The Name Change

     By now you may have already heard but a few nights ago at the National Staff Conference in Fort Collins, Campus Crusade for Christ officially changed its name to Cru after 60 years.  While the news may or may not come as a shock to you, there are a lot of opinions flying around about the name change right now and I wanted to let you, our friends, family and supporters know the heart behind it.  Personally I believe the name change is a great thing and despite what people/media/blogs/whoever might tell you, a name change does NOTHING to change the mission and vision of our organization.  We are as committed as ever to seeing college students around the globe come to know Jesus and figure out what it means to walk with Him.

     I remember the first week I was on campus at San Francisco State as an intern 3 years ago (wow, has it been that long?), the team and I were tabling at the beginning of the semester with a sign that said in big letters “City Cru” and in much smaller letters “Campus Crusade for Christ at SFSU”.  Within an hour I remember seeing more than a few people stop to read our sign, see the word ‘crusade’ and give a head shake of disgust and walk away.  It all culminated when a student actually stopped, read the sign, looked at us and yelled, “Crusade?  That’s pretty f-ed up”.  I can remember sharing with people on campus, trying to get into spiritual conversations to get to know a person and introduce Jesus to them.  When our name came up, there were almost physical reactions of walls being put up and conversations would end.

     The reality of Campus Crusade for Christ is our mission, hope and vision is for college students to have an opportunity to know the truth, love, mercy, grace, and life of Jesus Christ.  We desire to build relationships with college students from every walk of life and relationships are built through conversations.  In a city like San Francisco the simple fact is a word like 'crusade' is a barrier to the gospel of Jesus because it almost immediately causes people to a) associate you and the organization with THE crusades b) puts both you AND the person you are trying to get to know on the defensive which c) causes the person not to trust you and to want to pull away from the conversation.

     One of my friends (ok, one of my bosses) who is finishing up his doctorate at Fuller in Christian Ethics in the public sphere said something super insightful to a group of us recently.  What he said was if you look at the history of the church over the past 2000 years around the world and even in America until the early 1900's, what has characterized it especially in times of growth and revival is that Christianity was a 'first word' movement.  Christians were concerned with walking with Jesus and meeting the needs of the communities around them, healing the broken, feeding the hungry, living a lifestyle of sacrifice and grace and all the while sharing the love of Jesus in word and deed.  But in the past 100 years the church in America has shifted to become a 'last word' movement.  He pointed out that today it seems like Christianity in our country is more concerned with making America a 'Christian nation' by legislating it into our laws and trying to 'reclaim' the culture than it is with actually walking with Jesus.  I suspect a lot of the push back against the name has more to do with this 'last word' Christianity than actual concern for the spreading of the Kingdom of God, as if changing our name means we've 'lost' some sort of cultural battle.  The name change was the result of years of prayer with the leadership of Crusade seeking the Lord faithfully and humbly through a long process.  It wasn’t an arbitrary change for the sake of political correctness but a change meant to further the Kingdom of God and spread the name of Jesus.
     The reason Alex and I joined staff with Campus Crusade in the first place wasn't to make some sort of political point, or to bash culture or to push certain social beliefs on people but to share the incredible true life Jesus offers to all; I've said it many times, but we were made to follow Jesus, we find our true purpose when we surrender our lives to Him and everything else, every issue, every debate, every concern, every cause pales in comparison to the question of where you stand with Him.

     Below are a few links I think would be really helpful for you to read if you are interested in hearing a bit more about how the leadership of Campus Crusade for Christ prayed through and finally decided upon Cru.  As Alex and I have heard from the leadership, what has remained completely clear throughout has been the humility and openness they have demonstrated.  This was not an arbitrary name change, nor was it a change to be more “politically correct”.  Bottom line, it was a change made to remove barriers to people hearing the truth and true life found in Jesus.

Links To Read:

1)  The first link is the official Cru page.  It has many answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning the name change.  Please, please read the content here before anything else:

2)  The second link is a blog from a former Campus Crusade for Christ staff member against the name change, who, after seeing how Steve Sellers and other CCC staff leaders humbly presented it, had some reflections:

3)  The final link is an article on the name change from written by a Sojourners staff member.  It is good: