David & Nicole Binion Talk About Leaving Covenant Worship & the Creation of "Dwell"
Worship leaders David & Nicole Binion have just released their new live album Dwell: A Live Worship Experience, a 14-track immersion in Spirit-sensitive, multi-cultural and multi-generational worship.Recorded live at TBN's Dallas studios where the Binions serve as guest hosts for the network's "Praise!" program, Dwell invites worshipers to do just that: put aside distractions and dwell in the presence of God.
The project is, as the Binions' music and ministry have always been, a product of collaboration, creative excellence and decades of servant-leadership. And that is what listeners will hear woven through every track on Dwell, which features guest artists Tasha Cobbs Leonard, William McDowell, Travis Greene, BJ Putnam and the Binions' 17-year-old daughter and fellow Integrity artist, MDSN (Madison Grace Binion).
Produced by David Binion and Daniel Lopez, Dwell offers songs penned by the Binions along with MDSN, Mitch Wong, Michael Farren, Krissy Nordhoff, Aaron Lindsey, Jacob Sooter and Josh DuFrene among others.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. For many years you have been at the forefront of Covenant Worship, what were some of the highlights being with the team?
NICOLE: Thank you for having us! There are so many highlights of our years spent with Covenant Worship! It was an incredible season of life and ministry for us. Some of our best times with the team took place at our worship conference we called The Sound. We hosted this conference at Covenant for 5 years and it really established the worship culture within our church and team, developing a beautiful unity among us. I also have to mention the songs that were written together; they marked the journey of our time there.
Q: You have currently stepped out of Covenant Worship and you have started a church and Dwell Ministries. How and why did that happen?
NICOLE: A couple of years ago we began to sense that God was moving us into a different season. Honestly, we had thought we would be on staff at Covenant Church forever, but the Lord began speaking to our hearts about mentoring worshipers in a greater capacity. We stepped out of our position at Covenant in May 2017 with a dream to launch a worship ranch - - a place where people could come, be poured into and receive healing in the presence of God. Starting a church was never on our radar. Then God began speaking to us through prophetic words and counsel from spiritual mentors in our life and we began to open our hearts to the idea that this was more than a retreat and training center. God spoke very clearly to us that we were to plant Dwell Church (officially launching September 2018) which would be the foundation for everything else that is to come.
Q: What is Dwell Ministries about?
NICOLE: At the center of Dwell Ministries is the pursuit of God's presence because we believe that's where lives are transformed. Our vision is to cultivate an atmosphere of worship and revival through Dwell Church and our itinerant work around the world. We have great vision for the future which includes a mentorship and training program designed for worship leaders and creatives. Oh, and we're still dreaming about that worship ranch!
Q: Let's talk about your new "solo" album "Dwell." How and when was this album birthed?
NICOLE: It has been 12 years since we (David & Nicole) recorded an album outside of Covenant Worship. We feel that this album carries our distinct "Binion" sound, which has strong gospel roots but builds bridges to diverse cultures and generations. At the end of 2017, we began a conversation with Integrity Music about continuing our relationship with them (we had been working closely on the CovWorship albums) and soon after signed a recording contract with Integrity.
Plans for this album began in January 2018 as we began writing what God was speaking to our hearts. We began "re-digging" the well of revival that God birthed in us back in 1997 (see David's testimony track #5 on the album). God began to visit David with dreams and visions about His glory being released in the earth.
We simply want to be a part of what He's doing; it's the passion that drives us to risk everything and pursue Him at all costs! We burn to see all people experience the life-changing presence of God...where hearts are ignited and launched into purpose! This album was birthed out of that passion and desire.
Q: Where were the songs recorded? How would you describe the worship experience of the recording?
DAVID: We had the privilege of recording Dwell with a live audience at the TBN Studios in Dallas! We have loved hosting worship shows for TBN's flagship Praise! program over the last 2 years, and Matt & Laurie Crouch were so incredibly supportive and generous to allow us to record our album at TBN and then air it all around the world! We recorded on May 2 with about 600 passionate worshipers in the audience - it felt electric in that studio! There was such an expectancy in the room for what God was going to do. About halfway through the night when our friend William McDowell was ministering, healing was released in the room, and we believe it will be released over and over again as people listen to the album and receive what God did that night.
Q: Your daughter is also a very integral part of the album where she even co-wrote and sang with you. What was it like to write and sing with your own daughter?
NICOLE: For the past couple of years our daughter, Madison Grace (MDSN), has been writing for Integrity Music. She is 17 years old, and it's been amazing to see the growth in her songwriting as she goes deeper in her relationship with God. She co-wrote the song "Hunger" with Mitch Wong (from Planetshakers) and from the moment we heard it we knew it had to be on the album. It is an incredibly special song that gives voice to the cry of so many in the body of Christ!
DAVID: We had her lead it on the album because, frankly, no one can sing it quite like her. An integral part of our assignment from God is to mentor and make room for this next generation - actually they aren't just "next," they are "now!" That was a huge part of what we did at Covenant Church for a decade. So who better to platform than our own daughter? :) We sensed it was time and she was ready. She also co-wrote and led "All Because You're Here" - we're all about Kingdom language and the bridge of that song is so strong, "When I see impossible You see potential, When I see unmovable You see a miracle!" Wow! Madison has been traveling quite a bit with us- the family harmony is strong!
Q: You have other guests on the album. Who are some of them? Any memorable stories working with these artists?
NICOLE: We were humbled that so many of our friends said "yes" to our invitation to be on this album with us. We love collaboration- we believe there is power in unity and we were careful to partner with those who share a common vision and passion for the presence of God and for revival. We are all about relationship, and we share distinct relationship with every guest on our album.
DAVID: Pastor William McDowell was our first ask; we are a part of his Habitation conference every year, and every year we have received divine direction at his conference that has changed the course of our ministry. We knew we wanted what William carries to be on this record!
Then we reached out to Tasha Cobbs Leonard to guest on "Doxology (Hallelujah)" because her sound was perfect for this song! We've known Tasha for many years. One distinct memory with her was at a worship conference we hosted back in 2009 - she came to the conference to sing with her Pastor, William Murphy. We were doing a soundcheck one of the mornings and Tasha began singing (this was before she was widely known) and the heavens opened up and
soundcheck just morphed into the morning session. Tasha has always carried a very unique sound and anointing to break things open and that's why we love her!
BJ Putnam happens to be one of our dear friends and favorite worship leaders. Again, we've known him for a long time... in our opinion, he is one of the greatest male voices of our time. Nicole had recently recorded a duet with him on his record, so we wanted him on our record! When we wrote "Joy Never-Ending" with Kyle Lee, we thought BJ's voice would be perfect for it. We were right! :)
Finally, Travis Greene. A few weeks prior to the recording we were with Travis at Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando and he was telling us how he wished he could be at the recording but due to his travel schedule he wasn't able to make it. About a week later, he FaceTimed us to let us know he had altered his plans to be in Dallas with us for the recording!
So we said, 'well you can't be there and not sing something with us!' Travis agreed and we are so grateful that he did. About 4 years ago at Habitation conference in Orlando, God really knit our hearts together with Travis' and we've adored him ever since! Travis carries something so fresh - a joy that is contagious!
Q: What does it mean to "dwell" in God's presence? How can you encourage your congregation to dwell in worship?
DAVID: According to the dictionary, to "dwell" means to live in or at a specified place. God's presence isn't reserved for the worship set at your church on Sunday mornings. The blood of Jesus has given us access to His presence anytime, anywhere. We like to say, "Worship is the sound our life makes." Psalm 22:3 says "God inhabits the praises of His people." We make a place for Him to dwell (or inhabit) when we invite Him in with our praise. He wants in on our everyday life!
Let's talk about His goodness around our dinner tables and at our workplace. Let's bring worship into our homes. And let's create space in our churches for God to move again instead of boxing Him into our programs. The writer A.W. Tozer said, "Make your thoughts a sanctuary God can inhabit." We're not after visitation, which is temporary; we're after habitation, the act of dwelling, which is permanent.
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