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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.).
- This is national news. For now, let me leave you with some good links. I’m sure you can Google to find more:
- Christianity Today offers a great run-down of the story.
- The Washington Post provides a short, helpful article.
- Baptist Press gives a great synopsis of the situation.
- USA Today‘s Faith & Reason blog actually covered this in a rather awkward way, like the author was trying to stir up concerns rather than cover the issue.