Several days ago I returned from two weeks in Ft. Collins, CO, where I attended the U.S. Staff Conference of Campus Crusade for Christ. This was the 60th anniversary of Campus Crusade (and also the 45th anniversary of Keynote). We celebrated together as our leaders reminded us of the incredible things God has done in the past, and we also recommitted ourselves to the mission that God gave to Dr. Bill and Vonette Bright 60 years ago: to help fulfill Christ’s Great Commission by launching spiritual movements of Christ-centered multiplying disciples everywhere throughout the world.
There was also a very big announcement made at the conference: in 2012 Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. is changing its name to Cru.
While I admit that I have an emotional connection with the original name (after all, I’ve been a staff member for 33 years, and was involved in the ministry as a student for four years before that) I welcome this change. Our ministry expanded past the campus decades ago, and most people now associate the word “crusade” with the medieval wars between Europeans and Muslims rather than with evangelistic outreaches.
Actually, the idea of changing the name has been tossed around for a long time; I remember hearing that Dr. Bright was considering it when I was working in our ministry in Canada in the 1980s. (By the way, the Canadian ministry changed its name a few years ago to Power to Change Ministries, and the vast majority of Campus Crusade affiliates in other countries have chosen different names as well.) Then in the mid-1990s a few U.S. campuses started using the nickname “Cru”, and since then it has spread on a grassroots level to colleges across the country. In spite of that, it was only one of 1600 names considered, and it almost didn’t make the final five.
When I heard details at the conference of the two-year renaming process, I was impressed by the amount of prayer and research that went into it. The biggest eye-opener for me was this statistic: in the U.S., 20% of people willing to have a conversation about Jesus are less interested when they hear the name Campus Crusade for Christ. In other words, our current name pushes away one out of every five nonbelievers who are otherwise open to the gospel.
When a name becomes a hindrance to the mission, it’s time to change the name. The more barriers we can remove to people hearing the gospel, the better. One of the student bands with Keynote’s Summer Project received this comment from an audience member:
“Those songs started opening the brick wall I had between me and God and now thanks to the band that wall that was up is no longer there!”
That is exactly the heart behind changing the name of the organization–we want to break down walls, remove barriers and dissolve distractions so that the gospel of Jesus will be heard with absolute clarity. We are and will continue to be a caring community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ.
You can see the official statement, frequently asked questions, video statements from our leadership, and more at http://www.ccci.org/cru/. There’s also a great article on Christianity Today’s website called “Campus Crusade Changes Name to Cru”. If you still have unanswered questions after reading these resources, please contact me, as I would be happy to discuss them with you.
Thank you so much for your partnership in this mission!