Right now, we are in Fort Collins, Colorado and are in the midst of Campus Crusade for Christ’s biannual National Staff Conference.
This year is significant for two reasons. First, 2011 marks 60 years since Bill and Vonette Bright started this movement by bringing the Gospel to students at UCLA. Second, this year is the announcement of our organization’s new name.
Starting in early 2012, the U.S. chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ will be known simply as “Cru.” We are excited about this decision, and we stand by our leaders and believe it will better serve the mission of taking the message of the Gospel to the world.
We naively figured no one would notice this change.
But people noticed. Lots and lots of people noticed; and some dislike the new name. Unfortunately, some of the media coverage has questioned the heart behind the name change. And many exercised their freedom of speech on this issue.
Though this presents some challenges, the reality is that Jesus’ name is being heard all over the thing we call the Internet. People likely saw, Googled, Tweeted and Facebooked the words “Campus Crusade for Christ” a lot these last past few days. On the day of the announcement, “Campus Crusade” was a trending topic on Twitter.
Perhaps people read about Jesus for the first time and learned something previously unknown. Praise the Lord. No such thing is bad press when that happens.
As Steve Sellers, our U.S. National Director, said Friday night, “if we get hammered by the press, but the name of Jesus is being talked about everywhere, I can live with that.” I praise God for the humility of the men leading this movement.
Erick and I wanted to address you — our ministry partners, family, friends, and alike — because you are a part of this movement. We wanted to assure you that we have not lost our commitment to Christ or to the Gospel. We love, live and breathe for Jesus, everything we do is so people will respond to the Gospel and Christ will be glorified.
“Our mission remains the same. To help fulfill the Great Commission and to give every person a chance to say YES to Jesus. It’s the same mission that God gave to Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951.” Steve Sellers, appearing Saturday morning on Fox and Friends.
In the last few years, it became apparent to our leadership that our name was not helping us in our primary calling. The word “campus” does not adequately represent all our ministries in the United States and confuses our constituency as well as potential partners. The word “crusade” — while common and acceptable in 1951 when we were founded — now carries negative associations.
Over the years, many of our campus chapters used a different name locally in order to increase effectiveness on campus. For example, our movement in Central Wisconsin is called, “Student Impact.”
We are not ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ.
This is not about political correctness. It’s not about hiding who we are and the God we serve. The only name that matters is Jesus, and what matters most is to connect people to the name that gives life.
Words matter. We have not changed who we are. Sometimes we have to change our language to continue to be who we’ve always been.
To help illustrate this point, please check out this video:
You may disagree with the name change. Voice your opinion in a respectful, biblical manner. My only request is that you do so after being informed about what it is you are critiquing. It is often the most uninformed who are the loudest critics.
We will continue to go to the four corners of the earth to let everyone who will listen know that “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”
If you have any questions, please contact Erick and I, and please check out the Frequently Asked Questions document about the name change on the CCC public web site here.