Zach Dawes Jr., the managing editor for news and opinion at Good Faith Media (GFM), will leave later this year to pursue a long-held interest in teaching.
Dawes began working at EthicsDaily.com in January 2013. (EthicsDaily.com / Baptist Center for Ethics merged with Baptists Today / Nurturing Faith to form Good Faith Media in 2020.) In the decade since, Dawes has written hundreds of news and opinion pieces and edited thousands more. Under his leadership, the pool of GFM columnists has grown – and grown more diverse.
In addition to his editing duties, he has overseen GFM’s website development, including the massive tasks of website overhauls and data migration. Other duties have involved copy editing books, managing social media and marketing initiatives.
“In almost thirty years of ministry, I have never encountered a harder worker than Zach Dawes,” said Mitch Randall, GFM’s CEO. “Zach’s commitment to detail, process, and clarity benefited both EthicsDaily and Good Faith Media for over a decade. Countless columnists have benefited from Zach’s keen editorial eyes and compassionate spirit.”
Dawes served in Baptist churches from 2008-2012 after earning a B.A. from Baylor University and M.Div. from Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. While serving in a local church, Dawes started writing for EthicsDaily.com. His first column appeared on April 17, 2009.
He established himself as a regular contributor until Robert Parham, the founder of EthicsDaily.com / Baptist Center for Ethics, tapped Dawes to become the managing editor.
Dawes adopted a virtual office, like the rest of the staff, and quickly established a reputation as a dependable colleague. Watch a 2013 interview with Dawes when he took on the role.
“In addition to his obvious skills as a writer and editor, it was also evident that he was trustworthy, reliable, thorough,” said Cliff Vaughn, GFM’s media producer, who worked with Dawes in the early days. “Day in, day out, year in, year out, Zach gets it done.”
“Zach Dawes is a deep thinker, conscientious researcher, and concise writer,” said Barry Howard, pastor of Church at Wieuca in Atlanta. Howard met Dawes when Dawes was a young minister in Georgia, and their relationship deepend when Howard wrote for EthicsDaily.com and served on its board.
“Zach has generously assisted me with a variety of columns and one book project,” said Howard. “His suggestions and revisions always bring clarity to what I am trying to communicate. In his research and his writing, he prioritizes accuracy and relevancy.”
Monty Self, senior staff chaplain and clinical ethicist at Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arkansas, has written more than 120 columns for GFM since the pandemic began. He noted three specific qualities in Dawes.
“First, his work ethic is impeccable,” said Self. “Rarely, have I had to wait longer than two days for him to edit a submission. Considering GFM does 15 columns a week that is impressive. Second, his editorial skills have gone beyond technique and are an art form. He takes copy that sounds like a professor’s afternoon rant and transforms it into something that could be published anywhere. Finally, he is always gracious and supportive. His notes of affirmation and encouragement are what has motivated me to keep writing.”
When Parham, EthicsDaily.com’s founder, died in March 2017, Dawes was a key figure in the organization’s transition and stability.
“I remember well the days, weeks and months after Robert’s death,” said Vaughn. “Zach was a calming presence, a deliberative force, a steady hand. What a gift to the organization and its constituents he will always be.”
When EthicsDaily.com merged with Nurturing Faith to form Good Faith Media in 2020, Zach’s strengths were again on display.
“Zach was paramount in making the transition a complete success,” said Randall. The merger involved more than administrative blending. Combining the past and future digital resources of two non-profits also required a heavy technological lift; Dawes was the linchpin.
“Zach is an amazing mix of techie guru, deep thinker, common-sense doer, and hard worker,” said Jackie Riley, senior copy editor for GFM’s Nurturing Faith Journal and Nurturing Faith books. “And did I mention how patient he is with the over-60, non-digital crowd AND how many times he has corrected my errors?”
“He has taught me so much about the intricacies of book sales through the GFM website,” Riley continued. “Zach is the ‘behind the scene’ guy who makes all of us look smarter than we are!”
Starlette Thomas, director of The Raceless Gospel Initiative at GFM, also serves as associate editor. As such, she has worked closely with Dawes.
“Working with Zach has been a breeze, a breath of fresh air in a world filled with fighting words,” said Thomas. “While working alongside him, we have managed to put words together with the hope of building community. His kind and generous spirit is needed and I certainly wish him well on this next leg of his journey. Zach is a beautiful reminder that the Spirit is still moving.”
Dawes loves the outdoors, carving out time to spend outdoors with his wife, Peyton, and son, Will. In October 2020, Dawes and family began chronicling their hiking and camping adventures at the Dawes Outdoors blog.
“He is devoted to his work yet prioritizes time with family,” said Howard. “He is passionate about exploring nature and being a good steward of creation.”
Dawes has already begun the process of teacher certification in the state of Texas, where he lives outside of Austin. He will conclude his tenure at GFM through this summer, with anticipated placement as a special-education teacher this fall. His wife, a former minister herself, is also a Texas public-school educator.
“I have worked for two outstanding bosses, who trusted and empowered me to lead the news and opinion division, and with outstanding colleagues who I count as friends and not merely people I work with,” said Dawes. “I’m grateful for the fun, friendly, cooperative, collaborative and supportive environment that I’ve enjoyed both at EthicsDaily and now Good Faith Media, and I will certainly miss that dynamic.”
In September 2020, Dawes answered a series of questions for GFM’s “People of Good Faith” profile series. When asked about his “more to tell,” he responded:
“The older I get … the more I realize how much there is still to learn about what justice really means and looks like, and what is required of those of us who want to do our part, however small it might seem, to help move the social order closer toward equality, inclusion and welcome for all. Put succinctly, you could say that my ‘more to tell’ is, ‘There’s more to learn.’”
“A very large void will be left when Zach leaves this summer,” said Randall. “However, we are all thrilled for his family as he enters into one of the most important professions in this country. He will be a remarkable and fabulous public educator.”
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