Cooperative Program theme song wins top honor at Dove Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The theme song for the Cooperative Program's Partners in the Harvest campaign, "I Will Follow Christ," has won a Dove Award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year.

Written by Clay Crosse, a member of First Baptist Church, Collierville, Tenn., the song has been an important visual and audio instrument in promoting CP missions throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.

The "I Will Follow Christ" music video, featuring performances by Crosse, BeBe Winans and Bob Carlisle, also has been honored with a 2000 Telly Award. Telly Awards are given to showcase outstanding non-network commercials. The Cooperative Program's video was selected from more than 10,000 entries to win the honor, according to a recent notice from the annual competition.

"'I Will Follow Christ' summarizes what should be the commitment of every believer, every church, every state convention and the SBC as a whole," said David Hankins, vice president for Cooperative Program with the SBC Executive Committee.

"We are grateful for the combined musical talents of Clay Crosse, Bob Carlisle and BeBe Winans. We are also thankful for the work of George King, Stan Moore, Hamp Morrison and the Maryland Group for their direction in the entire process," Hankins said.

The Maryland Group is an advertising firm in Brentwood, Tenn., that helped create the Partners in the Harvest campaign.

"It is our desire that 'I Will Follow Christ' will help re-energize our efforts as Southern Baptists to be partners in the harvest as we touch the world with God's love," Hankins said.

Crosse wasn't the only Southern Baptist to win an award at the 31st annual Dove Awards, held April 20 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

Selah, a group of former students from Nashville's Belmont University, won Inspirational Album of the Year with their debut album, "Be Still My Soul."

The group's members are brother-sister duo Todd and Nicol Smith and pianist Allan Hall.

Another group with ties to Belmont University, Sixpence None the Richer, was honored as gospel music's group of the year.

Karla Worley, wife of Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church minister of music Dennis Worley, won a Dove Award for Youth/Children's Musical of the Year. Worley and Steven V. Taylor wrote the musical collection titled, "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High."

dcTalk, one of the most successful contemporary Christian groups of all time, won a Dove Award for Long Form Music Video of the Year for "The Supernatural Experience."

Longtime Dove Award winner Steven Curtis Chapman dominated this year's awards, winning six, including the top honor of best artist. Chapman, 37, has won 44 Dove Awards, more than any other Christian artist.

Chapman also won best male vocalist, best pop-contemporary album for "Speechless" and best pop contemporary single for "Dive."

Jaci Velasquez won the Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Kathie Lee Gifford, the awards show host, performed a duet with Dolly Parton, and she said she hoped the show would "remind people of the incredible diversity that makes up gospel music in the year 2000."

"The message hasn't changed, but the music certainly has," she said.

The Dove Awards are nominated and selected by 5,500 members of the Gospel Music Association, which was founded in 1964 to promote Christian music.

A complete list of the Dove Award winners is located at the Gospel Music Association's Internet site, www.gospelmusic.org.

(BP) photos to be posted in the BP Photo Library.

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