Pickers and grinners - musicians from Contemporary Music Ministry
Pianist and singer
Jenni Dollahon grew up in Sperry, Oklahoma. She first experienced First Church while attending The University of Tulsa. After graduating, she got married and moved to Dallas. When she and her husband BJ were expecting their first child, they decided to move back to Tulsa to be near family and for the smaller city atmosphere. This lead them back to First Church, which they had already been visiting when they would come to town to see family.
Jenni has always loved singing and grew up playing piano, so she joined the worship team. “God has given me the desire and ability; I want to use that for Him.” I asked her how First Church has affected her faith. She said, “Bolstered. I don’t mind being a sheep because I know my Shepherd is good. At Small Groups, often our scripture-based discussions bring the songs we sing to mind. I struggle not to burst into singing them immediately.”
Dr. Eric Olson is originally from Athens, Alabama. He and his young family moved to Tulsa for his work as a professor of finance at TU. He heard of First Church in a very unique way. “I teach with Jimmy Inhofe’s sister in Italy during the summer. She put me in touch with him and he invited me.” Eric plays guitar and piano for the worship team. “Music has always been a part of my life, and to have it as part of the most important part of my life (my faith) is just natural. Hopefully it helps others in their worship as well, but I know I’m getting more out of it than anyone who hears me play.”
When asked how this Church has affected his faith, he said, “It’s really helped me get plugged back in. As an academic, I love the deeper intellectual life of the Church. We have no family here so the Church is our community, friends and support system.” He also said, “Dr. Miller is my favorite, but don’t tell the others.”
Scholarship Cellist Jennifer Burleson (sister of chorister Carolyn Burleson who was interviewed in the last issue of Tidings) is from Tulsa and joined the worship team in the fall of 2019. A new job has now taken her to Maryland, but she has been an integral and unique part of our team. Jennifer grew up as a church goer and “had always wanted to be on a worship team but (cello) wasn’t a thing Churches we attended were using.” She went on to say, “First Church has made me feel very welcomed and accepted and more a part of the community than any Church I’ve been in. Here, I feel known.”
As to how First Church has impacted her walk with God she says, “First Church has helped to renew my faith. COVID-19 made me realize there are no certainties in life, but this Church and the Lord were here for me and gave me purpose and faith.”
These stories about Jenni, Eric and Jennifer are just a few examples of the many faithful volunteers that make up our Contemporary Worship Team. I (Eric Baird) am so grateful for each who are willing to give of their time and talent to serve the Lord and His Church. What a blessing!
Each one of our team members live Psalm 100, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing.”