Joshua Miller, Dustin Erhardt, Chad McCutchen and Joel and Josiah Warneking make up the modern-rock band Sixteen Cities. The five guys, all in their early 20s, discovered their passion—to minister to those in an unchurched environment—while performing regularly in high school. After graduation they felt called to full-time music ministry but didn’t see how they could also continue ministering to students. All that changed when they connected with the ministry Common Ground, which produces concerts, games and gospel presentations in public schools.
As the band’s popularity grew in the Northwest, God’s plan for them became more and more evident. “We never dreamed of becoming famous, but our contacts developed naturally, and we found one door after the next opening up for us,” Josiah Warneking says.
With their self-titled debut, Sixteen Cities wants to convey a message of hope. Josiah says of his songwriting approach: “God’s a real person in my life and not just someone I only talk about with Christianese lingo. … It’s all about showing [people] how real God is and to rise above the status quo and truly live for Christ. Sixteen Cities is more about challenging and pressing kids to make the most of what God has for their lives rather than living a life of complacency.”
“Just Wanna Dance” is a fun track about the freedom Christ offers. The ballad “Pray You Through,” which sounds similar to songs by Tenth Avenue North, is a reminder that when we don’t have words of comfort to offer others, we can pray.
The piano-based “Come As You Are” declares the Lord’s desire for us to approach Him: “You can come as you are / You can never fall too far / You can run to My arms / And I will heal your broken heart.”
Sixteen Cities’ music certainly attracts audiences, but it’s their authenticity and lyrics that encourage listeners and give them life-changing hope.
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