This past July the Music/Worship Pastor Search Team received an email from Jon Elliff, pastor of Makakilo Baptist Church near Honolulu in Hawaii. Pastor Elliff calls Oklahoma City home (he attended Christian Heritage Academy while his father Tom was pastor of First Southern Del City.) Having become aware of our search for a Music/ Worship Pastor, he was writing to recommend to us, Jonathan Dirrim, who has now served alongside him in two churches, Makakilo Baptist Church and Highland Park Baptist Church in Bartlesville. The timing of this communication was providential. While Jon and Jonathan enjoy a wonderfully close friendship and a great working relationship, the press of family needs for the Dirrims and our church’s needs for a full-time Music/Worship Pastor coincided. His in-laws live in San Antonio and are in poor health (his father-in-law is a retired Spanish-speaking pastor.) Since Jonathan’s wife Chriselda is an only child, they both feel a deep sense of responsibility for her parents and thus felt that it was time to try to be closer to them. Jonathan meets all of the criteria set forth in our profile and the elders feel that he will be a wonderful fit for our staff and the church. He and his family will be with us for a brief visit on November 10th and will be introduced to the congregation that morning. He will join the staff and begin serving as our Worship & Pastoral Care Pastor on December 22.
Philosophy of Music Ministry
David wrote: “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as You know, 0 LORD. I have not hidden Your deliverance within my heart; I have not concealed Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness from the great congregation:’ (Psalm 40:9-10) The most important musical entity in the church is the congregation. The instrumentalists, the choir, the praise team, and the music leader all work toward the goal of supporting and assisting the local body of Christ in their singing to the Savior. As David illustrates, the glories of the Gospel cannot remain hidden away. Rather, they must be declared for the benefit of the whole church! The truths of Scripture are gladly proclaimed through music to teach and admonish one another and to encourage thankfulness to God (Colossians 3:16). The primary aim is congregational singing to the glory of God.
If you had to classify my musical preferences as they relate to the church, you would probably say that I am “blended” in my approach. I will use solid hymns that have stood the test of time along with newer songs from reliable sources. As mentioned on my resume, I enjoy the music of Keith & Kristyn Getty, Sovereign Grace Music, and Matt Boswell. I find their music to be theologically sound, well-written, and singable. These writers also conduct themselves with excellence and grace. I will use various instrument and voice configurations depending on the availability of those who serve. On a normal Sunday at my church, you will see some combination of two or three vocalists, acoustic and bass guitars, cello, trombone, drums, keyboard, flute, and piano. Choral music is also a personal favorite of mine. I enjoy preparing choirs to assist and encourage the congregation in their praise. Our choir currently sings once a month in the worship service and works on special music for seasonal services. It is a privilege to help those with musical gifts to spur on the corporate praise of our King!
The corporate worship of the church includes much more than just singing music. There is the preaching of the Word, the prayers of the saints, the confession of sin, the observance of the ordinances, the giving of offerings, and so on. Yet as a part of worship, God has given us the gift of music, to serve as a powerful tool in glorifying Him. Throughout the history of God’s people, you will find music present. We see the entire book of Psalms in Scripture that was sung by the Israelites. We see David appointing Levites to assist in the praise of God, both instrumentally and vocally (1 Chronicles 15:6, 22; 16:4-7, 25:1). We have an account of our Lord Jesus singing a hymn with His disciples (Matthew 26:30). We have the account of Paul and Silas singing hymns amidst persecution, undoubtedly recalling these lyrics and melodies from previous gatherings for worship (Acts 16:25). We have New Testament commands to sing to one another, making melody in our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-21). The weekly gathering of the redeemed should include singing together.
How has God specially equipped you with spiritual gifts and specific passions in service?
The fruit of God’s work in my life is best seen by others. Any good thing you may see in me is owing to His transformative work and is solely for His glory. I enjoy administration and organization for the purpose of clear communication within the body. I also enjoy serving in behind-the-scenes tasks around the church. No job is too dirty for me! In particular, it has been rewarding to improve our sound and video equipment little-by-little here at our church. I have learned a lot along the way and hope to continue to use this knowledge to help others. I take 1 Corinthians 10:31 as a general principle for whatever I’m asked to do: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God:’
“My entire theology can be condensed into four words: ‘Jesus died for me.'” –C. H. Spurgeon
Makakilo Baptist Church (Hawaii) 2015 – Present
- Planning worship services in conjunction with other pastors
- Facilitating the weekly worship services
- Building the worship team through rehearsals and devotions
- Establishing a new church choir; presenting seasonal services
- Coordinating the church’s audio and visual needs
- Overseeing maintenance of the church website
- Organizing the prayer ministry of the church
- Teaching in adult Bible studies
- Providing leadership for church events and conferences
Worship Pastor / Highland Park Baptist Church (OK) 2008–2015
Worship Associate / McKinney Bible Church (TX) 2005-2008
Masters of Music in Church Music
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (TX) 2005–2008
Bachelor of Science
Mid-America Christian University (OK) 2000–2003
Some quotes from Jonathan’s references
“He is an expert pianist and really great with all of the typical church music ministry, but he is also truly a pastor – leading, discipling, teaching and doing all kinds of other ministry.”
“Jonathan is one of the godliest men and one of the greatest servants I have ever known.”
“His music is uplifting and helps us praise God.”
“Jonathan does so many things aside from leading in worship – he leads our prayer ministry, teaches fairly regularly, and spearheads all our special events.”
“You have said, ‘Seek My face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.'” –Psalm 27:8