The old name is being shirked for a new one because, as Campus Crusade for Christ said in its press release, the ministry hopes to "overcome existing barriers and perceptions inherent in the original name."
One contention with the old name is the word "crusade." It no longer carries the same reputation it did when the organization was founded by Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951. For some, in a post-9/11 world "crusade" conjures up thoughts of jihad or of the Holy Wars of the 12th and 13th centuries.
"Cru" is a nickname frequently used throughout its campus ministries since the mid-90s.
Although "Cru" may not seem far from "crusade," Campus Crusade for Christ has field tested the new name since the 1990s and has found no negative connotation with the ministry's future name. In contrast, the name "Campus Crusade for Christ" has caused some people to lose interest in the ministry's message, the organization says. Twenty percent of people who were willing to consider the Gospel turned away when they heard the organization's name, according to the Campus Crusade website.
This is not the first time Campus Crusade has thought about a new name. Vonette Bright said her late husband had considered changing the ministry's name more than 20 years ago.
"From the beginning Bill was open to changing our name," Vonette Bright said. "He never felt it was set in stone.... We want to remove any obstacle to people hearing about the most important person who ever lived -- Jesus Christ."
The organization also faced obstacles with the word "campus" because many of its current ministries extend past the lawns of colleges and universities.
The decision, which will go into effect in 2012, was not one quickly made. The process was set in motion two years ago and has included sifting through 1,600 potential names.
"This decision has been saturated with prayer," Steve Douglass, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, said. "We only want what God wants for us. And while we are excited about this name, we are even more excited about our renewed commitment to our mission.
"We believe this new name will position us to connect better with the next generation."
The new name was presented to 5,000 staff members at Campus Crusade for Christ's biennial conference, held in Ft. Collins, Colo., for the ministry's U.S workers.
Only ministries in the United States will be affected by the change because the organization's international efforts already bear names that differ from "Campus Crusade for Christ."
Campus Crusade isn't the first organization to shun the word "crusade." Billy Graham's son, Franklin, chose to call his events "festivals" instead of "crusades," the term his father used.
Whitney Jones is a student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and an intern with Baptist Press.
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