Our nonprofit parent the Center for Church Communication (CFCC) has announced that Chuck Scoggins will be our new executive director. Chuck has been a familiar face around here for several years, helping with the Church Marketing Lab, the Job Board, several Creative Missions trips and working on some of our ebook projects, including Dangerous: A Go-to Guide for Church Communication and Getting Started in Church Communication: Landing a Job. He steps into a position that has been vacant since early 2013 when Justin Wise stepped down.
Looking to what’s ahead, we sat down with Chuck to talk about church communication.
We’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of Church Marketing Sucks. How have things changed for churches in the past 10 years?
Chuck Scoggins: In terms of communication and marketing things have changed quite a bit. We’ve gone from marketing being a dirty word and “church marketing sucks” to it being common for churches to have a person in charge of communication. It’s not uncommon at all for churches to have large percentages of their budgets allocated for communication. Even small churches are starting to have designers and web developers on retainer. And leaders in churches that don’t have some type of communication plan are at least beginning to gain the awareness of how they are missing out. The Center for Church Communication and Church Marketing Sucks has had a big role in that.
In some other ways, not much has changed at all. Churches still have the most important story ever told and a charge to tell it in a way that engages people and propels them toward life change. That is why the work we’re doing here is so significant. As people encounter more and more noise in life, and are hit with more marketing messages every day, they’re desperately searching for something to grab ahold of that can help them. We have an enormous responsibility to craft the message of the gospel in a way that makes it stand out in the noise.
Where do you see things moving in the next 10 years?
Chuck: I firmly believe we are going to see churches become highly strategic in the next 10 years. Whereas right now churches are getting their heads around the idea that marketing and communication is important but are lacking in strategic execution, over the next decade we will become much more effective. Perhaps we will even see the church take the lead in terms of media, content delivery and other “new” forms of marketing.
What’s coming soon from CFCC? What secrets can you spill?
Chuck: I don’t know if there are any big secrets to spill, but there are a lot of exciting things in the works. For example, we are hard at work on launching the Church Marketing Podcast. We are also talking about what the next Certification Lab might look like. Plus, we will continue to roll out tools like our recent Getting Started series of ebooks. We are always having a dialog about how to better serve our community, how to provide better resources, who we might be able to partner with to keep moving toward our mission of helping churches communicate the most important story ever told.
I think our folks are going to like what they see from us in the next year or two. I’d definitely recommend staying tuned.
You’ve been helping us out as a volunteer for a while now (thanks!) and now you’re moving into a paid position. How does that change things for you?
Chuck: It’s truly been a pleasure to serve. When I was a full time church staffer focused on communication, CFCC and Church Marketing Sucks were a huge resource for me. I love the idea of being able to pay it forward.
On the micro scale, not a lot will change for me personally. As you said, I’ve been doing some of the executive director tasks already. At the macro level, what I am most looking forward to is helping to support the team that makes things happen around here on a day-to-day basis, helping to grow that team, and working more with strategic planning and strategic partnerships.
You’re joining a line of great directors at CFCC—Cynthia Ware, Justin Wise and Tim Schraeder. Where will you take this organization?
Chuck: Those are definitely some big shoes to fill I am humbled to follow in their footsteps. Cynthia, Justin and Tim are heroes of mine and they’ve laid an amazing foundation for this organization to be successful for a long time. From the beginning, CFCC has been known as the place to go for answers to your church communication questions. We’ve been the champion for the importance of excellence in church branding. We will continue to do and be all the things that we’ve been in the past, but I think you’ll also see us be more of a producer of practical resources. We will help churches move from “yeah, this stuff is important” to “we feel equipped to do this stuff well.”
What’s your least favorite thing about church?
Chuck: My least favorite thing is when churches use being a church as an excuse to not be excellent. The message and calling we have is too important to settle for anything less than the best we can be.
What’s your favorite thing about church?
Chuck: My favorite thing is when the church is functioning properly…reaching its full potential. There is nothing better than seeing God use the talents and creativity of his people to give people hope and life. The idea that we get to play a vitally important role in all of that blows my mind and gets me excited. So, let’s do this!