A church with one Dove Award nominee is something to be excited about, but two nominees is even more reason to be ecstatic.
Such is the case with First Baptist North Augusta.
Its worship pastor, Jeff Bumgardner, and its worship associate, Kellan Monroe, both were recently announced as Dove Award nominees. The Dove Award is awarded by the Gospel Music Association in a variety of categories.
Bumgardner, who has served at the church for eight months, is nominated for Musical of the Year as the creator and writer of Christ the Redeemer. He wrote the musical with Joel Lindsey and Daniel Semsen. It’s his first Dove Award nomination.
“I keep waiting on them to call me and tell me they made a mistake,” he said with a laugh. “It’s very surreal. I grew up watching the Dove Awards, I think we both did. Being in this industry, that’s like the ultimate honor.”
Bumgardner always was interested in being a songwriter, but felt that was called to the ministry as well, he said.
“I wrote where I was,” he said noting he would write for the church he was serving and for weddings and other special events.
Then in 2011, he was signed to a two-year contract with Sunset Gallery Music.
“The ministry that I had within the church started to expand outside the church,” he said.
Monroe is nominated in the Inspirational Song of the Year category with his former group, Beyond the Ashes, for their song When Love Whispers Your Name. Monroe left the group in May and has served at the church since. It is the group’s third Dove Award nomination.
“From the time I was four years old I knew I wanted to do music,” said Monroe, adding that growing up he would come home from church and play what the choir sang. In college, he would lead worship on campus.
He joined Beyond the Ashes in 2010.
“From the time I joined, until the time I left, I was able to see the progression of the group not only stylistically but professionally as well…it was pretty awesome,” he said.
Bumgardner and Monroe both continue to work on projects individually as well as work together on projects for the church.
“Our goal is to advance this music ministry as much as we can and use our talents and what God has gifted us for the church,” said Monroe.
The winners will be announced during the Dove Awards ceremony Oct. 15 at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.