NASHVILLE (BP) – Winners at the 53rd annual GMA Dove Awards included first-time winner Anne Wilson, worship leader Phil Wickham and legendary Gospel artist CeCe Winans.
Wilson was awarded New Artist of the Year, while Wickham won Songwriter of the Year and Winans was honored as Artist of the Year.
Winans has now won 25Dove Awards, including the very first New Artist of the Year award in 1988 alongside her brother BeBe Winans.
In addition to her win for Artist of the Year, Winans won Song of the Year for her song “Believe for It.”
She told the sold-out audience about how God has used the song to affect her life as well as the lives of many others.
“It’s amazing when we come together and we love each other and we stand for righteousness, it’s amazing what God will do,” Winans said.
“It’s amazing what He’s already done. But He wants to do so much more. I’m believing for God to move in this industry greater than He ever has before. The God we serve responds to faithfulness, and the testimonies I’ve heard through this song have blessed my life. I want us to understand that the God of miracles is still working miracles, so keep believing.”
The ceremony, which aired Friday (Oct. 21) on TBN, was held at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipsomb University in Nashville and was hosted by artists Erica Campbell and Chris Tomlin.
Tomlin was also among the wide variety of artists who performed during the ceremony, including Crowder, Social Club Misfits, TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman and Anne Wilson.
Just a short time after her performance, Wilson would accept the award for New Artist of the Year.
“I’m so grateful for what God has done in my life, and I’m so grateful for the gift of music and that I get to do this for Jesus and for his glory,” Wilson said. “Most of all I want to thank Jesus for his grace, for his mercy, for his forgiveness, I would be nothing without Jesus.”
While accepting her award for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year for “My Jesus,” Wilson shared a touching story about the song’s impact.
“I’m so grateful for the power of songs and specifically ‘My Jesus,’” Wilson said.
“This song has impacted so many lives. A woman recently shared with me that she was struggling to continue with life. She heard ‘My Jesus’ come on the radio and decided to give her life to Jesus. That’s the power that songs have, especially songs that glorify the Lord.”
In addition to winning Songwriter of the Year, Wickham would also win both Worship Recorded Song of the Year and Worship Album of the Year for “Hymn of Heaven.”
He expressed his gratefulness for the reach of his music.
“I’ve been leading worship since I was 12 years old,” Wickham said. “I can’t believe God would give me a voice beyond the walls of my church to write new prayers for the church to sing. It’s just another reason to remember God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives.”
Other notable winners at the ceremony included Dolly Parton, Maverick City Music, KB, Gaither Vocal Band, Ellie Holcomb, Lecrae and the TV series “The Chosen.”
One of the more memorable performances of the night was from artist TobyMac (Toby McKeehan), who just recently released “Life After Death,” his first album after the death of his first-born son.
Before performing his single “The Goodness,” McKeehan thanked the crowd for supporting him and his family during the darkest moment of his life.
“Thank you for the kindness that you showed me and my family as we walked through the deepest valley in losing my firstborn son,” he said.
“Thank you for your thoughts and thank you for your prayers. Through it all we have absolutely felt surrounded by love, and that’s what the body of Christ should feel like, so thank you.
“There were times that I thought I’d never write another song, much less a song that’s up-tempo or a song that felt like joy. But all I can tell you is I’ve learned that our God is kind, and He’s good. He might not always give us what we want, or take away the pain, but He is right there in it with us. He doesn’t leave. He remains.”
A full list of award winners and video of the ceremony can be found here.