This week, the Gospel Music Association is celebrating a birthday – 50 years of the Dove Awards! As someone who has passed the 50-year mark myself, let me say that life with Jesus only gets better with time, and that has certainly been true for the Doves.
For the last several years, I have had the joy of serving on the GMA Board with Executive Director, Jackie Patillo and her incredible sidekick, Justin Fratt. They, along with an extraordinary team of volunteers and staff, have done an impressive job of reinventing GMA and the Doves into the amazing organization it is today.
It wasn’t easy. The GMA went through a very difficult season as all of Christian music tried to find its way through the treacherous path of the music industry in general. The harsh realities of an evolving music business reality in the digital age, as well as cataclysmic changes in Christian music, brought the survival of GMA and the Doves into question. But, God had more for this organization to do. And, under the capable leadership of Jackie and Justin, GMA rolled up its sleeves and reinvented itself.
I was convinced in the early days of my time on the board that LifeWay had a role to play. That’s why, for several years now, we have been a part of the work and have loved being there. The event production team of LifeWay have assisted in the production of the Doves for years now. For several years, we hosted the GMA event to train emerging talent, Immerse (now on the campus of Lipscomb University), while it got back on its feet. Today, Immerse continues to flourish and has a bright future. Several of our LifeWay Worship team serve at the Doves and other GMA events. Simply stated, we believe in the mission of GMA and want to do our part to support it.
Over the last several years, the Dove Awards has grown stronger and stronger, feeling less and less like the Christian “Grammys,” and more and more like a spirit of revival blowing across the church. It’s been a wonderful journey and it has been a joy to have a front row seat.
We have the strongest message – the Gospel. We have a strong medium – music.
May GMA continue to lift up and celebrate the song of Jesus until the One we worship comes to take us home and we will sing His praise forever!
Happy 50th Birthday, GMA!
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.