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Common Ground : Guest Blog from Josh Miller (Sixteen Cities)

Sixteen Cities on stage in a Washington State church.  (photo courtesy of Sixteen Cities on stage in a Washington State church. (photo courtesy of

It’s powerful to think that when you start a song as a worship leader on Sunday morning, there are hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country worshipping at the same time.   Many will even be singing the same songs, some reading the same verses, and all glorifying the same God.  It’s an amazing privilege to be a part of it.  I go to a fairly small church of about 150 people, where I know most people by name, and most would also know me.  You walk into church, and you feel like you’re a part of a community.  

Sunday morning services, however, are only a part of my ministry as a musician.  Most days are spent travelling throughout the country, putting on concerts, worship events, and conferences.  We perform in front of thousands of people a month, playing in churches, schools, and auditoriums.  These events are quite the contrast from my weekend church service experience! The sound system shakes the walls, the lights turn the stage into a psychedelic oven, and the energy in the room is electric.  Kids everywhere are jumping up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs, searching for a way express the excitement they feel.  These are powerful nights.  There’s nothing more thrilling than to see thousands of young hands raised in worship to our Creator.

As a part time worship pastor, and a full time Christian artist, it can be difficult to find cohesion between these two worlds!  Saturday nights I’m being pressed for photographs and autographs. Sunday morning I fellowship with people I’ve known for years, able to invest in deep and long term relationships.  They know me for me. Even the worship experience is different! Our church services look little like a concert, and much more like a community gathering. We’re much less concerned with energy, and much more focused on intimacy.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experiences in these worlds, it’s that music is a tool to facilitate worship, not worship in and of itself.  Regardless of what style the services is, what kind of atmosphere or demographics, our job as worship leaders is to give glory to God. It’s important to have that be our focus, in whatever atmosphere we find ourselves in.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

Paul’s talking about a willingness to do whatever it takes to lead people to Christ. As a worship leader and artist, I believe my job is to find common ground with those I’m there to serve, and to do the same thing Paul is taking about.  And as followers of Christ, we should always be on the lookout for ways to bring others closer to Him.  Whether you’re leading for thousands or for one, the purpose is the same.  




Joshua Miller is the rhythm guitarist for Christian band Sixteen Cities. When the band is not touring, Miller still serves his calling in life as the worship pastor at his home church, Rock Creek Church in Portland, Oregon

We are thankful for Joshua’s willingness to share his insight into the dual role he plays as both worship pastor and entertainer with our readers at .  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.