Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Thoughts On The Campus Crusade For Christ Name Change

As a nineteen-year-old college sophomore at Central Michigan University, I reached a crisis of belief. I had been raised in a Christian home but had come to the point of questioning much of what I thought I believed. I came to the realization that my parents believed strongly in Jesus, the Bible and the Church but I came to the conclusion that I didn't think I did.

And then, to borrow a phrase from author Brennan Manning, I was ambushed by Jesus Christ. A friend had given me a book published by Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) that explained the concept of having a personal relationship with God in a way that I couldn't ever remember hearing before. I read the book and a four-point outline in the back (commonly known as The Four Spiritual Laws) and invited Christ to be the Lord of my life. I have never been the same since and I have Campus Crusade for Christ to thank for it.

Over fifteen years ago I joined the staff of Campus Crusade because I feel that there is nothing more important in life than seeing a person's life transformed through a relationship with Christ.  So it is with keen interest that I have followed the discussions of the past couple years in which our organizational leaders have explored the possibility of a name change for CCC.  Earlier this week at our biennial U.S. staff conference, it was announced that we will be changing our name in the coming months to "Cru."

Since I had the privilege of learning of the new name with a small group of leaders in the organization a couple days before the announcement was made, I was prepared when the new name was shared with over 5,000 of our U.S. staff.  What I was unprepared for, though, was the amount of coverage in the mainstream media that this news would generate.  Mainstream outlets such as CNN, USA Today and The Huffington Post have all posted front page stories of the change in the past couple days.  On the day of the announcement, "Campus Crusade" was a trending topic on Twitter.

Over the past number of years, it had become apparent to many within our organization that our name was not helping us in what we feel our primary calling to be -- sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ with those that are far from God.  The word "crusade" carries a significant amount of baggage and had become a hindrance in many circles because of its historical connotations.  In fact, many of our campus chapters had begun using a different name locally years ago in order to increase effectiveness on campus.

For many within the Christian community, our name is a benefit and brings credibility to those with whom we interact.  For most non-Christians, however, our name is a turn-off that limits conversations before someone has even had an opportunity to interact with them.  Our name change has nothing to do with being ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ.  It is because we want to proclaim Him that we believed that this change was necessary.  To help illustrate this point, please check out this video that vividly demonstrates how the change of words can make a difference:



Words do matter and because we felt like the words within our organizational name was preventing us from doing what we are called to do, we have decided to change it. The question is not how this affects those who are already Christians but how it affects those we seek to reach. There has been a backlash from some in the Christian community who feel like we are kowtowing to the political correctness movement and that we have left our calling. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our name may be changing but our mission stays the same. We are still committed to sharing the gospel, building believers and sending them into the world to establish spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone that truly follows Jesus.

There are some Christians that have legitimate questions about the decision making process in changing our name and those questions can be addressed by following the link near the end of this post.  But for those that identify themselves as Christians and are overly critical of this decision, I ask you to do a heart examination. If you have never personally stepped out in faith to share the gospel with another person, if you've never had the privilege to see another place their faith in Christ, if you've never personally invested your life into the spiritual life of another or have never left your family and home for the sake of the gospel, then may I suggest that you seek the Lord on how you can personally be involved in His mission rather than criticizing those that are already doing it.

It is far easier to sit within the four walls of a church and talk about ministry than to actually go out and do it. There can be no argument that the staff members, volunteers and students of what will now be known as Cru are wholeheartedly committed to the Great Commission. There are critics in the mainstream that think we're too evangelistic; now there are critics in the Christian world that think we're somehow ashamed of the name of Jesus. No matter what others say, we will continue to go to the four corners of the earth to let everyone that will listen know that "God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life."

For further information on the Campus Crusade for Christ name change, please check out these resources:
* Frequently Asked Questions about the name change can be found on the CCC public website here.

* Christianity Today's article about the change can be found here.

* Thoughts from my colleague, Shawn McGrath, on his perspective about the process of the name change can be read here.

15 comments:

S. Morgan said...

AMEN !!!

Tiff said...

Amen!

Rich said...

Well said! I Have to say that it is sad that the Huffington Post did a better job of telling the story than Fox News!

REM said...

Could be a good move, could be a bad one. Don't know, I'm not an insider anymore;)
I loved the word "crusade" and think some people hogtie it to the worst possible historical understanding of that word. This type of neglect of history, lazy categorization and being frightened of words, I just don't understand. Seems like it bothers more liberals in our country than so called people who would be categorically offended by the terminology. And we both know from experience that ministries that geographically would be offended by that word "crusade" don't hear the phraseology "Campus Crusade for Christ" to often already.
Honestly, I thought the Stateside campus ministry should have been the only thing called CRU (sounds like it was largely happening) and the CCC moniker was a big ole container filled with multiple ministry names anyway. But with no dog in this fight, those are my 2 pennies. Soapbox dismount. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

I was on staff with CCC for 10 years. I completely agree with what is written here! My Jesus name be made known widely for the glory of God!

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous move! Can't believe you are doing it.

Travis Todd said...

Think you have said it well

Kerry B. said...

Nicely stated, and the video is a good illustration. Thanks.

Bob Andrews said...

Very well stated!

Glenn Beck said he would invite a CCC representative onto his radio program after he piled on and viciously attacked the name change idea and CCC. Looks to me like you should be the one to answer that call.

John Kirkwood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
scottcrocker said...

For those of you that are interested in learning more information about the Campus Crusade name change, you can find more on our public website at http://www.ccci.org/cru.

Kara said...

As one who has gone to the other side of the earth, thank you for your post!

So grateful to be part of an organization that is pressing forward to present Jesus to the world, instead of retreating into a fortress mentality. I challenge any critics to learn about what our staff are doing! And join in!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how evangelists have been able to use the word crusade for so long. Would Billy Graham have to change the name of his meetings now? I am shocked that the word would have that kind to effect. Also why remove Christ from the name along with crusade?

Mike Anthony said...

"But for those that identify themselves as Christians and are overly critical of this decision, I ask you to do a heart examination. If you have never personally stepped out in faith to share the gospel with another person, if you've never had the privilege to see another place their faith in Christ, if you've never personally invested your life into the spiritual life of another or have never left your family and home for the sake of the gospel, then may I suggest that you seek the Lord on how you can personally be involved in His mission rather than criticizing those that are already doing it."

This is the second Cru site I have been to that implies rather slanderously that those who criticize this move have a lack of heart for the lord to obey his great commission and should check themselves because they are in a deficient camp that have never been involved in ministry, have never invested their life in reaching people for Christ and never been involved in ministry.

Please stop it. I ask you to do a heart examination.

I've worked with CCC in the past, I have brought people to Christ I have left the states to serve the body of Christ and care and act to reach the world for Christ. I understand that you are being attacked in circles but to try and imply that any Christian having an issue with a the name of Christ being removed from a organization in order to be more "effective" needs to do a heart check is not a spiritual response its just assuming that those that disagree with you are automatically less spiritual. Yes I know you did not say that but it is CLEAR that you implied it and that alone is very similar to what you claim people are doing in regard to the name change - assuming a spiritual lack.

Cru is not the only organization reaching the world for Christ and it borders on a kind of arrogance to assume that any part of the body that has serious issues with the name change is "not involved in doing it" but just criticizing.

scottmcrocker said...

Mike,

Thank you for your comments and your perspective. I do feel like it's important to note that I did not claim that everyone that disagrees with this decision is not committed to Christ. I did not write that and I do not believe it. In fact, there are many sincere followers of Jesus (and even some CCC staff members) that do not agree with this decision so there is certainly room for disagreement on this matter.

My point in using the strong words that I did, which you quoted, was to ask people that were being rather publicly and unusually critical of this decision whether they were personally proclaiming the name of Christ themselves.

We as staff members of CCC have been accused of being ashamed of the name of Jesus. That is a serious charge that I felt needed a response. Furthermore, I believe that our track record as a ministry demonstrates that we are committed to making Jesus known and willing to partner with anyone who is focused on the same. What I was trying to do was ask people to look at themselves to consider whether what they were accusing us of might be something that they need to look at in their own lives.

My provocative comments were not intended to be an insinuation that CCC members are more spiritual than others or that there couldn't be disagreement on this subject. There are multitudes of churches, denominations, mission agencies and individual Christians that are also committed to the Great Commission. I am grateful that you are one of them. I apologize for not being more clear with my thoughts.

As has been publicly commented on, we felt like the word "Crusade" was a hindrance to our witness and that the name "Campus" did not accurately reflect all the ministries of CCC. In deciding that those words in our name needed to be changed, it then became difficult to find a new name that also included "for Christ" that isn't already being used by another organization.

I think many of us were caught off guard by the media response of "dropping the name of Christ" because from our perspective, that was not at all the reason for the name change.

Can I ask why you personally take issue with the name change? In understanding the need to drop the "Campus" and "Crusade", is there another name that you think would accurately reflect who we are that included "Christ" but isn't already being used by another Christian organization?

Thanks again for your feedback.

Scott