by Melissa Riddle Chalos
When you’ve spent the better part of your life building and supporting the dreams of others, it’s not always easy to step out in faith and chase your own dream.
For David and Nicole Binion, who have traveled the world for over 20 years leading worship and training a new generation of worship leaders, their God-given dream was to create a mentoring space for worshipers to be still and experience the presence of God in an unstructured way. Not just 20 minutes on a Sunday morning, but an unconventional place of worship and teaching. A space to dwell.
So, after 10 years at Covenant Church in Texas and five recordings with their Covenant family, the Binions stepped away to pursue their dream to launch Dwell Ministries. The couple began hosting monthly “Dwell” nights of worship in the Dallas area and expanded when they received invitations to host events in Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Nashville. In September, they’ll open doors in a permanent space just north of Dallas for Dwell Church, all while continuing their roles as guest-hosts for TBN’s flagship “Praise” TV program.
Dwell is, as David and Nicole’s music and ministry have always been, a distinctively multi-cultural, multi-generational, Spirit-sensitive and empowering experience — strengthened by creative excellence, collaboration and decades of servant-leadership.
And this is what you’ll hear all over DWELL: A Live Worship Experience, a 14-track immersion in worship unlike any you’ve heard before. Recorded at TBN Dallas and featuring special guests including William McDowell, BJ Putnam and the Binions’ daughter, 17-year-old recording artist MDSN, DWELL captures the essence of a dream unfolding.
Bringing people together from all walks of life to soak in and respond to the presence of God echoes throughout the whole project. “We didn’t ask our friends to be on our album because they are some of the biggest artists in Gospel and Christian music,” says Nicole. “We invited them because we have experienced God’s presence with them… our hearts are knit.”
For David, who grew up on hymns and had signed a publishing deal by age 15, DWELLis — in some ways — the culmination of what it means to be a bridge builder. These songs, he says, are an “effort to build bridges to different groups of people and make them all feel welcome within the worship expression in any given moment.”
There’s a breaking in my favor / There’s a shifting in my direction / There’s a breaking in my favor / As I praise
“Doxology,” written in part by phone with Grammy Award winner Aaron Lindsay and while on stage at Lakewood Church’s Houston auditorium with pastor John Gray, originated out of David’s desire to modernize the ancient unknown for young worship leaders. The hymn took an unexpected gospel turn when Gray began singing, spontaneously, “There’s a breaking in my favor.”
You’re breathing new life into dry bones / I hear the echo, the sound of Heaven’s song / Your Spirit’s calling me, I know it’s time to go / I can’t stay here anymore
“Can’t Stay Here,” penned by David with Dove Award winning songwriters Krissy Nordhoff and Michael Farren, was written while reflecting on 35 days of excruciating pain leading up to David’s corneal transplant surgery in January 2018. An infection had destroyed his cornea and only a transplant would restore his sight. David explains: “It was like the devil said, ‘You’ve got this new vision for your life with Dwell, but I’m going to take it.’ And God said, ‘Oh no. I’m really going to turn it on now’.” As David’s physical vision improved, his spiritual vision amplified. “From the day of the surgery,” he says, “I’ve had these crazy divine dreams!”
The song opens with David recalling an evening in 1997 when the glory of God invaded a church service near Chicago, and without human prompting, a thousand people fell on their faces. David crawled under the piano, undone, for four and a half hours. “That moment marked me, it became the lens I looked through to measure everything I would ever know about the presence of God…” he explains, introducing the song.
“Some 20 years later, I hear the voice of God speaking about a coming wave of His glory, a move of God unlike anything the world has ever seen. Many of our churches do not have time in their services for what is coming… the glory of Eden is breaking through, the original intent of fellowship between God and man restored, a place in His presence where few will dare to go.”
When the gospel harmonies kick in on the chorus and the guitars build to a climax, you can’t help but be caught up in the anticipation of what is to come.
Oh what a lovely home you have prepared for me / Here in your love I’ll stay through all eternity / My soul follows after you.
Rooted in the Psalms, “My Soul Follows,” was written with Mitch Wong (Planetshakers) the week after David’s eye surgery. He introduced this song several weeks later to a large African American church in Orlando, Florida, and was blown away by the response. “We sang this one song for 45 minutes,” David explains. “When we stopped, the congregation would just start singing again. Every time I sang, ‘My heart and flesh cry out,’ you could feel the Spirit in the room. It was like the lyrics were alive.”
So many of the songs on DWELL are expressions of spiritual longing for God’s presence, and with it, the peace so elusive in this world. “Hunger,” co-written by and featuring daughter Madison (MDSN), and the album’s benediction, “Be Still And Know,” speak to the almost visceral need for God in an age of disillusionment. It is this longing in the hearts of Jesus-followers — this new vision for making room for the Spirit to move as never before — that drives David and Nicole Binion to pursue a dream long deferred. Not to be an imitator of what’s currently popular in modern Christian worship or to create brand success for their ministry, but to model unity in worship, to raise up a new generation of worship leaders who can and will do the same, and to be an authentic, humble conduit for the move of God that is to come.