Category Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Musician or Artist?

by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

Are you a musician, an artist, or both? Are the best musicians artists? This post attempts to answer these questions.

In the secular world, you can watch any popular singing talent show and hear the judges tell the contestants that ‘artists’ make the song their own. And it’s the incredibly talented ‘musicians’ that back-up the singers.

The Musician
A musician is a person who plays an instrument to make pleasing sonorous sounds either solo or in joyful combination with other musicians. Musicians can be highly technical and accomplished to the point of sight reading nearly any piece of music and from any style or genre. They are detail oriented and like things ordered.

The Artist
By contrast, an artist usually has the musician’s skill set but adds to it an individual interpretation. The artist is a creative type by nature, she sees things a bit differently, she innovates and interprets a piece of music beyond the printed notes – they like to be the ones with the box of crayons. He is a trendsetter with something burning in his heart that he just has to share. The artist is more personal and less of a perfectionist and typically uses the right side of the brain more. Artists tend to be somewhat thin-skinned, sensitive and more emotional than other people. The artist sometimes needs the musician to help bring their musical creation to life.

Both are needed in God’s kingdom. Both are servants. Both are gifted by God. Both are passionate. Both are loved by God. Both are God’s children. We need both. We encourage you, as the church leaders to foster a community that engages both in harmonious worship.

The Church
Unfortunately, in the traditional church where Steve and Mike roam, the musicians tend to dominate and the artists are somewhat looked upon with judgmental suspicion. This is sad because it’s what’s in the heart that matters. But based on the definitions and observations mentioned here, both musicians and artists can have humble, servant hearts with a passion to serve their Lord and the congregation. Let’s put it this way, King David was most likely both an artist and a musician.  

In the church, we actually need to learn how to harness the artist’s gifts better. Here is some advice:
  1. Artists are particularly well suited for special events such as concerts, picnics, outreach events, teen groups, special bible studies, festivals, etc.  Give the artists a little room here and watch their imaginations bring glory to God.
  2. Artists can be used in the worship service but might need a little guidance from the Pastor in terms of song selection and protocol.
  3. Combine the artists with the musical worship team for a bounty of beautiful music.
  4. Have the artists work with your musicians to help to improve their craft, and vice-versa.
So which are you?  Me (Steve), I am a musician and not a very good one. Mike, he’s an artist and too humble to say, so I’ll say it for him – he is a gifted one. In the end, it of course doesn’t matter; what does matter is your belief in Jesus as your personal savior from sin.

A special thanks to Mike Westendorf for joining me on this post and sharing his insights. Mike is a church ‘musician’ and a recording ‘artist’ in the Milwaukee area. For more information, or to discuss booking arrangements at your church, contact Mike at:


Other places to learn more about Mike and his music:

Talents, Gifts, Passion, Knowledge and Wisdom

Talents, Gifts, Passion, Knowledge and Wisdom

When passion, talent, gifts, wisdom and knowledge align – fireworks happen.

All of these items are different, and some people have the whole enchilada. I say that, because God doesn’t want you to throw Him a bone, He wants the whole enchilada.

Talent is expertise in method, technique and approach. Talent is God-given.
Gifts also come from God. Paul mentions 18 or so in his texts. We must discover and develop our gifts.
Passion = Talents + Gifts
Knowledge = Information
Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge to achieve a worthy result.

Here’s the thing, gifts and talents should never be used solely for ourselves

“Talent is God-given.
Be humble.
Fame is man-given.
Be grateful.
Conceit is self-given.
Be careful.”
– UCLA Basketball Coach John Wodden



“To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable.” – Ludwig Beethoven

I know a thing or two about passion. I sing contemporary music with passion. I wish I could sing hymns with passion, like most Pastor’s I know can do. But God, for reasons known only to Himself, has not given me these gifts. So I cope.

But it is a blessing to know your passion. I am blessed and I am grateful. It took me 50 years to find this passion. Who knew?

Many people work their entire lives and dislike what they do for a living. In my life I have served every Church Council position invented. I wasn’t very good at any of them in spite of my best efforts. I finally found my passion when God led me into the position of leading contemporary worship with a guitar. Passion happens when your gifts and your talents line up.

I have learned that you cannot fake passion. Passion makes you do crazy things. It is the fuel that drives your dreams and makes you happy to be alive. It invites you to worship your Maker wholeheartedly for stirring these passions within you.

Your life will turn around once you find your passion. It will be filled with purpose, hope and fulfillment.

My passion feeds my faith. I look forward to Sunday worship like never before. I read my bible like never before. I pray often. I listen to Christian music all the time. I can feel the Holy Spirit working in my life like never before. I understand our church’s doctrines like never before. My passion has become my life.

I really don’t know how to direct you to find your passion, but perhaps this will help:

  1. Think about what you naturally do well.
  2. Look to the bible for insight and wisdom. If you don’t know where to start, consider reading a few proverbs a day. It will change your life.
  3. Pray for help in discovering and honing your passion.
  4. Get out of your comfort zones.
  5. Don’t look at what you need. Take inventory of what you already have and strive to master it.
  6. Don’t let anyone discourage you, especially if you feel that it’s God’s will for your life.
  7. You are God’s handiwork. Don’t get discouraged by what others might say.
  8. Determination, humility and persistence are good things to have.
  9. In what area do you want to make a difference?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ” – Hebrews 13:20-21

Have you witnessed passion in worship?