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Lipscomb's partnership with GMA offers unique opportunities for students at Dove Awards

Lacey Klotz  | 

For the third consecutive year, Lipscomb University partnered with the Gospel Music Association to host one of Christian music’s biggest nights, the Dove Awards.

Hosted by Erica Campbell and Sadie Robertson, Lipscomb’s Allen Arena was the site for some of Christian music’s biggest names to be honored at the sold-out 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards on Tuesday night, Oct. 13.

Awards were handed out in 41 categories as well as four special awards. Producer and songwriter Seth Mosley led the evening collecting four Dove Awards while newcomer Lauren Daigle performed her hit-song, “How Can It Be” and took home three awards including “New Artist of the Year,” “Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year” and “Song of the Year.”

Lecrae was also recognized as “Artist of the Year” and took home two more Dove Awards for “Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year” and “Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year.”

Since Lipscomb’s partnership with GMA was established in 2013, the GMA has become a company-in-residence and their offices are currently housed on Lipscomb University’s campus.

One unique aspect of this partnership is the opportunity for student involvement in the Dove Awards shows. Lipscomb students are able to volunteer in various roles including seat-filler, talent escort, crew member and media room volunteer positions, providing them a unique view to a production of global magnitude.

This year, approximately 250 Lipscomb students participated in the Dove Awards. 

Haley Coble, a freshman communication major from Louisville, Kentucky, left her dorm room in Fanning Hall and walked across campus in her formal wear ready to participate in a star-studded awards show as a seat-filler.

Here she shares her experience:

“Approaching Allen Arena was a surreal moment. Standing just feet away from the Dove Awards red carpet, I could see a line of familiar celebrities and fans flooding the sidewalks, the same sidewalks I cross every day to class.

Cameras flashed and the murmur of interviews followed me as I walked into Allen Arena toward a crowd of my friends and peers all dressed up in dark colors. 

As the show began, a few of us were ushered down to the floor level near the stage. They placed us one-by-one in the empty seats throughout the audience.

I soon found myself on the fifth row, front-and-center, sitting between David Crowder’s band members. I was in awe of my amazing seat, a seat that I would never be able to come by on my own, (due to the fact that God did not bless me with any musical ability).

The stage was massive and the award show hosts, Sadie Robertson and Erica Campbell, were standing directly in front of me. Everywhere I looked there were celebrities, and I had a bit of a star-struck moment when I noticed the Robertson family was two rows in front of me.

As the show began, the audience was captivated by amazing performances. The pulsing music, intricate light patterns and energy all directed toward the King of Kings was a profound experience like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

The one thought that echoed through my head the whole evening was that this has to be what heaven is like. I was seated among celebrities, the type of people who are easily idolized in our culture, but before God, I was their equal. Everyone in the room, rich or poor, young or old, of different ethnicities and backgrounds, all together worshiping one God, declaring that we all have a bond in Jesus and that we are all ‘Better Together,’ just as the theme of the show stated.

If I had not been a Lipscomb student I would not have been able to be blessed with this unique opportunity to serve, although being able to sit on the first few rows of an award show for free doesn’t quite feel like service at all.

As the show wrapped and I walked back to my dorm to change into sweats, I couldn’t help noticing how surreal the whole evening felt, especially as I headed to the library to study for an exam the next day. I got to experience a small taste of the life of a celebrity, as well as spend the evening encouraged by devoted followers of Christ.

I cannot wait for the opportunity to serve again next year!”

The 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards will broadcast exclusively on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. CST.

For a full list of winners visit:

For more photos from the 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards click HERE

Photo credit: Kristi Jones and Jamie Gilliam, Lipscomb University