Chad Cannon: Lists, Apps & Critiques

Chad Cannon: Lists, Apps & Critiques

January 31, 2011 by

Way back in November we started our series of interviews with board members from our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication (CFCC). This week we come to the end of this series with Chad Cannon.

Chad is a marketing and branding specialist. He’s the youngest executive at Outreach Inc., with the title vice president of sales. He’s also the general manager for Outreach Speakers. You can follow Chad on Twitter.

Let’s cut straight to a hard question: Outreach sometimes gets a negative reputation for encouraging a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach to church communication. What do you say to that critique?

Chad Cannon: That’s a great question. Thanks for allowing me to touch on this subject. As a company, we don’t and have never seen ourselves as a one-size-fits-all approach to church communication. We have continued to diversify the products we offer to churches and continue to do that. We have made a concerted effort to focus more marketing on the full custom and customization we can do for churches, which may have not been as highly touted previously, even though we’ve done them from day one. We’re all about creating communication tools for the church to become more invitational in their community.

Outreach offers a lot of different communication tools—what’s getting the best response these days?

Chad: As I mentioned in the first question, our custom services (both in direct mail & banners) are growing at rapid rates. This is because of the emphasis we’ve done from a sales & marketing approach, but also are seeing churches of all sizes want their communication to be custom (with their own photos of people in their church, logo, messaging, etc.) more than ever before. We’ve always encouraged this and offered it, but we’re seeing more people respond to it than ever before.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen churches do to communicate in the past year?

Chad: There were a lot of exciting things I saw in 2010 that churches did to communicate. I’m passionate about the American church and thus a student of it you could say. I would say the most exciting thing that comes to my mind first is what is doing with YouVersion. They had a vision to create a Bible app/interface to be used on the computer and on mobile devices. It’s amazing to see how it’s grown (reading plans, number of minutes read, notes, etc.) and when  you start talking about billions of minutes being spent in the Bible through this app/interface, that’s exciting! If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re in the wrong business.

Outreach is also known for some of its lists—largest and fastest growing churches. What can we learn from these lists?

Chad: I was a fan of this magazine before working at Outreach and am now an even bigger fan after working at Outreach. Our team does a phenomenal job each and every issue. I love the controversy that this issue of the magazine creates and the dialogue it creates. At the end of the day, numbers represent people, and those people represent a story of potential life change. Churches should be about numbers. Churches should be measuring how they’re doing in attendance year over year. Let’s not forget, Outreach publishes  a Small Church issue every year that touts what small churches are doing across the nation each and every year. The Top 100 isn’t there to just elevate the mega church or diminish what small churches are doing across America.

What do you see down the road for the Center for Church Communication specifically and church communication in general?

Chad: I’m excited about the future of CFCC. The opportunities are endless, I believe. I see CFCC becoming a large network of church communicators/creatives that will provide resources and tools for churches to communicate more effectively. I see this being similar to what is doing through creative professionals in the business world, but this being more targeted towards church communication.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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6 Responses to “Chad Cannon: Lists, Apps & Critiques”

  • Josh
    January 31, 2011

    Great insights Chad. Thanks for sharing. I love that Outreach is all about customization and that they’re so great at doing whatever they can to serve the local church. With bright guys like you working in the market with a passion for the local church, the future is bright!

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  • Alex
    February 1, 2011

    As much as I would love to believe cfcc would be like behance it won’t. The lab has been in beta way to long, full of promises and all talk. The community is just not as strong as it used to be, i’m sorry but it’s not.

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  • Michael Buckingham
    February 1, 2011

    The team of volunteers that make the lab happen are actually talking about that very thing and looking at some tools that I think are very promising.

    I’m certainly looking forward to putting flickr behind us as well. Though I do think it has and even continues to serve designers well, it is good to see the energy and excitement being put behind a move.

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  • David Bunce
    February 1, 2011

    I have to disagree a certain amount with the premise (“church should be about growth”) suggested in this article: church growth is not always the best measure of a church’s health. Consider the following scenarios:

    1) A church which is small and faithfully serving an ageing group of parishioners. They are faithful to the calling of Christ on their lives but seeing no real change in numbers. Many people in the community are being helped by social projects the church runs, but this doesn’t transfer into bums on pews.

    2) A church which is growing exponentially, but in which discipleship is very shallow. People go on a Sunday morning to get a spiritual high, but this doesn’t transform into a committed group of people.

    3) A church which was popular but many people leave when the church preaches an unpopular message for the sake of faithfulness (for instance, imagine the result if, for example, a church preached against the Afghanistan or Iraq wars soon after September 11)

    Which is the better church – hard to say, but I would be reluctant to suggest it is church #2, no matter what attendance the numbers say.

    By all means, let’s use marketing to serve our mission. But let’s not get that mixed up with faithfulness.

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  • Terry Reed
    February 3, 2011

    All churches regardless of size should be concerned with outreach. The great commission demands it. However, it does not necessarily follow that all churches will get large. The number of small churches that are healthy is far greater than the megas. And by the way, it is great that a small church issue is put out each year. As a small church pastor and advocate (see my blog at it is good to know that God’s blessings on these wonderful congregations is not going unnoticed. God bless!
    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

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  • Lauren
    February 8, 2011

    Maybe it’s high time some of the churches re-brand themselves to be more relevant to the outside world. They could start by having a new church logo designed by professional logo design companies that are able to offer 100% satisfaction guarantee. In the event they don’t like the design, they can still get a complete refund.

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