(Photo: Worldwide Challenge / Guy Gerrard)
Campus Crusade for Christ, one of the largest Christian ministries in the world, announced on Tuesday that it is ditching its old name and adopting a new one – Cru.
The 60-year-old organization decided on the name change partly because of the negative associations that the word "crusade" carries.
"It acts as a barrier to the very people that we want to connect with. It’s also a hindrance to many Christians who would like to partner with us but find the word Crusade offensive," the ministry said in a statement.
As many as one in five persons who were willing to consider the Gospel became less interested in talking to CCC after hearing the name, the organization found.
"We are changing the name for the sake of more effective ministry."
Over the past two years, a team of 30 staff worked with branding agencies and came up with hundreds of new name suggestions. In all, there were 1,600 names that were proposed.
The Board of Directors signed off on the name Cru this year.
While Cru – a nickname that began at the local level in the mid-90s – effectively removes the word "crusade" and its negative connotations from the organization's name, it also does away with the word "Christ."
The ministry insists that they are not trying to eliminate "Christ" from its name. In fact, the name change allows them to more effectively serve its mission of taking the Gospel to the world, the organization maintains.
"Cru enables us to have discussions about Christ with people who might initially be turned off by a more overtly Christian name."
Steve Douglass, president of CCC, stressed, "Our mission and DNA remain the same." That mission, he explained, is "to give every person on the planet the opportunity to say yes to Jesus."
"It is all about fulfilling The Great Commission."
Campus Crusade for Christ was founded in 1951 by Bill and Vonette Bright on the UCLA campus. With headquarters in Orlando, Fla., the ministry has offices all over the world. More than 25,000 full-time staff serve in 191 countries and campus outreach is only one of many works the organization leads.
The organization may be best known for the film "JESUS" – the most watched and translated film of all time – and for "The Four Spiritual Laws" booklet.
Vonette Bright has given her approval to the new name. She said her husband, who died in 2003, actually had in mind the need for a name change from the very beginning because of the word "crusade."
"I believe the time is right to change it," Vonette said in a video. "This is the right name for right now."
Cru will be formally adopted in early 2012. It only applies to the U.S. ministry. Most national ministries around the world already use a different name other than CCC.