By now many of you have heard that Campus Crusade for Christ has changed its name to “Cru”. In short, I am excited that we’ve moved in this direction. Not because a new name signifies a change in strategy or approach in the way we go about bringing the name of Jesus to the nations, but rather it reflects that we do not let 60 years of “tradition” or “legacy” dictate the way we do ministry.
Cru originally had its mission to reach every student, which soon changed to let every person have the chance to respond to the Gospel. What began as a college ministry 60 years ago, is now a ministry that covers multiple groups of people from high schoolers to executives in the work force, from families to military personnel. In short, organizationally we have moved far beyond the scope of the college campus way before this name change was even in discussion.
I am grateful that we have leaders willing to drop elements from our name because of the negative connotations that our previous name implied. Because the last thing we want to do is it alienate people from engaging in a conversation with us solely based on our name alone. It is a privilege that TJ and I get to work under such Godly men and women who lead us out of a posture of humility and graciousness.
Many of us understood the reason and the need to drop “Crusade” because of how negatively it has been received in the last couple of decades. But after some market research, we found that the term “Campus” was equally as alienating for non-Christians and our target audience. Interestingly enough, people in the U.S. who are willing to engage in a conversation about Jesus were less interested when they heard the name “Campus Crusade for Christ”. There was push back from the term “Campus” because a corporate executive has nothing to do with the “campus”. If people are already distancing themselves from us based on our name alone, then surely we must rethink and make the necessary changes.
The dropping of “Christ” has absolutely no bearing on our mission or our stance of sharing the Gospel. We have not softened or become ashamed of our Savior. Google doesn’t include the term “search engine” in their company name… or “email”, or “maps” or “docs” yet that does not dictate how they operate. We will continue to proclaim the name of Jesus regardless of what we’re called.
But isn’t “Cru” just a shortening of the word “Crusade”? To us on staff and those who have supported our ministry, yes, that’s what it looks like. But to the rest of America, no. In fact, the name “Cru” had been field tested since the mid-90’s and the results show that “Cru” doesn’t carry the connotations or the connection to “Crusade”.
Cru is not an abbreviation or a just a shortening of Crusade. It’s just a name and a name that I’m excited to start using. I’m often asked what I do for a living and while I am never ashamed tell them what I do and the name of the organization that I work for, I can tell by the looks on their faces that I’ve immediately alienated myself from further conversation. The moment I utter the words “Campus Crusade for Christ”, the response is typically “Oh…” followed by a drop in their face and a disinterest in engaging with me anymore. However, when I’ve said “Epic Movement”, there was an immediate peak in interest. “I’ve never heard of them before… what does Epic Movement do?” And now I am free to explain our mission, vision and my role in the proclaiming God’s Kingdom. I look forward to being able to say “Cru” and having them ask me about it just like “Epic Movement”.
Even our founders, Bill and Vonnette Bright had talked about changing the name back in the 70’s. Here’s a video from Vonette discussing the name change.
I was nervous when the new name was announced. After some apprehension and confusion over our new name, I’ve grown to embrace it and I am really excited about it. Because in the end, it’s not about the name of Cru that matters, but the name of Jesus our Savior.