Facts and Questions about Mike

In just a few words, how would you describe your heart as an artist?

- I'm an encourager at heart and my greatest hope is that we would see the scriptures alive in the world around us. To do that, we do what the psalmist encourages "make known his faithfulness through all generations". I love seeing a church with that culture, that through the generations, we would sing of His great love forever. My hope in concert and in worship is that God would use me to inspire or to "Breathe into" the people who come so that they would leave refreshed.

If you were a bible character, who would you be? -

I would say I identify with a guy mentioned a few times in the New Testament who's name was Tychicus. He accompanied the Apostle Paul on some of his missionary journey's and is mentioned in Acts, Ephesians, Colossians and Titus. Paul would often send him to encourage a local church or to give a local pastor a chance to come and see Paul or do something for the ministry Paul was engaged in. I love the church, because Jesus loves and values the church as "the bride of Christ". Since I am an artist, that means I tend to travel and in my travels to different churches and people, I hope to encourage the faith of people in and around the Church so that many more may be saved and brought into the fullness of life that Jesus is talking about.

What is your musical style? -

I personally love all kinds of musical styles and often joke that I'm a mix of Simon and Garfunkel, Handel's Messiah and Alice in Chains with a touch of Dave Matthews. And true to that, I'm involved in music that brings elements of folk, classical, jazz, rock and pop. In general, I would say Acoustic/pop/folk with a touch of rock and jazz styles would probably be the best way to describe my trends. I adapt to the musicians that I can afford to bring and to the style that is needed for the venue and what we are asked to do. So a lot of diversity and fun to our music, but at the heart of it is the lyric and the story. The music will fit to make that clear.

We like a quieter more intimate music setting, what is an acoustic concert like?

- Depending on how many musicians join me, these are often more of a storyteller concert. I enjoy bringing an audience into the stories of the songs and then helping them sing a song as they are comfortable. It's a lot like a conversation, we'll have some fun and audience participation, but the heartbeat is the story and the song.

We're looking for something a bit louder and fun with a Christ centered message, Do you have a Full Band to take it up a notch?

- We have some great musicians that have partnered with me over the years so we definitely have the ability to take the volume up. Some popular Christian bands that my full band is often compared to would be David Crowder Band, Building 429, Chris Tomlin, Toby Mac, Gungor, Steven Curtis Chapman. We really want to bring the audience into the music and the songs and we bring our best to do that. But even here, it's about the story that we're telling with the songs and the experiences with the hope that they will point clearly to Jesus as the author and perfector of life.

How do you lead a worship service?

- I grew up in liturgical settings and have an appreciation for our heritage and tradition. The fact that we stand on the shoulders of men and women, who in faith helped to create and sustain the local church. I have also worked in contemporary music for the past 8 years, including over 5 years in campus ministry in Milwaukee and have tried hard to develop contemporary worship that fits the content of Lutheran worship, while using the language of the culture. With that said, my diversity allows me to work directly with the pastor to serve the congregation well, while ensuring they have a song to sing. Some of the songs may be familiar, they may be new, but the hope is still the same - that we will sing of this great love forever and experience the word of God alive in our lives today.

How long have you been involved in ministry?

- My work in ministry started when I was in high school coaching basketball and eventually leading youth groups and serving on church boards. My formal involvement in music ministry started as a soloist singing solos from Handel's Messiah and eventually migrated to writing songs on guitar and have led to my work with the church and campus ministry. I have a tradition of pastor's in the Westendorf family and though I am not one, I see ministry as the realm of all people. So I've been involved on a professional level since 2004, but we're all a part of it, even if we're not on a stage with the title of pastor or a microphone.

We're looking for someone who can speak at our conference, what can you share with us?

- With a diverse background as a broadcast meteorologist and over 25 years of coaching/teaching experience and 6 years of involvement with college students, God has blessed me as a storyteller and communicator. From music to ministry, to culture and campus to the weather, there are a lot of topics that I can share, bringing God's word into the conversation along with a song or two.

The economy is tight, What does Mike Charge for concerts and worship?

- We want to be able to say yes to as many good opportunities as we can. Like everyone, we do have bills to pay, but we work with you so that we can work together with excellence. In worship settings, I usually ask for a free will offering and the opportunity to make the ministry resources, CDs, shirts etc.. available to people who would like to take that home with them. For concerts, we can suggest a budget depending on what you would like to do, the impact you'd like to have and the number of musicians it takes to do it well. The bottom line is that we will do everything we can to work with you to make it a great event, be it worship or in concert.