Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I'm the communications pastor in my church. People inevitably ask, and you may be wondering also, what does that mean? What does a communications pastor actually do? For the past year, I haven't really known how to most effectively answer that question. What I usually say in response is that I manage the website, create print pieces, produce videos, and so on. But that just doesn't really seem to capture it. And seriously, why do you need a pastor to manage the website?

It occurred to me Sunday afternoon while sitting at a table with some newcomers to PCC, and after giving the standard stale response, what my job actually is.

I'm a storyteller.

My role as the communications pastor is to effectively, passionately, and consistently tell stories; the story of God's redemptive love for each and every person...the story of Pathway, and how God is using our church to activate his plan of redemption in our community...the stories of people who have been gripped by His Grace and who's lives have been transformed as a result. Now, to tell these stories, I may use our website, print material, videos, or maybe even the Twitter. But those are just the tools, they're not what I do. What I do is tell the stories.

Because I'm a storyteller. And everyone has a story to tell. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I drove by a house on my way to a hardware store a while back, and noticed that the house had a "FOR SALE" sign in the front yard. As I returned from the hardware store a few hours later, however, I noticed that the same sign in front of the same house now said, "SOLD." I thought to myself, "Wow! That was fast!" I didn't think much else of it.

Then a few days later, I was driving to the same hardware store and drove by the same house. This time, I realized that the SOLD label was missing, and it appeared the house was back on the market. Coming back from the hardware store, however, I was surprised to see that the house once again had the words SOLD boldly written across the FOR SALE sign.

Then it hit me...the house was both for sale and sold, depending on the direction from which you were looking at the sign. A quick glance in the rearview mirror confirmed this suspicion as I drove by. It struck me as a humorous demonstration of how critical perspective is, and how important it is to understand the other's point of view.

There could only be one right answer. The house couldn't be both for sale and sold at the same time. Certainly the sellers would want to make sure this was straightened out, and they would know which it was. It was either sold, or it wasn't. But you and I, depending on which view we had of the sign, would argue until we were blue in the face what we saw. We might even stand facing each other, with the sign between us, adamantly stating our case based on what the sign was telling us. Imagine the frustration! "Listen, buddy...I can read, and I'm telling you, the sign says SOLD!" "Oh, yeah! Well I think you need to get your eyes checked, 'cause I'm looking at the same sign, and I don't see no SOLD sign!" "You calling me an idiot, moron?" "Who are you callin' a moron, idiot!"

The problem is our perspective. Which of us is right? One of us is. But if we'd just take the time to see it from the other's point of view, we'd see the problem and realize that we both need new perspective. Only one person could tell us for sure if the house was really sold or not, and that would be the buyer! And even then, you might argue the buyer's bank...but that could derail the illustration, so we won't go down that road. Ed Young wrote:
Perspective is critical, is it not? We do not always have the understanding we need to correctly evaluate the world around us. Even those of us who are Christians are guilty of having a "flatland perspective" that does not take into account the wisdom of God. He sees things we cannot, and His understanding is infinite.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV84)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

To Whom do I Belong?

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 NIV)

Is my life my own? That's something that turns again and again at the core of each person. And my natural inclination is to say, "Yes! I am my own person. My life, my rights." This verse reminds me that I am not my own. I belong to the Lord. He sought me, and bought me, as the old hymn goes. I am his. 

But I belong to so many others, as well. And I believe that if I truly desire to honor God, then I will live to honor Him through these relationships, as well. I am His, and I am theirs. 
  1. My wife, Amanda Jo Dunaway. She took my name over twelve years ago and pledged her life to me, and I my life to her. I belong to her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
  2. Breanna Jo Dunaway. God gave her to me 10 years ago, and blessed me with the wonderful charge to be her father, and to be her daddy. I cannot say my life is my own, it belongs to her. 
  3. Sophia Grace Dunaway. God saw fit almost nine years ago to grant me another daughter, to whom I belong. I am her father, her daddy. 
  4. Gibson Eric Dunaway. God knew my heart and my desire to have a son, and he gave me this young man five years ago. He will spend his days watching me, observing me, and taking what he sees and hears as his very own lessons on manhood. I am his father, his daddy, and his model for becoming a man. If I ever believe I am my own, then I reject the truth that I belong to Gibson. 
  5. Ellie Laine Dunaway. Two years ago I became the father and daddy to this surprise blessing of a young lady. My life is hers as much as it is mine, because I am her father and daddy, too. 
  6. John and Ellen Dunaway. They gave me life, raised me in a nurturing and God-honoring home. My life bears the mark of that love, even in how I love my wife and my children. I am theirs, too. 
  7. Bob and Shanna Chapman. They raised my wife, are grandparents to my children, and now my life is forever linked to theirs. 
  8. Pathway Community Church. This is my community of Christ followers, where I lead, serve, worship...and at the end of the list, work. My life is woven into the lives of every single person who serves and attends there, as well. 
And I'm sure the list could go on. My siblings, and Amanda's siblings. Our extended family. Our network of friends, both past and present. The older we get, the more people become part of our stories...and we belong to each one of them. How I live, how I tells a truer story than what I say...and it impacts so many more than just myself. 

I am His, and I am theirs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Creativity of the Creator

Then the Lord said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31:1-5 NIV)

Earlier in life, I came out of the gates - into independent adulthood - as a graphic designer. At one point, I even forsook my calling to pursue a career in graphic design. Fast forward several years - eight, to be precise - and I was offered an opportunity to transition away from small group ministry into communications at our church. 

I waivered on this. I knew that God had wired me in such a way that I could creatively, and somewhat professionally, design brochures, graphics, logos, videos and so on. And I was happy to offer that where I could. But would a transition to full time communications simply be me wandering back to that stumbling block which lured me away eight years before? 

Then I came across these verse, shared by Jon Ortberg in his book The Me I Want to Be. God revealed to me that he created me, designed me, crafted me, to be who I am. That person is one who thrives in creativity and enjoys opportunities to craft and design - whether it's a logo, brochure, or video piece. That's me...that's my sweet spot. Why would I pursue something outside of that? If the best Me I can be is one who has the opportunity to think creatively and strategically about communications, designing and leading at the same time, then why wouldn't I do that? 

When I read about Bezalel, I think about how significant - and overwhelming - his job was. He was tasked with designing and crafting the original tabernacle of God, all it's furnishing, including the Ark of the Covenant, and he had very specific and explicit instructions on how to do so. I was tempted to minimize art direction to something less holy or pastoral - something beneath the endeavors of one who is ordained in the ministry of the gospel. And yet when it came time to build God's dwelling place among his beloved people, God sought a man who possessed the creativity and skill to see it done. Moses in all his leadership abilities lacked the skills necessary to accomplish these specific things. God needed, not just someone who could lead, but he needed a creative. What's more, Bezalel's role in the Kingdom was such that God saw fit to mention him in the Scriptures. 

I believe that our creativity is the residue of God's fingerprints on each of us. Whether we write, make music, draw, design, scrapbook, take pictures, make movies, or build things, it all stems from the fact we have been created by a God who contains within the very core of his character the original spark of creativity - that essence which prompted him to form us, our world, and all within it, from the passion of his very being. That is the ultimate expression of creativity, and it resinates within each one of us. And it is through our own expressions of creativity that we tap into the heart beat of our loving, masterful, powerful, creative God.  

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today, Amanda and I are heading to the church to tape a video that will be shown at our Family (Baby) Dedication service this Sunday evening. We're finally having Ellie dedicated…just a month before her second birthday. As part of that video, it's our responsibility to provide a prayer for Ellie. Since I love to blog, and I've been in a sappy mood since yesterday's post, I thought I would just post it up here.

Ellie Laine Dunaway has been an enriching, inspiring, and joyful blessing that we never thought we'd have. When she announced her impending arrival, we were thrown for a loop. Four kids! But Ellie has been the piece to our family that we never knew was missing until we met her. She brightens each of our lives every day with her spark for life. She has this spunk about her in the way she runs through our house, her mischievous giggle that keeps her big sisters awake at night, and her love for interpretive dancing. She also loves people - she usually whimpers when we leave her in KidCity at church, but is blowing kisses to the nursery workers when it's time to leave. Her hair - both beautiful and wild at the same time - really personifies who Ellie is, that spark of life that fills our home with a new and unique joy. Our prayer for Ellie is that she would never loose that spark…that God would help her grow into the woman he created her to be - a person who loves her God, and serves Him with her whole life; that God would help Amanda and I, as her parents, to lead her in that journey of discovery, salvation, and growth. With the help of our family, friends, our church, and the Holy Spirit, we commit to being models of Christ-centered servants, fully surrendered to Him, ever growing in our own journeys of faith.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Precious Privilege

A few weeks ago I had one of the dearest experiences of my life as I was able to baptize my oldest daughter, Breanna. Early in my ministry I quickly discovered that baptism was one of the most beautiful facets of my "job." And since then I've anticipated the opportunity I would hopefully have to baptize each of my own children.

On November 12th, 2011, around 5:30 in the evening, I was able to see part of that prayer answered in Breanna's response of obedience to her understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My father-in-law was in the water with us. He and my mother-in-law have had such a pivotal influence on Bre, and it was both special and appropriate that he was there to share in that experience. My father was unable to be there due to a recent knee surgery, but his presence would have been equally special and appropriate as we acknowledged the impact of godly leadership on future generations being manifest in Breanna's ten-year-old life.

As a pastor, I had been scheduled to "baptism duty" in that service, and had baptized three other individuals prior to Bre. I actually thought I was going to hold it together. As Bre entered the water, however, I immediately felt the sudden constriction of emotion take hold in my throat. With a very feeble and wobbly inflection, I introduced Bre and my father-in-law, and tried to convey the significance of this event for me and my family. As I turned to pronounce her baptism, there was little I could do to curtail the emotion. What a rich experience this was for me, my family and Breanna.

I have to admit, however, that I struggled with Bre's readiness just days before this took place. As I sat at the table with her, and asked her some questions to prepare her for her testimony, I wasn't sure if she "got it." I wrestled with letting her go through with this if she couldn't offer what I thought were - not just the right answers - but what I perceived to be genuine answers.

The truth is that I see too much of myself in Breanna. I am the oldest child in my family, like Bre, and I too wanted to do the right thing if it pleased my parents and others from whom I sought approval. I was, and am to this day at times, the master of fronting a great exterior. In my adult life I've had to confront these tendencies, realizing that much of my earlier years of faith were marked by inconsistency, insincerity, and a relationship with Christ that was largely taken for granted. I was baptized at a young age, and grew up without a clear sense of the significance that it held for me. And I was fearful of allowing Bre to continue in that same trajectory.

Through some great conversations with my wife, my dad, and some of the children's ministry staff at our church, I came to realize that Bre was making this choice to follow through in something that she understood to the ability best afforded by her ten years. Her decision was genuine, and bold to say the least. Who am I to decide that she shouldn't go through with it? Besides, would I only squelch the desire to ever attempt it again? How could I stand in her way?

My prayer is that Breanna will continue to grow daily in her understanding of the salvation she's received by the grace of God, through her faith in Jesus Christ; that she'll grow to realize the significance of a life that could only lead to spiritual death, but has been rescued by the blood of Jesus Christ; that she would grow to understand what it means to love and live for Him in every moment of every day. These are lessons that I'm still learning as a 34 year old man, 26 year follower of Christ, and pastor of 8 years. Breanna is on her own journey, and my job is to do all within my spirit-enabled abilities to shape her faith - not just through my words - but with my life.

Lord, help me to model a Christ-centered life before my wife, my children, my church and my community. Help Bre grow in her understanding of who you are, and her love for you. And move in each of my children that they would come to know you.


Eric Dunaway

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blank Expressions From My Couch

Today I had the rare vocal outburst while watching the Colts. I've been disappointed - even frustrated - with the Colts' performance in past seasons. But this is the first time I can honestly say that I've been disheartened.

It would be one thing if the Colts were competing; putting some points on the board, putting up a good fight...I might find some consolation in a string of losses if that were the case.

But it's not.

The Colts went from a Super Bowl contending team to an 0 and 10 team overnight...and they only lost one player. They look like a bunch of small town college hacks playing against pros. Most of the time, they can't even approach the line of scrimmage without false starting, fumbling, or going 3 and out. Our quarter back had two interceptions given back to him, but - through his own steadfast determination - succeeded in finally being intercepted on the third attempt.

It's like they haven't worked on a single thing through the week to prepare for their opponents. What are the coaches doing to prepare these guys?

I will forever be a Colts fan, win or lose. But I can't keep watching them when they perform this poorly.

That's all I have to say...I'm going to watch a movie.

Eric Dunaway

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Sudden Realization

Android phones are crap.

That is all.

Eric Dunaway

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lessons in Communication

There have been a few things happen in the media lately that have become case-studies in communication. I thought I'd just blog them as a reminder to me.

First of all, there's been the whole Netflix fiasco. First they hike up the prices, while almost immediately announcing that a major content provider (Starz) has backed out. On the heels of all that good news, they announce that their movie by mail service will become a separate service under a whole new brand, new site, new account, and everything. What happened next - their stock dropped by almost half. Next thing I know, Netflix is eating crow and I'm getting an email stating that they've changed their mind, and won't be splitting the company after all. This serves as an example in poor communication.

The next example comes from the most profitable company on the planet - Apple. Several years ago they rolled out their "cloud" data sync service called MobileMe. For $99 a year, you could store all your data in the cloud and have it synced to all your devices. This month, Apple put their loyal fans through the hassle of changing all that when they switched to their new cloud service, iCloud. How did we respond? With school-boy giddiness. This was partly due to the fact that the service is much more effective, and free. But still, Apple killed a product they had marketed for a very brief amount of time to unveil a new service that does essentially the same thing...and they did it successfully. This would be an example is good communication.

Finally, let's talk about another highly successful company, Google. For all that Google does well, there's one thing they just can't seem to get a handle on, and that's social media. Just last week it was announced that Google was officially giving up on their previous attempt at social media, Buzz. Some will argue that their current go is seeing some staying power with Google+. But the real thing I think that's worth taking away from this is that huge company's take big risks to innovate. Even company's like Google occasionally fail. And that's okay.

My thumbs are tired.

Eric Dunaway

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Downside

I'm becoming quite a tech blogger these days. Not really. But it has been a popular subject recently. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I recently upgraded phones to an iPhone 4...something I was excited about because of the way technology allows my world to get in "sync". The newest software for Apple gadgets was released yesterday, and I was more than a little excited. It allows me to keep my tablet, phone, work and home computers all synced up with no need to ever connect a cable.

The only problem was that in order to sync my computers, I had to upgrade the OS to Lion. Not a costly upgrade, but time consuming. Then I had to download the software for my phone and tablet...not a big deal under normal circumstances. But when several MILLION people are doing it at the Same time, it gets pretty slow...and, again, time consuming.

Then there are the joys of getting it figured out and working properly. Several hours of downloading and installing, and two calls to tech support later, I'm happy to say that it works.

But I have to say that it didn't do much for my productivity yesterday. Today will be different.

Eric Dunaway

Sent from my iPad.