By the time the red carpet is rolled out for entertainment award shows—from the Oscars to Christian music's Dove Awards—several honors have already been handed out at modest, untelevised ceremonies.

Christian rock band Third Day knows this well. "We were always the band that won the smaller awards," says lead singer Mac Powell. "We were the pre-telecast band."

But that changed at the 2001 Dove Awards. The five-man Georgia band visited the stage five times—during the televised ceremony—for honors including group of the year, artist of the year, and praise and worship album of the year.

The success of Third Day did not happen suddenly. In fact, three well-embraced albums and a strong live presence had already built a devoted Third Day fan base and earned three Dove Awards and two Grammy nominations.

But the 2001 Dove Awards did mark a pivotal moment.

"When we stood up on the stage, it really felt like 'Okay, now, Third Day, people know who you are,' " drummer David Carr says. "More than ever, we felt like we'd become part of the industry."

Before this, band members felt that the CCM culture perceived them as just a rock band. Now Third Day has proven—like bands Petra or dc Talk before it—that it can reach beyond its music genre to a wider Christian audience. It is no longer just a rock band.

When Rockers Worship

The difference was Offerings: A Worship Album (2000). For years, Third Day fans called for either a live or worship album; Offerings combined the two. The album dominated Christian charts for months, went gold (500,000 sales) in less than a year, and led the way for the band's most successful tour. "People who weren't familiar with us finally had an album they could listen to," Powell says. "But we didn't do anything differently ...

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