In 1981, Cannon was a University of South Carolina student, interning with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). More than 30 years later, he has been asked to replace Rod Mays as the ministry coordinator.
A Philadelphia native, Cannon has spent the past three decades in pastoral and campus ministry roles in cities from Melbourne, Australia, to New York. In January, Cannon plans to leave his position at Red Mountain Church in Birmingham, Ala., and take the helm at Reformed University Ministries (RUM).
What excites you most about serving as coordinator for RUM?
I feel like I’m coming home in some ways. RUF is not a very old ministry, and I was among the first generation of college students who were impacted by the ministry back in the early 1980s. I’m excited about getting back to ministry in the university environment, to be involved with college students growing in Christ. I’ve really missed that. I’m also looking forward to seeing the ministry poised to grow into areas in which the PCA is not strong.
What are some areas where you envision future growth?
We’re particularly looking to grow in areas of the West and Midwest, and continuing the growth started in the Northeast. We’ve also seen some really encouraging growth in the Rust Belt states.
What are some particular challenges facing campus ministries these days?
There’s been a shift in the cultural environment, particularly related to gender issues and sexuality. In response to this, we have an opportunity to maintain an open-door policy and share the Gospel graciously, but also to be clear that the Gospel takes a different stance on these issues than the rest of the culture. There is the potential that the university will view us as being narrow and limit our access on campus. We have always understood that we are guests on any campus. They have rules, and we play by them, while maintaining our integrity.
Moving forward, how do you think RUM will have to adapt to become more effective?
As we expand, we will need to be creative, particularly as we enter networks where there are few PCA church plants and funding.
We know that you are married and have three grown children. What else can you tell us about your personal life; what do you like to do in your free time?
I have to confess that I have a fairly disturbing devotion to Philadelphia sports teams. As well, I play in a middle-aged garage band filled with men my age pretending to be 14.