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Beyond The Radio Waves : Josiah Warneking – Sixteen Cities

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 (photo courtesy of


Long before I ever performed a concert or wrote my own song, I was a worship leader. I didn’t have dreams of touring the country or hearing my music on radio stations. All I knew was that God deserves to be worshipped, and I wanted to use my gifts to praise Him. For me, singing was a way to truly express my heart to God. I wasn’t even a very a good singer at the time, but I had a passion to worship.

It is because of this desire to praise God that I started leading worship on my public school campus. This student-led ministry was actually the beginning of my band, Sixteen Cities (three of our members were a part of this ministry in high school). We would basically gather every Wednesday morning before school to sing songs and pray together. It was a way to unify the believers on our campus, and encourage one another to be unashamed of our faith and share about Jesus in our school. We believed so strongly in this ministry that we dedicated ourselves to promoting it on our campus, even though our peers would often ridicule us for our zeal. However, we didn’t mind, because we knew God had called us to reach our friends by glorifying God.

This was my background in worship music. I never really thought about radio singles or WOW Worship compilation CDs. I didn’t know about CCLI or GMA. All I knew is that worship songs connected me to God in a way like nothing else could.

After high school, we formed Sixteen Cities as a full-time music ministry, touring the country, leading worship, and ministering to students. We began writing our own songs and eventually signed a record deal with Centricity Music. I was slowly being introduced to the Christian music industry as a whole. At times I would see things that were disheartening, but I also discovered some amazing ways worship music is being spread throughout the world. I realized how Christian radio plays an important role in unifying the body of Christ, and giving worship leaders new songs to introduce to their churches. It’s amazing how congregations all over the world can join together in the same songs of praise to God.

Of course there are parts of the music industry that are far from perfect, and it could be easy to become jaded and skeptical. But I’ve always tried to remain optimistic and trust that God will be God regardless of our iniquities. The Bible says that “even the rocks will cry out” if we do not praise Him (Luke 19:40 NIV).

So whether it’s blasting from radio towers across the nation, or resonating from our hearts, God in worthy of our worship. 



Josiah Warneking is the lead singer for Christian band Sixteen Cities.  Josiah keeps his perspective for worship in balance on the entertaining stage as well as on stage in his home church as a worship leader.

Josiah and the other members of his band are an amazing group of leaders with hearts that, I feel, are in the right place with worship.  I am honored that they are willing to take time out of their schedule to spend a little devotional time with our readers to pour out their thoughts on worship.  We encourage you to check out his band, Sixteen Cities, (follow them on Twitter @sixteencities ) and – thanks to their record label (Centricity Music) – we have an opportunity for your to win one of three autographed CD’s of the self-titled album, Sixteen Cities.  For details, and to enter, simply click on the album cover below.