In the past 8 weeks everything has changed – well, just about everything. Our jobs, our family, our location, our organization’s name. Everything except the God that has led us here and His calling on our lives.
And not a Wink to Sleep
The biggest change happened on June 9th. Our beautiful daughter Sofia (or “Fia”) was born at 2:20pm after 26 hours at the hospital. Since then it’s been a roller-coaster ride. Eight days later we had packed up our apartment in Orlando and left to drive to Carrie’s parents’ home in Pennsylvania with a stop-over at Jayson’s parents’ house in North Carolina. A piece of advice — avoid 1,000-mile road trips with a 1-week-old.
In the past 7 weeks we’ve struggled to get Fia to nurse and gain weight. This affected our summer plans – the biannual staff conference is going on as I type, but we were granted an exemption due to these unforeseen difficulties. There was good news at today’s appointment; she’s up to a sturdy 8 lbs and the 6th percentile!
All Tribes Both Great and Small
In our May letter, we mentioned that Jayson will be working with the Jesus Film Project at our headquarters in Orlando. The past few weeks have given much clarity to the picture of his new job.
In the past 30 years Campus Crusade for Christ has translated the Jesus Film into almost 1,200 languages. It has been (through the work of CCC and other organizations) viewed more than 6.3 billion times. It’s is the goal of Jayson’s team to enable the next 6.3 billion to happen in the next 10 years.
The primary focus of Jayson’s new team is the growing mass of people connected to the internet around the world. A 2008 study concluded that India had 81 million people on the internet; further studies estimate that number to increase to between 237 and 276 million by 2015. If you consider India along with China, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil (representing 45% of the world’s population) – the number grows to 1.2 billion people by 2015, more than three times the number of internet users in the US and Japan combined!
The demographics of the world are changing as well. Each week more than 11 million people around the world are moving into cities – that’s the equivalent of the entire New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas each month! In cities they’ll encounter media and film as well as new ideas, cultures and faiths. This is where we’re aiming.
As the number and quality of Jesus Film Project resources continues to increase, our goal is to engage the spiritual journey of billions of people immediately before and after their choice to follow Christ. In the coming months, I’ll try to feature some of them on our website Whelpley.org.
Campus Crusade for Christ will be known as "Cru" in the US.
Rime and Reasons
The other big news is Campus Crusade for Christ’s name change. Beginning in 2012, Campus Crusade for Christ inside the United States will become known simply as “Cru”. (Internationally, very few of our ministries still go by our current name anyway, most have chosen Agape, Power to Change or something else.)
In the US, our name has become a liability. As our leaders did due diligence in considering a change, they found that 20% of people who say they are willing to have conversations about Jesus declined to do so when they heard our name. That’s 1 in 5 people who are willing to talk about our Savior who are turned off by what we call ourselves! This can not be.
We have changed our name because we want Jesus Christ to be glorified. Since the announcement, some commentators have accused us of being ashamed of the name of Christ – we are not. Every part of this choice is so that more people will be able to hear Jesus’ name in conversations built on trust and friendship. We’ve been told we need to “take a stand for Christ,” but mere stand-taking is for Pharisees, moving forward with the Gospel is what Jesus has called us to. Just having our Savior’s title in our name is setting the bar too low – it is in action that we desire to be faithful in bringing people to worship of Jesus Christ.
Please, rest assured – we (personally and corporately) are still completely sold out for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are pursuing all to bring glory and honor to His name! We have not changed who we are – merely our name. “A rose by any other name…”
Sofia’s continued health and growth and for her feedings to get easier.
Our time raising support. We must be at 100% before moving back to Orlando.
The negative media coverage of our name, that it would somehow serve to glorify Jesus according to Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:8.