

Williams followed in the footsteps of Johnny Cash and recorded his latest album Survivor: Live From Harding Prison after inmates contacted him about performing there.

“When you walk into a place and you see people who have completely lost hope in everything, but they choose to find hope in Jesus Christ, it’s a very freeing experience being in there and hearing these guys worship Jesus,” Williams said.

The evening continued with show-stopping performances by Tori Kelly, Lauren Daigle and Jason Crabb. Crabb came together to perform with Rascal Flatts along with Crabb’s daughter. Iconic group Newsboys also performed and shared their excitement about returning to Lipscomb to perform their show on Sunday.

“We’ve played here a few times, it’s a great venue and it’s a great school,” Duncan Phillips said.

Dove Awards’ Artists Inspire

Hip-hop Artists KB and Social Club Misfits both won big tonight and shared how they used their music to impact others.

“Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year” winner KB donated the profits from his song “Long Live the Champion” to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. The mission statement of this organization is to “Promote the best interest of immigrants with due regard to the child’s expressed interests, according to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and state and federal law.”

KB explained the reasoning behind his decision to donate all of the royalties from his new song and the meaning behind it.

“Our heart of the song was to look at the resilience of people who are often forgotten about,” he said. “In our everyday lives and not only recognize them but appreciate them. We are connecting with a foundation (the Young Center) with those being affected at the border. This is helping to provide legal representation…I gave every single dime away on that song.”

Social Club Misfits won “Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year” along with Tauren Wells, for their single “War Cry.” The duo shared how God has impacted their lives and their journey to the stage.

“A few years ago I was in a prison cell, and today I’m accepting a Dove Award with my brother,” Fern said.“I had a dark season in my life but the morning came.”

The Dove Awards will be broadcasted Sunday night at 9 p.m. on TBN.

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Show gallery by Ben Davis

Dove Awards 360 experience

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