Darrell Dunton: Called to be Christ in the intersection

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Deep in the Hearts of Texans began in 2016 by featuring pastors and grew to include denominational leaders and other ministers in Texas Baptist life. After hearing from some readers interested in profiles of Christians in the marketplace, Deep in the Hearts of Texans is growing again.

Darrell Dunton, a member of First Baptist Church in Midland and a member of the Baptist Standard board of directors, is the first Christian in the marketplace to be featured in Deep in the Hearts of Texans.

Darrell Dunton is the owner of Admarc Advertising Design in Midland, Texas, and has been in the graphic design business for 43 years. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on being a follower of Christ in the marketplace. To suggest a Texas Baptist leader in the marketplace to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.

Background

What other businesses have you been in, and what were your positions there?

Only the graphic design industry. I worked for an advertising agency in Midland as a graphic design artist for eight years after graduation from college then started my own design firm in 1983.

Where did you grow up?

I was born at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth and moved to Midland when my dad was transferred with Gulf Oil in 1957.

How did you come to faith in Christ?

Through the testimony and words of my mom in my bedroom in May of 1963. I then made a public profession that summer at a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association crusade event at Memorial Stadium in Midland, Texas, followed by a public profession at my home church—First Baptist Church in Midland—and was baptized the following week by L.L. Morris.

Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?

I received an associate in arts degree from Texas State Technical Institute in 1975. The majority of my education has come from practical life experiences.

Life in the marketplace

Why do you feel called into the marketplace?

Because I feel it offers me the best place to use my talents. I love the quote from Fredrick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I believe God has placed me at that intersection.

How does being a Christian influence your decisions in the marketplace?

It gives me a focus on what is truly important—God’s answers, not mine.

What is your favorite aspect of the marketplace? Why?

Getting to meet all kinds of people from presidents to kings and discuss their relationship with Christ in an everyday setting called life.

What one aspect of the marketplace gives you the greatest joy?

Getting to listen to others’ concerns, problems and challenges and then providing creative solutions, which are not always in the area of graphic design.

What one aspect of the marketplace would you like to change?

The misconception and sometimes belief that talking about Jesus is only to be done in a church setting.

How has your place in the market or your perspective on the marketplace changed?

The biggest change was a number of years ago when God changed my attitude that interruptions were instead opportunities.

How do you expect the marketplace to change in the next 10 to 20 years?

It will be more difficult to share your faith openly, but then again Jesus already told us that.

If you could launch any new venture, what would it be? Why?

Not sure there is anything new that can be created. I truly believe that we were all created by a creator to be creative. I would want to empower young people collectively to use their creative talents to be a force in the world to show and share Jesus.

Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your place in the market.

  1. Identity: Know who you are in Jesus.
  2. Boldness: Using that identity to be Christ in the marketplace.
  3. Humility: Using that identity boldly, tempered with a humble heart.

What do you wish more people knew about the marketplace?

That it is not partitioned but is life. It is the best place to show and be Jesus to the world because it is where Jesus spent most of his life.

About Baptists

What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?

Polarization and sometimes unwillingness to accept other traditions/styles.

What would you change about the Baptist denomination—state, nation or local?

The sometimes bulky committee structure for decision-making. Give more focus to prayer and the Holy Spirit.

About Darrell

Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?

There were a number of mentors from childhood to present like my mom and dad, my wife, Charlie Elliott, Mark Blankenship, Daniel Vestal, David Johnson, Charlie Dodd, Kim Harris, Dale Pond, Greg Smith, Jim Denison, Randel Everett and Chad Clark, to name a few. Each of these individuals have influenced my Christian walk through example, humility, words and presence.

What did you learn on the job you wish you learned elsewhere?

How to, with humility, focus on the bigger picture than the project at hand.

What is the impact of the marketplace on your family?

Because it is where I live, everything. I have tried always to keep a balance in faith, work and family. It’s not what you leave to them, but what you leave in them.

Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala; Prayer by Philip Yancey; The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson; Experiencing the Spirit by Henry Blackaby; Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski; Anointed for Business by Ed Silvoso; Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard; Red Moon Rising by Peter Krieg

What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?

Isaiah 40:31. Having worked with youth for over 30 years, the verse has special meaning, but it has grown to mean even more—the older I get—to know the hope that can only be found in Jesus.

Who is your favorite Bible character, other than Jesus? Why?

Peter, because he said what he thought, many times without thinking about the outcome, with which I very much can identify. I love his boldness to share the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.

That I am somewhat of an introvert and love time alone.

If you could get one “do over” in the marketplace, what would it be, and why?

Taking time in prayer to really “seek and know” the heart of some of my previous business partners.

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