“From the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11, ESV)
Austin, Texas, is often referred to as the live music capital of the world. And for good reason. Every night, there’s between 600 to 1,000 musicians performing within the city limits. Meanwhile, in the midst of the vibrant cacophony, a global worship movement is being birthed, and worship leader Rick Pino is heading up the revolution. “We just believe God wants to change the name of our city,” Pino attests. “So we’re here to see Austin rise up as the live worship capital… We have a big heart to see our city flooded with worship music.”
Pino and his family made the move from Dallas to Austin four years ago and have since established Heart Of David—a hub for like-minded creatives and worshippers. Heart of David is home to a ministry school, a house of prayer with daily worship and prayer sets, and a weekly outreach to the city. In addition, Heart of David sends missions teams and associates to an average of 25 nations each year. The organization also hosts the highly-anticipated PRESENCE worship festival every summer.
“We’re calling ourselves ‘musicianaries’—musical missionaries that will cross the road and will cross oceans to bring the gospel of Jesus to people,” Pino shares, adding, “For the past three years we’ve been traveling the globe as well as pioneering our movement here in Austin.”
The next phase of the movement will begin this summer as Pino and his musicianary crew plan to launch Heart of David (HOD) Global, a presence-driven, relationship-based worship network.
“Now that our local base is becoming established, we have a vision to branch out and see a worldwide community of like-minded, like-hearted people who want to host the presence of the Lord in their city, who want to train and equip the Davids and who want to see the earth filled with worship,” Pino explains.
Any organization is generally only as successful as its leader, and with Pino at the helm, Heart of David has the opportunity to impact countless lives for the cause of Christ. Traveling to an average of 15-20 nations annually, Pino has personally visited more than 55 nations in the two decades he’s been leading worship. “About the time I was 11-years-old, the music light-switch just came on in me. I was kind of thrown into it at the time, and I’ve been leading worship ever since,” he says. “I have a big heart for the unreached and I believe worship is the key to unlock the nations."
Despite amassing an impressive underground following through his consistent touring and independent album releases, Pino maintains strong relationships with numerous mainstream worship leaders who have become the face of the modern worship movement.
“I feel like we have one hand partnered with our mainstream friends in the surface and one hand partnered with our grassroots friends in the underground,” he offers. “We want to leverage any influence we have to bring people together to host His presence.”
A key component of the fresh prototype he’s crafting is focused on continuous worship hosted at Heart of David in an effort to create a space where people can experience the true meaning of Church and the fact that it doesn’t have anything to do with an actual building.
“Because of my heart for the day and night worship movement that is exploding all over the earth, I think it would be a shame if Jesus only had a bride on Sunday morning,” Pino shares. “I feel like Sunday morning only Christianity is coming to an end, and I really believe that the entire earth, as we get closer to the return of Jesus, is going to begin to not just go to church but be the church seven days a week. And then our weekly expression—whether that’s a Sunday morning or a Friday night, whenever your community meets—that is kind of the cherry on top after you’ve already been the church for the rest of the week.”
Malachi 1:11 has become a central verse in establishing this vision. “We’re releasing the incense of worship all over the globe because we’re crazy enough to believe, What if that verse was actually talking about us?” Pino asserts. “And I feel like when we say, ‘yes,’ to those realities in the Scripture, we get to step into history.”
Putting this Scripture into action, with a heart rooted in worship, Pino has made his original music accessible to broader audiences through a series of eight independent releases—a mix of studio and live recordings. His latest,Rend The Heavens, is a live project that captures the raw, unbridled chemistry of the evening through original and spontaneous moments of worship. The album debuted on the top of the iTunes Christian chart in the company of new releases from Kari Jobe, Hillsong and Passion. With no overdubs, Rend The Heavens remains an untouched glimpse into a typical worship gathering led by Pino.
“There’s a human element to it,” Pino reflects. “So many times we can produce the anointing out of something because we want it to be perfect, but God says it’s not about perfection; it’s about authenticity.”
Ironically, the album’s most powerful moment doesn’t come in the form of a song but in a spoken-word testimony track where Pino candidly shares his family’s personal story of longing for a second child. After the birth of their daughter, Pino and his wife struggled with infertility for six years. Yet, the medical advice they were given didn’t align with the spiritual guidance they were receiving.
“The whole time the doctors were diagnosing us with infertility, we would have people speaking over us who didn’t even know what we were going through. They’d speak over us, saying, ‘We just feel like God’s going to give you guys more kids,’” Pino explains. “So we were in this really interesting swirl, where the doctors are diagnosing one thing, but the people of God are speaking and declaring another thing; and we knew it was true.”
Years of faith, prayer and prophetic words from trusted friends (and even strangers) eventually brought about the miraculous birth of their son. Today, Pino and his wife take their two children with them as they travel the globe. “We really value our children growing up in the Presence, and also having a global worldview of what God is doing all across the body of Christ, not just in America,” Pino says.
It’s a perspective he feels many believers in North America—young and old—fail to grasp. “I think a lot of Americans are going to be surprised when they get to heaven, and they see that God is not a white American and worship is not just white American worship,” Pino maintains. “He obviously loves white American worship, but God is the One who instituted culture. God’s the One who instituted nations, and we’re going to be really surprised when we get there and there’s an Indian flair and an African flair and a Middle Eastern flair and an American flair. That, to me, is a picture of heaven.”
As the founding father of the grassroots global worship movement he’s pioneering, he hopes to instill a taste of this multi-ethnic tapestry into his music, his ministry and his relationships. “For eternity we’re going to be known as lovers and worshippers of God,” Pino offers, “so the cool part is we don’t have to wait until we die to step into our eternal calling. Whether you’re in Australia or Israel or Taiwan or Canada or Mexico or America, you can worship Him right now, and you can begin to synchronize heaven and earth.”