This year is significant for two reasons. Firstly, this year marks 60 years since Bill and Vonette Bright started bringing the Gospel to students at UCLA. The other part (which you may have heard about throughany number of news outlets) is the announcement of our new name on Tuesday night. Starting in early 2012 Campus Crusade for Christ will be known simply as “Cru.” I think this is a good choice and will serve to make our ministry of lifting up Jesus Christ and His Gospel even more effective.
Unfortunately, some of the media coverage – particularly in the Christian media and the politically conservative pundits – have questioned the heart behind the name change. I’d like to take a moment to assure you that we have not lost our commitment to Christ or to the Gospel even one iota. We live and breathe the Gospel, everything we do is so that people will respond to the Gospel and Christ will be glorified through their belief and worship.
I know this might sound a little backwards, but it’s Jesus renown that led our leaders to make this choice.
Our name has been a significant hindrance to the Gospel. As CCC looked into the possibility of changing our name over the past three years, there was one fact that stood out that made us know that we had to change it – of people who said they were willing to have a conversation about Jesus 20% said they would no longer be interested when they heard the name “Campus Crusade for Christ.” That means that 1-in-5 people who might be open to the Gospel became closed to the Gospel when they heard our name. That is an incredible loss in effectiveness.
Campus Crusade for Christ, and indeed none of following Jesus Christ, has ever been about “making a stand” for Christianity – we have always been about bearing witness to the Good News that Jesus Christ has come to save us! It is Pharisees that care more about making a stand than bringing people to the saving knowledge of their Savior. Our Lord was humble and we must be as well.
All of this is to assure you – we have not changed who we are. Language changes over time, and words that meant one thing in 1951 carry very different baggage 60 years later. We, just like John Wycliffe – the first man to translate the Bible so it could be understood by the common people of his day – have to be shrewd enough to know that changing our language does not mean changing what we’re about. As a matter of fact, sometimes we have to change our language to continue to be who we’ve always been.
This is not about political correctness, it’s not about hiding who we are and Who we’re about; it’s about people hearing about Jesus in a way that they will respond to it.
If you have any questions, please contact Carrie and I or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Campus Crusade for Christ website.