Interview with David Binion of Covenant Worship
Matt Perkins of All About Worship recently had the opportunity to interview David Binion of Covenant Worship.
In 1976, Pastors Mike and Kathy Hayes moved to Dallas, TX, and founded Covenant Church. After more than 30 years, Covenant has grown to become one of the most prominent churches in the Dallas area. Covenant now facilitates four campuses in the Metro area, bringing hearts to salvation and creating leaders in the body of Christ. David and Nicole Binion serve as the senior worship pastors of Covenant and are joined by worship leaders Josh DuFrene and Colin Edge, who are also part of Covenant’s songwriting team. Additional information is available at covenantchurch.org.
Matt: Congratulations on your new project, Kingdom! I am always excited to listen to your new music. Was there a specific theme or direction that you were focusing on when preparing for this project?
David: At the onset of this project, we were inspired by a prophetic word from our Pastor regarding a "Kingdom Renaissance" that is coming to the church. In historical terms, "Renaissance" is the revival of the Arts that shifted culture from the Old World to the New. Similarly, we believe God is using His church to release revelation through sight and sound that will shift our culture. "Kingdom Come" was one of the first songs written for the album, and the chorus proclaims what we know is true:
Everything changes when Your kingdom comes
Let Your kingdom come.
The earth is shaking,
Chains are breaking as Your kingdom comes.
Let Your kingdom come.
It's what Jesus taught His disciples to pray: Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That's what we live for; to see His world invade ours! That was the inspiration for the project.
Matt: With Israel Houghton on board for production, did you take a different approach to this project from others in the past?
David: Oh yes, absolutely. Israel was such a pleasure to work with on this project. One of the things I love about him is that when he produces someone, the end result still sounds true to the artist. We never felt like we had to be someone else. From the songwriting to the rehearsals, he celebrated the diversity of our team and in doing so, really boosted our confidence. His gentle guidance just made this whole process flow so smoothly and I definitely see us working with him again in the future.
Matt: Covenant Church has an amazing culture of worship. Can you share a couple ingredients that has allowed this to take place?
David: I think the two key ingredients that make Covenant Church such a powerful house of worship is excellence and passion. Often times, we see one or the other in our churches...a worship team with great passion, but lacking excellence in their craft. Or perfectly executed arrangements with the best musicians and singers, but lacking passion. I think Covenant Church has a beautiful blend of both. We pursue excellence in our craft, but His presence is first and foremost.
Also, we have Pastors who make worship a priority, and that is key in the success of our worship department. Finally, we have team members who submit to each other and serve the vision of the house, not their own ambitions. These elements are what create the culture of worship at Covenant.
Matt: For worship leaders who might be serving in a church where this isn't as prevalent, what is one thing you would recommend they do to help establish a healthy worship culture?
David: It's difficult to recommend only one thing to establish a healthy worship culture, so I'll recommend two things!...
From Nicole Binion: First, take time at your rehearsals to worship together and "practice His presence." (tweet this) This is a great way to connect with God in a more intimate way as a team and to create unity within the team. Secondly, cultivate servant leadership through example and teaching. There is no room for ego and self-ambition in the presence of God. He gets ALL the glory.
From Colin Edge: We all intentionally work to respect and encourage each other. In order to reap an atmosphere of respect on your team, you have to sow respect and encouragement everywhere you get the chance. Of course, we love to tease around and have fun with our group, but we also stay vocal about how much we admire each other's talents and work ethic.
Sometimes as a leader, you're pushing through tough vibes on any given day - it happens to all of us! But the passion for what we do trickles down from the leadership, and personally, I fully believe that if you consistently lead by example in this area, the rest of your team will catch on.
Matt: The songs on this project are very “singable” for local congregations. When you were writing for this project, was that something that you and the team focused on?
David: Yes, absolutely. This conversation comes up almost every time we write. One of the amazing privileges we enjoy is writing for the church and then the joy of seeing a song join God's people together - every voice singing, every hand raised. If a song is too wordy or too melodically active, it gets tough for a big group to sing it together. On the flip side, does that mean we "dumb down" our music for congregational purposes? Not at all! This is one thing that can make writing for church tricky - we work hard to make sure every line is simple but powerful and every melody is singable and catchy, but expressive with musical depth and feeling. It's truly an honor to write songs for the people of God, and we never take it for granted.
Matt: One song that I found myself going back to was “Here Waiting”. Do you have a favorite song or maybe a favorite moment that happened on the night of the recording?
David: It's funny that you ask that question because for a while I couldn't decide what my favorite song was. There are so many strong songs on this project.
I love the declaration in the bridge of "Risen!"
THE SAME POWER!
THE SAME POWER!
THAT CRUSHED THE ENEMY!
THE SAME POWER!
THE SAME POWER!
THE SAME POWER LIVES IN ME!
And I really feel like The Lord trusted us with the gem "First Loved Me," with the "I Am Loved Medley" connected at the end!
But I have to say that the two spontaneous moments at the end of "Here Waiting" and "More Holy Spirit" have become my favorites.
Matt: Something that has always stood out to me with your ministry over the years, is that you and Nicole are not performers, but are always an example to people in the congregation on how to worship. What advice do you give to worship leaders who might be trying to find the balance between performance and passion for seeking God?
David: I think honing your craft is very important; God deserves the best. (tweet this) Worship music shouldn't be second rate to any other genre in terms of quality. Nothing is more distracting in a worship service than wrong chords being played, or out of tune vocals! So, I believe in cultivating the gifts God has given us through rehearsal and discipline.
We should be so rehearsed and ready for the songs we're going to play and sing on Sunday that the "performance" is second nature. That's when it's time to focus on what we all came to church for: to connect with God! When you know the song like the back of your hand, you can really tune into pouring out your heart through the melody and the lyrics.
As worship leaders it's imperative that we are completely in-the-moment of every lyric that we are communicating. If you're distracted by arrangements or other thoughts going through your head, it shows. The people feel it. Be an example to the congregation by SHOWING them what worship is. I love this quote from Rend Collective, "The goal isn't to be worship leaders, but to be worshipers." We lead by example.
Matt: How can we stay connected with you and Nicole and your ministry at Covenant on social media?
David: You can connect with us on social media via Twitter and Instagram!
Matt: Thank you, David, for taking the time to share with our readers!
Set to release July 1, Kingdom will be Covenant Church’s second recording released internationally in partnership with Integrity Music. Recorded live at Covenant Church, a 10,000 member, multi-cultural and multi-campus congregation, Kingdom features Covenant’s choir and worship team led by worship pastors David and Nicole Binion. Kingdom also features Covenant worship leaders Joshua Defrene and Colin Edge and guest vocals from five-time GRAMMY Award winner, Israel Houghton, who produced the project and co-wrote eight of the album’s tracks.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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