Campus Crusade for Christ, publisher of EPA-member publication Worldwide Challenge, announced that its organizational name within the United States will change to Cru over the next several months. The July 19 announcement was made to staff members during the organization’s U.S. staff conference in Fort Collins, Colo.
Cru, a shortened form of the word “Crusade,” has been used by local ministries on many campuses over the last decade. (The word “Crusade” is problematic, due to its historic meaning.) The organization also hopes to move away from the “Campus” identity since they now have ministries to many segments of society.
Campus Crusade’s board of directors and selected ministry leaders have been considering the change for at least two years. Steve Sellers, U.S. director for the organization, announced that it would be considered at their biennial conference in 2009. Most staff members present applauded eagerly.
Wide-ranging surveys sought input from people in many categories, including staff members, volunteers and donors. But those identified as key were likely future volunteers and those in the general population who might be willing to engage in a conversation that could lead to an evangelistic discussion. Both of the last two groups had negative responses to the current name, but almost no negative association with the new name.
Releases were sent to the media once staff members had heard the announcement. EPA member ChristianityToday.com posted the news soon after (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/julyweb-only/campus-crusade-name-change.htm), as did such outlets as USA Today and Fox News.
Since the announcement was made, much has been said in the media and over social networks about the change. Some reports—or at least headlines—indicted that the goal of the change was to remove the word “Christ,” but that is not the case according to Sellers.
As the story made headlines in the media and social media discussions grew, he pointed out that Jesus’ name is being discussed in formats where it was not a week ago. In a follow-up discussion with staff members regarding the name change on July 22, Sellers said, “if we get hammered in the media, and the name of Jesus gets lifted up, I can live with that.”
Campus Crusade has set up a site with more information at: http://www.ccci.org/about-us/donor-relations/our-new-name/commitment-to-christ.htm.
As an international and legal entity, the name Campus Crusade for Christ International will remain the corporate name. Beyond the United States, the organization in each country will chose a name as appropriate, as has been the case in the past.
Note: Mark Winz is a member of the EPA board of directors and the editor in chief of Worldwide Challenge, the magazine of Campus Crusade—or Cru. As a Cru staff member he recognizes that the new name will take some getting used to, but is in favor of the change and believes the new name will open doors to presenting the gospel.