This weekend, Campus Crusade for Christ turns 60. The stateside staff, gathered in Colorado, will celebrate with one 5,000-strong voice, giving God the glory for countless lives changed forever through this ministry. As an alumnus, I’ll watch over the internet with a friend who serves overseas but is in my town for the summer. (We’ll start our evening with Vonette Bright’s Javanese dinner from an old staff cookbook.) I expect to laugh and cry as we remember together the beginnings in 1951 with just two people at the UCLA campus, relive many milestones along the way, miss the faces of the dear ones who have gone ahead to glory, and arrive at the present – 25,000 staff members in 191 countries – with unshaken faith that God can still do the impossible. I am thankful to have invested so many years of my life with such a godly organization and wish I could be there in person to celebrate with my friends. The ones I began this journey with will be recognized for 30 years of service and I’m so proud of them.
The anniversary is not the only significant event being marked this week. Campus Crusade for Christ unveiled its new name for its U.S. ministries: Cru. The mission to give every person on the planet an opportunity to know Jesus Christ remains unchanged. The new name does not reflect an attempt to be politically-correct or to water down the gospel. Not only is the long name cumbersome to type, but the word “crusade” has carried negative baggage for years and the word “campus” no longer reflects the broadness of scope. "Cru" is the nickname adopted on campuses in the 1990s. It is not an abbreviation for crusade; nor is it an acronym. It is a made-up name like Google or Hulu, a name which will not be a barrier to starting conversations with people about Jesus Christ. The parent organization is still Campus Crusade for Christ International, but each country’s ministry has its own name. In Eastern Europe, most of our ministries were translated New Life.
I haven’t had many hours to get used to the new name myself and it’ll take some time. But I do know I trust the process, the hours of prayer and dependence on the Holy Spirit, and the leadership who arrived at this choice. Happy 60th Birthday, Cru, and many, many more!