How and when did Sixteen Cities get started?
Our guitarist, Josh Miller, and I met in high school, at a campus with over 3,000 students. Being in Portland, Oregon, the idea of Christianity wasn’t overtly popular, especially at our school. For instance, when we went to our freshman “See You At The Pole,” there were only four students. Instead of becoming discouraged about the lack of Christian community on our campus, we decided to do whatever we could we reach our peers for Jesus. The best thing we could think of was to start a worship and prayer ministry on Wednesday mornings before school. What started as a small, student-led ministry, grew into a much bigger move of God. By our senior year, there were over 500 students at our school’s “See You At The Pole,” and we knew God had done a powerful work in our lives and our school. We were all good students and had scholarships and a plan for college, but felt like God wasn’t finished with us in regards to music ministry. We made a few independent albums before signing with Centricity Music several years later. Four albums and a couple Top 20 radio songs later, we’re in a season of creating worship music for the church, and focusing on leading authentic worship, both at our church and on the road.
How did you choose the name Sixteen Cities? What is the meaning behind the name?
Our name comes from the Bible. Sixteen cities was the inheritance given to the tribe of Issachar by the Lord, as part of His promise to the Israelites (Joshua 18-19). The men of Issachar were set apart as the ones “. . . who understood the times and knew what Israel should do . . .”
(1 Chronicles 12:32, NIV). Like the men of Issachar, we strive to be a band that understands “the times,” and points people to the grace and glory of Jesus.
What are some of the ways you’ve seen God use your music to impact others? Any neat stories of how you have seen Him at work in the lives of those who listen to your music?
Our hope has always been that people would see Christ in our music, and through it, be able to worship God more passionately. God has used some of our songs in powerful ways to speak to people’s hearts, especially in the darkest times of their lives. For instance, one of our older songs, “Pray You Through,” has been an anthem for countless people going through life’s hardest stuff. And while songs from our previous albums did great ministry, our heart has always been to create worship songs that glorify God. So our latest album, “The Depth of Your Love,” is full of songs written from Scripture, that are meant to be used as worship songs. We’ve already heard from people who have connected with God like never before through one of our new songs. Because the lyrics of our songs come from God’s Word, people always tell us how much they appreciate the truth embedded in these songs.
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