a few thoughts & some links on the Campus Crusade name-change

If you missed it, Campus Crusade for Christ unveiled its new name for the U.S. ministry this week! “Cru” will go “official” in 2012, although your various campuses will probably adjust on different timetables. (And some of you have probably seen simply “Cru” for awhile already.)

They have an open discussion board up to discuss the name change, and I’ve read through quite a bit of it. Like many forums, it’s drawn plenty of nonsense, but there are definitely some good discussions and good questions taking place, too.

I also really encourage you to check out the videos if you haven’t – there’s some great stuff there, including from Bill Bright’s widow and from an Executive Director who was originally not a fan of “Cru” (a very wise addition to the testimony list).

I presented my first thoughts on this yesterday. From the discussions on the forum and some additional reflectin’, some thoughts:

  1. This will like affect college ministers more than college ministry activity. On campus, few people will have any problem with the name “Cru” (except for the branding issue mentioned yesterday), and it will indeed avoid the barriers “Crusade” erects. But sadly, there will likely be supporters of our Campus Crusade staff friends who pull funding because of misunderstandings about the name (see below). Pray for them.
  2. Hopefully Cru will give its staff all sorts of tools for sharing about the name-change. One concern that does seem to be coming from the campus ministers via the discussion board is a difficulty knowing how to explain the new name. Hopefully well-written letters from national staff, brilliant “talking points,” DVDs, and other tools will be provided… quickly. If I was a staff member, I’d want to contact my supporters this week with some really choice words.
  3. I’m glad they’re allowing the airing of views. The discussion board is a good thing, even if it doesn’t produce solely good material. A big company like Crusade should go over-the-top in transparency as often as possible.
  4. I hope the “higher-ups” see the value of addressing concerns. Sadly, it seems like regional or national team comments on the forum are few and far between. On the other hand, I’ve really appreciated the comments from my friend Ryan McReynolds (a Regional Director in the Northeast) – they’re well-said, for one thing, and sprinkled conservatively rather than saturating the discussion. I hope others will jump in, or that new responses will be constructed that honor the valid concerns but also address them directly.
  5. Explaining the “removal” of “Christ” is going to be an uphill battle. Since discussion boards always draw out the discontented, they’re not good “surveys” as such. But it’s still clear that among those upset by the name, their biggest issue is likely to be the absence of “Christ” in the name. Hopefully Cru can repeatedly point out that they didn’t actually remove anything. They felt the need to completely start over on the name and ultimately landed on “Cru” as an reflection of the past… not a shortening of the past name. (That’ll be a tough sell for some, I’m sure, but it’s true.)
  6. Is “Cru” going to feel dated? This seems a more valid concern, and it’s got me wondering, too. It’s possible “Cru” will sound like a relic sooner rather than later – especially if they try to emphasize that it’s a modification of the word “crew.” But this effect is also probably heightened when a group goes from a clearly “old-school” name to a clearly more modern name; the renaming of the Baptist General Conference denomination to “Converge Worldwide” is one recent example. It may be that “Cru” stands the test of time just fine.
  7. I hope they’ll buy the domain(s). Right now, cru.com hosts a directory of sports and leisure clubs in Ulster, Northern Ireland. (And you have to imagine that a site like that has had way more hits than they’re used to in the last couple of days.) I’m shocked they weren’t able to find a donor to help grab that domain before the announcement. Cru.org is apparently registered by Campus Crusade, even though they didn’t have it set up yesterday when I checked. There are probably other domains worth going for, too (.net, .co, etc.).
  8. This is national news. For now, let me leave you with some good links. I’m sure you can Google to find more:


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  1. Pingback: a big moment in college ministry history: campus crusade gets a new name « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

  2. thanks for sharing about this benson! i actually headed up the social media efforts related to the name change.

    as you noted transparency was critical–we really value the thoughts of (almost) everyone and wanted a forum that allowed people to share their honest reactions.

    as with any change there will be detractors–i’m thankful that this is a future-oriented move to increase long-term effectiveness–we certainly could have changed the name a while ago but our future effectiveness is tied to the Scripture, principles, and mission that factored into this process

    btw–we do own the domains, just haven’t filled them out yet! definitely something we could have improved in the rollout!

  3. @Ryan – Examples are a good thing! And your sprinkling is still sparse compared to all the comments… :)

    @Brian – I’m glad they have you at the helm. The fact that this was coming makes your new position all the wiser!

    Question: Do you have the cru.com domain? Or is that one lost to Ulster?

  4. Pingback: Fox News Headline Fail « West Coast Witness

  5. Pingback: Everything you Need to Know about the Cru Name Change | Leading in Ministry

  6. Rob

    Would there be some wisdom in CCCI reviewing the comments and adding Christ into Cru as an acronym? I don’t believe an apology is in order if their process was purely motivated; however, I believe that a statement of refining the new name to mean something Christ-oriented could actually retrieve supporters walking away from them and to draw in others who have determined to keep their distance. One stream of comments online had a variety of suggestions as to what Cru could represent and, in my mind, I don’t have a clear suggestion to make. I do remember one saying “Christ Redeems Us”. This kind of idea may appear trite, but I think it would help calm some nerves and provide staff with a concise talking-point. If leadership develops a tough-skin, don’t criticize our process attitude, I think it would create an unnecessary division in the Body of Christ and create ill-will. Showing grace to all and an attitude of refinement will do much to bring people together.

    One benefit of all of the ranker, both pro & con, is that CCCI can understand that there are a lot of people, supporters and non-supporters, vocal & non-vocal, who are aware of their work and have/had an appreciation for them. I think a lot of good will could be restored and created by acknowledging an oversight on their part and including a descriptive by-line that includes the name Christ, in some fashion. The critics would be silenced.

    My first reaction upon hearing the name for the first time was “What? Please say that again? Who are you talking about. The group in Orlando? Not possible.” When repeated, I had difficulty conceiving how a name like that would be selected. I have no background in the work of CCCI, so Cru had no significance to me. When I heard that it was derived from the nickname used on campuses, it made better sense. But, when I heard that it was an abbreviation of a word they were trying to avoid using, then I became confused again. I think another name, whatever that may be, would have served them better. If they would add a Christ-centered by-line, they could restore a lot of confidence in believers and eliminate the time they will waste in the upcoming months cleaning up their PR mess.

    On another note, I have heard that a revision of The Jesus Film is being considered. What name will they give it?

    Thank you for your blog. Our prayers are with CCCI.

  7. Good words, Rob!

    Just to be clear (not sure if this was clear): I don’t have any connection to Campus Crusade (beyond rooting for them from the outside!).

    But I do think those will be some of the thoughts they’ll ponder in the coming months… although I’m guessing they already have. As for the supporter concerns, one really great thing about their model – which is the model of much college ministry, at least – is that in the end, staff directly connect with their “ministry partners” (they actually call their support-raising Ministry Partner Development, actually).

    So well-spoken words from staff will likely go a long way with individuals, since they truly have built personal relationships with many of these people. That’s why I’m not sure the drop-off will be as bad as the initial reactions might indicate.

    But yep, I think a “backronym” (creating an acronym out of the word that’s already in place) might help. But I think your suggestion of adding a solid, explicit tagline may be even better. You can use taglines with supporters in ways you wouldn’t use on campus (or in the other ministry arenas).

    Of course, they’d probably (rightly) argue that the cross in the logo serves as a sort of explicit “tagline,” too.

  8. Benson, thanks for your thoughts!

    Steve Douglass talked about this (Backronym) last night at our national conference as a way to think about what we’re about…not an official acrononym, just a way to remember.

    Changed Lives
    Relationships that matter
    Uncommon Opportunites.

    Filling out the name, so to speak.

  9. I like that, Matt – an “official unofficial” acronym that basically works as a set of built-in talking points seems like a GREAT idea. Hopefully that will help as you share with supporters, etc., too!

    Thanks for the inside info! :)

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