Christian music veterans and newcomers gathered at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House Sunday for the K-LOVE Fan Awards, a night defined by hope, inspiration, and fellowship.

Christian music superstars including CeCe Winans, Lauren Daigle, Michael W. Smith, Danny Gokey, and Third Day’s Mac Powell shared wisdom for the next generation of CCM artists. They highlighted the importance of following God’s lead and remaining scripturally sound in a rapidly changing culture.

Matthew West, who hosted the night’s show alongside Tauren Wells and was also nominated for Male Artist of the Year, walked the red carpet with two of his daughters. The 45-year-old Dove Award-winner told the Christian Post that the best advice he can offer up-and-coming artists is to “stay humble, stay focused on the lane that God has put you in, and you’re going to have a major impact on society and culture.”

Lauren Daigle, who performed with Cece Winans, encouraged younger believers to “just be who God has called you to be.” She added that God has “wired each person so creatively,” saying, “There’s a thing called a ‘zeitgeist,’ which is where time and culture intersect. And it’s when God decides to say, ‘This is the one I have appointed. This is the one I’m calling out. Let’s go; come on. This is how we get the people ready for what’s to come.’ He sends the ones that are uniquely available, I think.”

lauren daigle
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“If you feel like God is calling you to this or that, He’s touched your life in some sort of way. Ask Him to open doors and see the places that He’ll take you,” she added. Contemporary Christian music is a multibillion-dollar industry that started as a niche genre in the 1960s at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, with many artists finding colossal crossover success. According to the Berklee School of Music, Christian music is the fastest-growing radio market in the United States today.

Michael W. Smith, of the most recognizable names in CCM for the last four decades, told CP he believes humility is the key to genuinely honoring God. The artist, who’s won three Grammy Awards, 45 Dove Awards, one American Music Award, and was recently inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, was nominated in the Book Impact category for his book, The Way of the Father. 

“American Idol” alum Danny Gokey, who was nominated for Male Artist of the Year and was also a presenter, encouraged the next generation to “seek first the Kingdom,” adding: “A lot of us, we want to be famous for Jesus, but He doesn’t need our fame, He needs our hearts and our obedience. And He needs us to speak what he’s saying because the words we put in music speak to people who are in basements, in hospitals, ready to take their lives. I’m telling you, the uniqueness of His voice inside of us and displayed through us is a big deal. And we must be tuned in.”

He stressed that regardless of what happens in culture, “God’s message never changes.”

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