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LifeWay musical edged for Dove musical award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A writer and arranger in the church music division of LifeWay Christians Resources said he is still excited “Experiencing God … The Musical” earned a Dove Award nomination even though the LifeWay-produced musical did not win the best musical category at the 32nd annual Gospel Music Association event.

“We were excited to have the nod,” said Kirk Kirkland. “We feel like Experiencing God is a momentous work for our company. We believe it is a milestone.”

The musical, written and created by Gary Rhodes, Claire Cloninger and Henry Blackaby, also featured a number of songs written and arranged by Southern Baptist musicians.

The musical is based on Blackaby’s widely popular Bible study series.

Kirkland said he hopes Experiencing God … The Musical will have a long shelf life in Christian bookstores.

“So often, we pour our heart and soul into musicals but they are only used during seasonal times like Christmas and Easter,” Kirkland said. “But Experiencing God is special. Personally, I hope this work has the life that extends beyond a couple of years.”

For some musicians across the SBC, the new musical represents a turning point in the style of music being produced by LifeWay’s Genevox division. Kirkland said he sees it not so much as being different, but as growth.

“Any publisher would tell you that our biggest challenge is to meet the needs of churches musically,” Kirkland said. “Music is such a subjective thing when we are dealing with the form of how people worship and not necessarily the content. We are all trying to worship God.”

Kirkland said LifeWay plans to continue to meet those needs.

“At the risk of sounding cliche, the majority of our churches are trying to do the greatest songs from the past and the greatest songs of today and blend them together,” he said. “We want to promote that. In Southern Baptist life we want to look at the greatest from our heritage and the greatest new things of today and make them equally accessible for worshipers.”

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