Sunday, August 21, 2011


This is the explanation of the CCC name change that I wrote for my ministry partners:

As you may have already heard, starting in 2012 Campus Crusade for Christ will be changing its name to Cru. Although I was not directly involved in the process of selecting a new name, I wanted to let you know what our organization's leaders communicated to us about the heart behind the name change.

First of all, this change has been in the works for a long time. In the 1950s when Bill and Vonette Bright started the ministry, it was not unusual to refer to movements as “crusades.” However, since that time the word
crusade has developed an increasingly negative connotation—especially when associated with religion. For many, the word crusade suggests violence, arrogance, and coercion – the opposite of what we want to communicate. Also, as Campus Crusade for Christ has gone on to expand its ministries beyond the university setting, the first C in the name has become less and less fitting. As early as the 1970s, Bill Bright was already considering a name change.

However, changing the name of a large organization is not an easy task. In addition to the difficult process of finding (and agreeing upon) an appropriate name, everything the organization produces with its name on it must be altered. The organization also runs the risk of disappointing those who support it. For these reasons and others, no established organization wants to change its name unless it is truly necessary. I suspect this is why CCC avoided changing its name for so long.  

But, in 2009, our organization's leaders decided a change was necessary. Surveys revealed that 20% of people willing to consider the Gospel were less interested in talking to us after hearing our name. 20%! By comparison, if a business found that 3-4% of the people interested in their product were no longer interested after hearing the name of the business, a name change would be considered in its best interest. Granted, the Gospel is not a product, but by comparison our percentage was off the charts. 

Personally, I can confirm that our name was hindering our mission. Over the last five years, I can't tell you how many times I've heard non-Christian students say things like, “
Well, that's an unfortunate name!” or “Don't you think a different name would be a good idea?” or even “I don't think I'll be going to a meeting called that.” In fact, so many CCC ministries have found the name to be a hindrance that many have been calling their local ministries by different names for years. This is why our local chapter adopted the name USC (UConn Students for Christ) in 2008.

The name change, therefore, does not reflect a change in our organization's values, mission, or commitment to Christ. It was a change that was made out of a desire to remove what had become an obstacle to our mission – that is, the mission of sharing Christ, in Spirit and in truth, with as many people as possible. I am confident that our organization is just as committed to the Great Commission as it has ever been. Regardless of whether or not you are happy about the name change, please be assured of this.

Now, to be completely honest, I myself was disappointed when I heard the new name. My first reaction was:
But Cru is just a shortened version of the word in our name we most needed to remove! I still can't say that I'm thrilled about the new name, but after hearing some of our organization's leaders talk about the thought, prayer, and time that went into the name change, I've decided to trust their judgment.

Why did they settle on
Cru? Well, for one thing, Cru has been a nickname for CCC for years. In many places in the United States, students are already more likely to call their CCC movements “Cru” than “Campus Crusade.” According to research conducted over the last year, Cru lacks the offensive connotation of the word crusade. Surveys also indicated that the kind of people we want to reach find the name Cru intriguing.

So, is
Cru just supposed to be short for Crusade? No. Even though the nickname Cru originally developed because it was short for Crusade, our new name is not meant to be understood as an abbreviation of that word. It's supposed to be viewed as a new word, a word that—ever since it started being used as a nickname in the 90s—has already come to represent what CCC is for many people. For these people, Cru is a word that already represents a caring community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ. As our ministry's name officially transitions to Cru, our hope and prayer is that the word Cru will come to represent this to more and more people.

While it's true that
Cru has no apparent meaning to an outsider, words that have no apparent meaning can come to have very significant meaning through experience. For example, the word Starbucks has come to be associated with coffee, but Starbucks has no apparent meaning to most people and any apparent meaning it does have has nothing to do with coffee. The chain was actually named after the first mate in Moby Dick (which, again, has nothing to do with coffee), but now most people think Starbucks = coffee. Another example is google. Nowadays if someone wants to look up information online they say “let's google it.” Twenty years ago not only would that not have meant anything – it would have sounded quite ridiculous! Now people say it without thinking twice because the word has been imbued with new meaning.

Even though the word Cru does not have a pre-defined, dictionary definition that perfectly encapsulates our mission, it does have some things going for it besides having been our nickname (and being intriguing to outsiders). The word Cru is very close to the word crux. In fact, our new logo almost looks like the word crux with the X lifted and straightened into the shape of a cross. The word crux can mean “cross or “a vital, decisive, or pivotal point.” This is appropriate, since our organization is all about helping people to come to that pivotal point where they make a decision about the cross. Also, Cru is a homophone for crew – a group of people working together for a common goal. This is very fitting, as we have always emphasized the idea that we are a community committed toward working together to fulfill the Great Commission. In addition, in France a Cru is a vineyard that produces wine of exceptionally high quality. In light of the fact that Jesus referred to his ministry as “new wine” and considering that our desire is to equip and send people to do Christ's work throughout the world, this is also very fitting.

Unfortunately, much of the media reported our name change in a very sensational way. FOX news' online report began with the misleading headline, “Campus ministry drops 'Christ' From Name.” This headline (and others like it) were true in the literal sense but not in what they implied. The FOX headline failed to mention that the other two words in our old name had also been dropped. The story was reported in a way that made it sound like our organization had decided to stop caring about Christ and the Gospel, and unfortunately many friends of our ministry first heard about our name change through these sources. I've always heard that the media spins information, but rarely have I experienced that spin in such a personal way. It was very disappointing.

Yes, it is true that the title Christ is no longer in our name, but there was no point where our organization said, “we need to remove Christ from our name.” Hopefully my description of the name-change process demonstrates this. Please be assured that if our organization wasn't about Christ, we would have folded up shop a long time ago. I know I certainly wouldn't have any reason to stick around. If someone comes to a Cru meeting or event not knowing that we are about Christ, I can guarantee they'll know within the first couple minutes.

In summary, whether you think the name change was a good idea or not, please know that it was a change made in light of many, many hours of prayer, fasting, research and discussion among our organization's leaders. It was a change made out of a desire to reach people with the true message of the Gospel, and our ministry's mission statement and vision for fulfilling the Great Commission remains the same as always. Please pray that the name change would bear positive fruit and that our organization would remain steadfast in our commitment to the calling Christ has given us. <><


  1. Fish!

    Also, it is very clever with the whole crux and wine things XD

  2. No new post................


    Jenni sad.