More Than a Name

carved treeBeing a campus staff I have noticed that the general feeling over the name change conversations for the past couple weeks have shown fellow staff to be either indifferent about the change or optimistic that it could help the organization.

Unfortunately I am adamantly against changing the name not because I hold to tradition, I lack vision for the future, or am unsupportive of our leadership. The reason is I truly believe that “Campus Crusade for Christ” is more than a name. I say more than a name because of the method our ministry obtained it. I have many reasons to be opposed to this change but I thought the most powerful argument for our future is to truly understand God’s work in our past.

The vision Bill Bright conceived that we all love and cherish as CCC staff, had another part to it that I think is very relevant to this conversation.

Part 1:

All staff should know that Bill Bright experienced God in a supernatural way when given the mission and vision for CCC. But many staff are unaware of the second part of the story. Lets look at Bill Brights words himself. In Bill Brights book “Amazing Faith” Bill Bright can barely describe his experience with God.

“God in an usually way opened my mind, touched my heart…I can’t translate into English or any other language what happened, but God met with me…My experience was so meaningful, and yet indescribable. People have asked me what happened. There is no way I can describe it. Without apology all I can say is I met with God. I didn’t see a physical form, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I have never been the same since that unforgettable encounter” Page 61 A.Faith

Part 2:

Bill Bright rushed into his mentors office Dr. Wilbur Smith’s after his vision occurred. Bright explained this vision to Doc. Smith, and Smith began to process what happened: “The next morning Bill was called out of class to see Smith. The professor told him “I believe God has given me the name for your vision.” He showed Bill a small piece of paper with CCC written on it; underneath were the words, Campus Crusade for Christ. They prayed and Bill went home with more stirring news to share with Vonette” pg. 63

According to this description “Campus Crusade for Christ” was not thought up in a meeting room.

CCC was not voted on in the local church, or even brainstormed on a piece of paper. According Bill Bright the name was given to his mentor, who believed the name itself was given to him by God. In one sentence I will just say that our name change does not seem to be spirit lead (not personally but in terms of how the name was given in the past) but instead part of the frantic changes CCC is undertaking to achieve past success or maintain its admittedly “plateaued numbers.”

I love CCC and out of that I implore CCC to NOT change its name, and if we do I fear this change will mark the beginning of many other changes to come not inline with our vision or mission as a ministry.

  • Brian Barela

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    • Karl Udy

      Thanks Terra for your Canadian experience on this issue. I remember in New Zealand when we went through a name change first as a student ministry, and then almost ten years later for the whole organization.

      I remember when the name change for the student ministry was first brought up (from CCC to Student Life), and there was considerable resistance. By the time it came around again a couple of years later, there was not as much resistance, and some points I think are still relevant …

      – Every other ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ has its own separate name (eg Athletes in Action, Family Life, etc)
      – The actual name was a hindrance in many situations, especially the word “Crusade”, although the whole name is very longwinded, and “CCC” as an abbreviation is not very distinctive and actually shared by a few cults.

      The points of resistance at the time of the name change largely revolved around a perceived “hiding” of our Christian identity.

      Come the time of the national organization name change, there was a lot less resistance. This was probably because the stakeholders were generally just staff, students and volunteers generally associated with the particular ministry they were involved with and did not really identify with the name of the national organization. In New Zealand, as in many countries, the name “Campus Crusade for Christ” doesn’t have the same associated goodwill that it enjoys in the US, so there was not that issue to deal with either. I can appreciate that this will be a difficulty in the US as there will be many alumni who have strong ties with the original name. However in almost the whole rest of the world, there is not the same strong connection with the name.

      Regarding the name being divinely given, I don’t think this entails a divine command that the name be kept indefinitely. The name obviously was right for the organization for the first 20 or so years. Since then, not so obviously.

  • Terra Leavens

    Up here in Canada we went through the name change a couple of years ago and while the issues may not be the same, here are my observations….
    1. On Campus – we changed the campus ministry name from CCC to Campus for Christ. This was extremely positive and easy for students and local staff to embrace. It is still glaringly Christ focused but removed the sensitive issues around the word Crusade which we felt was a barrier to the gospel particularly in our extremely multi-ethnic and multi-religious environments.

    2. Nationally – we changed the name of the umbrella organization from CCC to Power to Change. This transition as a local staff with Campus for Christ has proved more confusing especially for supporters who never really understood the relationship between Campus for Christ and the parent org to begin with. Plus it is a mouthful to say, “I work for Campus for Christ a ministry of Power to Change, formally Campus Crusade for Christ, which is still part of our international ministry Campus Crusade for Christ International” – and then you throw in there that personally I work with “Student Life a ministry of Agape in the United Kingdom” and well lets just say, its confusing.

    That said we discovered that in Canada less than 3% evangelical Christians even were familiar with Campus Crusade for Christ so changing the name wasn’t really a great loss in terms of brand identity. Additionally we had some traction with the name Power to Change already in Canada due to national media campaigns by the same name.

    Observations –
    Changing any name means a commitment to TIME and EDUCATION.
    In Canada, changing the name has been only positive in terms of acceptance, and has maintained our identity and our heart for the gospel and lost people.
    Supporters of the ministry and outside observers never have anything negative to say about the name change (even if they are confused!).
    Changing the name may lead to more branding and language changes. Just a heads up! We are going through a process currently of changing our internal language.


    • Dan Birch

      Great Post Terra,

      Its good to hear feedback from a place who’s actually done it. I have no doubt are name is going to changed officially, and I hope it helps are ministry, I just feel that we are focusing so much on the name and neglecting the real changes that need to be made on the campus level. Hopefully I’m wrong and changing the name is a good idea but unfortunately I’m going to have to stick to my assumption that it is the wrong move. But again thanks for the real life perspective.

    • Jack Heimbigner

      Yes Terra, great post. I feel like it would be great for a lot of staff in the US to hear about what changing the name was like else where. I feel like I keep enclosed in my little bubble of CCC in the Northwest of the US. Again, thanks for the insight!

  • Doug Hanna

    Good point Dan. Are we hearing from God or are we hearing from Man? Bill’s encounter with God is certainly one way we hear from God. Your point is very valid, Dan, and makes a very strong argument for not changing the name of CCC. It begs a question in my mind though. Are there not other ways we hear from God? If so, have any of those ways of hearing from God been experienced in the current search for a new name?

    • Dan Birch

      Thanks Doug!

      Yeah all I was trying to point out was how DRAMATIC our name came into being, and I haven’t really heard that side of the story in the name change discussion. I almost feel it would have to be as DRAMATIC to change it again. Love your thoughts though!

  • DJ Jenkins

    “In one sentence I will just say that our name change does not seem to be spirit lead but instead part of the frantic changes CCC is undertaking to achieve past success or maintain its admittedly ‘plateaued numbers.'”

    This is a strong judgement Dan I would caution you of making. To say our leaders are not being Spirit-led is a serious accusation. On top of that, in all the interaction I have had with our National Staff, in watching all the videos Steve Sellers describing the name change process, I have NEVER gotten the impression that our leaders are not genuinely seeking the Lord and the Spirit for his insight and leadership.

    I have my own reservations about the name change. Not sure any of them are best. However, I believe you can stress your thoughts on why you would like CCC to keeps its name without accusing our National Leaders of not being Spirit-led.

    • Dan Birch

      Wow. This is an interesting reply. But I guess I expected this:)

      Let me clarify a point that I think DJ you are misunderstanding as well as some others. I DO NOT think are leaders are not spirit lead. I think are LEADERS ARE SPIRIT LEAD.

      The whole point of the blog was to remind people that our name Campus Crusade for Christ was DRAMATICALLY given to us the holy spirit. The way Bill Bright describes his mentor receiving the words CCC from God has led me to believe that God was adamant in giving us Campus Crusade for Christ. In the same way, I do thinks all the time in my ministry that is not a sin but at the same time might not be the right decision. All I’m saying is that if we change our name let us make sure we’ve evaluated HOW we got the name, and let other staff understand we’ve operated for over 50 years through many different social areas with CCC. Again DJ i am not saying our leaders aren’t spirit lead, instead I’m highlighting how SPIRIT LEAD our original name change was, so I’m sorry if you saw it that way, that wasn’t my point and I think is a distraction to what I’m really saying

  • Jerry

    I concur with Dan! It also seems that our ministry is somewhat adrift since the passing of our beloved founder Bill Bright. We no longer have inspirational leadership. I long to once again hear Dr. Bright give us his “ministry of the Holy Spirit” speech. Hmmm…perhaps we should do what they did with Elvis Presley recently when they combined videos of him singing and combined it with a live repertoire at CSU! ( Wouldn’t that be awesome? We need revival! Amen?

  • DJ Jenkins

    Since I am the only one giving a contrarian view so far, I want to speak to the straw man I think you set up Dan. This seems to be what you are saying (please correct me if I am understanding you wrong):

    God gave Bill Bright the name “Campus Crusade for Christ” + Bill Bright was Spirit-led + God has blessed our ministry in the past = We now have a different name to contextualize + So changing the name from CCC means our leaders are not being Spirit-led + God will no longer bless our ministry due to the name change.

    This seems to be a “justification by name” thinking. I don’t think God looks at CCC, says, “Well you know, if you change your name I am not going to rescue people from hell in this ministry anymore.”

    I wholly reject this. I DO think if our leaders are not Spirit-filled, not seeking Christ, not living according to his Word, not steeped in the gospel, that God WON’T bless us. But this is totally different than what our name is. Unless of course you say God has a condition to work within CCC as long as our name stays CCC.

    • Dan Birch

      I clarified my point in your 2nd comment but let me just irritate.

      I THINK ARE LEADERS ARE SPIRIT LEAD. I am in NO way questioning that, I’m questioning the decision, and reminding people of the past.

      • DJ Jenkins

        Thanks for clarifying this Dan. This helps a lot and changes the tone I think of the post in many ways.

        Just so you know, I think the reason I and others reacted this way is because your original quote says, “…I will just say that our name change does not seem to be spirit lead…” I think it is a logical conclusion that it SOUNDED as if you were saying our leaders aren’t Spirit-led or this process is not Spirit-led.

        Perhaps this will help if future posts you write to avoid statements that seem to say something you aren’t trying to communicate.

        Maybe to clarify again though, are you saying the NAME CHANGE PROCESS is not Spirit-led? Are you saying God is not in it or working through it? Or are you merely trying to say God WAS in it with Bill Bright?

        • Dan Birch

          Yeah:) I see that. But honestly met it in terms of spirit lead in the same way the SPIRIT LEAD to speak through Bill Brights friend. So not spirit lead in like walking with God, but as dramatic as it was before.

          I hope that makes sense. And honestly I appreciate your thoughts on the overall blog, and not necessarily the two words I used:) I understand your point but their is a great picture I was trying to communicate and would want the discussion to move that way instead.

      • Gandalf


        A friendly word of advice… your incorrect word choices aren’t helping your credibility. Several times you said “are” when you should have used “our”. Also, instead of saying “let me just irritate.” you should have said “let me just reiterate.”

  • Josh Waidley

    Dan I love you and wish you would call me back!

    I agree that a name change is not some magic answer to current issues or that it will somehow increase interest exponentially across the board. However I do have a thought:

    In 1951 the nation was overwhelmingly church going and christian. Colleges specifically were overwelmingly white and male. Crusade didn’t have the same taint as it does now because culturally the college campuses were mostly populated by the children of the dominant power structures for whom Crusade didn’t sound that threatening.
    Fast forward to today where the mere mention of the word crusade or jihad promps defensive recoiling and in some cases, as in san francisco where this happened to me, literal yelling because a student reacted to a word that deeply offended them. Granted I think our culture and especially SF are way over sensitive in general but it can’t be denied that is some circles, and I’m thinking of specifically ethnically, religiously diverse urban schools ‘Crusade’ reeks of threatening, paternalistic, white religion.

    Do I think changing the name will fix problems? No I don’t, you are right to point this out. But I do think it’s a step in understanding that our culture is shifting and our name matters. In a post christian setting, Crusade is an unredeemable word, one which even I am not comfortable using. Changing our name doesn’t change who we are, but it removes a barrier that for some keeps them from wanting to know who we are.

    The other thought I have is your post presupposes that bill bright and the founders of ccc prayed faithfully about this topic and that it wasn’t a name that came out of a board room meeting. I agree, but you imply that the name change proposed by the leaders of our organization wasn’t the product of prayer. I think this is a wrong assumption and my guess is the leaders, our bosses, didn’t sit around one day and just decide to change the name on a whim, but rather spent a long time in prayer, possibly years.

    • Dan Birch

      Thanks NT wright, ohh I mean Josh.;)

      Dude I get what your saying and I think you are ministering into a very hostile environment in SF where Crusade can be a hinderance, but again I just don’t think it is the right move for the national organization, and will create more confusion.

      And again, in Santa monica, pheonix, and chico I’ve never been hindered to share the gospel with the name Crusade, its never effected me in that way and I just wonder if people are too effected by the culture and assuming things.

      and LET ME CLARIFY FOR THE FIFTH TIME:) I DO THINK ARE LEADERS ARE SPIRIT LEAD< AND PRAYED ABOUT IT. I was just pointing out that bill bright didnt pray about it the name was extraordinarily given to Bill through the holy spirit speaking to his mentor. And just as I am a leader here, I make wrong decisions, but doesnt mean I didnt pray about it or wasnt spirit lead, sometimes things are just wrong and God has its purposes. The reality is our name IS going to change I just wanted people to be reminded of the past before going to the future.

      I do appreciate your response man.

      ps. Piper was right about justification;)

  • Jack Heimbigner

    Three thoughts. First, it is bold to say that our leadership is not Spirit-led. But if that is how some of our staff are feeling, doesn’t it need to be on the table. I’m glad that Dan would be truthful about what he is thinking, and I think that is good for us to hear. Even if we do or don’t agree. It would be sad if we wouldn’t open up about how we are thinking, and I think God will set this issue straight in the hearts of those it applies. Whether leadership, or staff that are trusting that leadership.

    My second thought is this. Is our name doing the work? Is it our name that wins people to Christ? Is it our name that builds students into stronger relationship with God? Is it our name that sends students and staff all over the world? I entered into relationship with God with the help of a CCC staff member on my campus. And have been actively involved as a student, volunteer, and now staff. The name Campus Crusade for Christ has not been the driving force to the change in the lives of students I have been around. It has been Jesus who has been working in these lives and mine.

    Lastly, I believe that God had made it clear to Dr. Bright what to name this ministry. And I don’t think that we as a ministry would consider changing our name at the whim of current culture and reality. If it is time for a change, it is time for a change. And God will make it happen, or not make it happen. I trust that our leadership is desperately seeking after God and what he wants for our ministry. God will move regardless. Can’t we believe that to be true?

    • Dan Birch

      Hey jack,

      Thanks for the reply, I expected this topic to be controversial. And appreciate your response. Let me clarify a point off the bat that I think is misunderstood.

      I DO THINK ARE LEADERS ARE SPIRIT LEAD. My point was to remind people of how incredible our original conception and name began with. I literally have barely met any staff who understand that are name was spoken to Bill Brights mentor who gave it to Bill not long after his incredible vision. God chose to do it in a great way. I have no doubt are leaders are walking in the spirit, but I am a LEADER on my campus and it DOESNT mean every decision I make is correct. I wouldn’t call myself NOT spirit lead, thats the same point I’m making here. Our leaders are human beings just like us, hence I haven’t seen enough evidence to show the reason why we should change our name, but I do trust they are walking in the spirit and following God. LET THAT BE CLEAR.

      To your Second Point: Your Right. Are name doesnt do the work, but are name after 50 years represents a history of God working through us. My fear is that by changing our name this will MARK in history a new era of a different organization. Did you take that name survey? the most scary part of the whole thing was the mission statement they had for our new name. Basically it sounded like a whole DIFFERENT organization. Names have huge meanings, names represent something, if YOU CHANGED MY NAME I would still live but I would feel a different sort of identity. I just really hope we put the same amount of effort into reshaping our movement building strategies.

      I really agree with your last paragraph and I kinda feel that our culture is influencing us to much. Anyways thanks Jack

      • Jack Heimbigner

        That makes a lot of sense, and gives me a better picture of what you were saying. Thanks for the insight!

      • Brian Barela

        a theme that i will throw out that’s connected to this issue is that it seems CCC has transitioned from a movement to a network of organizations.

        one of the most impressive characteristics of CCC on a global scale is how it retains much of the original DNA but still flexes enough to allow a variety of people to build upon it.

        Bill and Vonette planted a seed, nourished the trunk, and allowed branches to grow. i believe the seed and the trunk are “named” Campus Crusade for Christ–I belive the branches, leaves, and subsequent fruit are what we are actually trying to name.

  • Rich Street

    Great discussion here. I feel the tension of somehow our name didn’t come from smart ad wizards from the 50’s and is potentially supernatural in origin vs. the fact that our name does seem to be outdated and potentially offensive. I realize the Gospel can be offensive and is, and I prefer someone to stumble over the Gospel than our name.

    However, our name is becoming quickly irrelevant…if not so already. I do desire to become all things to all men and am willing to risk the name recognition that CCC has within the greater body of Christ in order to help us potentially increase the amount of people who come into the Kingdom.

    My concern is that the names that have become finalists mean absolutely nothing to no one (unless you are in seminary and know Greek!). I wonder what people think of the new names. There are a lot of incredibly creative people within CCC and I’m surprised that we couldn’t do much better than we did in terms of coming up with a creative name.

    Love to hear people’s thoughts on the name finalists and see if we can come up with something better!!

    • Dan Birch

      Hey Rich,

      Thanks for your post. I hear that argument a lot about our name being irrelevant and just to be honest I don’t understand why that is. I mean the 50’s were way different then the 60’s that were way different than the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and the Crusades were hundreds of years ago.

      Here’s a question I’ve thought about: If are Evangelism numbers were higher would we change our name? I’d assume NO. but the reasons our number are not as high is not because of our name but our evangelism strategies, movement building principles, staff selection. I really think changing our name is “giving the car a new paint job, but not fixing the engine” I just think we may be exaggerating the effects of our name being not relevant. Maybe in administration settings its a barrier but not ONE TIME on campus has our name hindered me sharing the gospel with someone.

      • DJ Jenkins

        I agree with the overall thoughts here Dan. If we as an organization think that our name is the MAIN thing keeping us from being effective, then I think we are missing the forrest for the trees.

        Having said that, I don’t think it hurts at all in our effectiveness, and can only help if we stop using “Crusade” in our name. For all the reasons Josh and Rich already mentioned, I think Crusade can be an unnecessary barrier to people listening to us or getting involved or whatever.

        To heighten the point, would anyone in the US start an organization today with the “Jihad” in the name? Not any sane person. Most of the non-believers I have interacted with see “Crusade” as the same as “Jihad.” It’s not rocket science.

        But to reiterate what Dan said, I by no means think it is the MAIN thing keeping us from being more effective.

        • Dan Birch

          Yeah Dj I get what your saying but your “Jihad” analogy I don’t think is really accurate. It would be a different scenario if “Jihad ministries” had over 50 years of fruit for the gospel, given to Bill Bright by the holy spirit and lasted over 50 years. I don’t think you can look at the current situation without keeping the past in mind, thats why I dont think its related to calling a new ministry Jihad although I understand you think its a barrier, I just disagree to how much I guess

          • DJ Jenkins

            Yeah that makes sense Dan. It sounds like you, Chris, and those of us on the “other side’ have a difference on HOW much the name matters in our effectiveness. Again, I don’t think it is the MAIN problem but it doesn’t hurt. Brian made some great points above on the attachment to white, power culture.

            I mentioned this above, but I think non-believers don’t care about 50 years of fruit for a Christian organization. Others have said this, but the biggest loss of the name to me seems to be the street-cred we have with the American Christian Community.

      • Rich Street


        I think it is not a question of numbers being down if we’d change, but more if we thought we could get MORE numbers. Numbers sounds kind of impersonal and it also assumes that our “numbers” count (namely numbers being more people in the kingdom of heaven) is actually accurate (I’m not even sure it really is, but that is a whole other blog post! :) ). I do think that if numbers were up, but we thought we could get better numbers by changing our name then we still would.

        I don’t think it is a fear issue. I agree that the name doesn’t hinder me, but I wonder what the average non-Believer thinks of the name? I’d sure love to hear the results of the research that has been done on what non-Believers think of our name. That might put this whole conversation to rest, because we are all speculating on what we perceive are the issues. I’d still like to see some facts!

  • Dan Birch


    I had to shorten the blog because of space but I wanted to add another paragraph that I had to edit.

    “I want to acknowledge that CCC leadership has done a great job in trying to bring staff into the process with surveys and the recent video from Steve Sellars. I do feel that they are spirit lead but just as I am a leader in my ministry, I don’t always make the right decision but it doens’t mean I’m not following God. I guess to me the whole process feels like we are “giving the car a new paint job but not fixing the engine” My hope is that the level of effort and money put into this name change will be matched by CCC in re-evaluating our methods and movement building strategies which is the engine of our organization. I hope the readers of this will see another side of the name change discussion and at the end of the day I am thankful that the Lord is ultimately in control.”

    • Dan Birch

      WHen i said “Spirit lead” in the post. I meant SPIRIT LEAD IN LIGHT OF THE SAME DRAMATIC FASHION. Not that our leaders weren’t follow God, hope this clarifies the true heart behind this. I have nothing but respect for our leadership.

      • DJ Jenkins

        This makes sense Dan. I guess one other question then is to ask, with God moving so dramatically in the past, how are we to say he is not moving our CCC leadership to change the name now? How are we to be sure this is not part of Jesus’ plan to use CCC to be more effective in the future?

        I have no reason in particular to believe that God moving powerfully in the past to give us the name we have means God wouldn’t move, perhaps powerfully, again to CHANGE our name.


  • Chris Hiney

    Great post Dan! I think your argument is valid and honestly I agree with what you wrote. The name change isn’t the thing that bother’s me the most, although crescendo (possible name replacement) is pretty lame ;), its the vision statement that is connected to it. I agree with you that whatever name it does change to might give way to a slippery slope.

    Another issue is all the talk about how ‘so many people are offended’ ‘this is hindering this or that.’ I honestly BELIEVE that occurs throughout our nation, and I understand in isolated occasions, the NEED to change so the gospel could progress, but the national staff team are very vague about it. I WANT to see stats that they have accumulated or surveys that they have done to show all of the issues and problems they are saying are occurring. It feels like to me that this name change is just something they FEEL the need to do with slim reasoning.

    • DJ Jenkins

      I honestly believe Chris you just need to have your “ear to the ground” of culture and what most lost people on campus think. I don’t at all think our National Leaders need some “hard data” on the word Crusade to understand what that majority culture thinks of the word. Do we need hard data to understand what people think of the word “Jihad”? Or do we just know it based on knowing the lost people around us?

      • Chris Hiney

        do you honestly think that I am oblivious to the negativity with the word crusade? thats a bold accusation.

        my point was the national staff team is raving about the ineffectiveness of our name and I want to see who has experienced it and where and on what level and if that is indeed ENOUGH reason to change it

        • DJ Jenkins

          Chris I think I am saying if you know the negativity of the word (as you do) then how can you question whether it is a barrier to communicating “hear is a message of love and acceptance and wonderful news of what God has done.”

          I am pretty shocked that you, Dan, and some others are arguing that it isn’t really that big a deal to use the term crusade to describe our mission in 2011.

          • Chris Hiney

            I’m not Saying that it doesn’t bring any negative cultural baggage because I know it does, but what I want to know and am curious if changing the name overall instead of in isolated areas/ instances, because a lot of people do change it to real life or whatever, will really help.

            My experience is limited compared to you or others who have been staff, but in the 5 years that I’ve been involved with Campus Crusade 4 being a student, I’ve rarely run into people who are turned off to Jesus because of our name.

            Because of that, I am interested in hearing across a larger scale who’s being affected and what the actual results are in light of that

            • DJ Jenkins

              Dan & Chris,

              Everything you are saying makes sense. I think I am getting the overall argument as a whole. And I agree for sure Dan that I do not think changing our name is THE thing we really need to focus on.

              I guess I am more of a Switzerland on this issue. I would actually be fine keeping CCCi as the “parent” org name, and just using something different on campus as needed. At the same time, I think the benefits of getting away from “campus” and “crusade” are worth the loss of recognition we would have with the Evangelical community. Supporters that would be upset by us changing the name so we can help advance the mission and see more people know Jesus are immature in my estimation. Most of the Evangelical community, if we stress why, will be on board with us I believe.

              But it IS a loss for sure. Good thoughts all around.

          • Dan Birch

            Hey Dj,

            I’m not saying it isnt a big deal. But I NEVER ONCE have had any problems with it at Santa Monica, Chico, or Arizona state. I havent had to deal with it from a mtl administrator perspective, but I just havent felt hindered in any way with the name. Maybe that changes and maybe its just my cultural environment but thats my perspective. I think it is an ISSUE FOR SURE. I just dont think its worth changing our entire identity.

      • Dan Birch

        Again Dj Im not sure if your “jihad” analogy holds up in light of all the history and fruit of the ministry in the past, which I replied below.

        • Brian Virtue

          a counter-argument would be that much of that fruit was white, middle-class, majority culture fruit. Someone above referenced this, but it’s worth stating again. I would embrace a new name not for branding sake (which is what it has felt like), but to re-name what our organization actually is in relevant and non-offensive terms. To name what we are in light of our scope and mission. Campus isn’t big enough. Crusade is, as I agree with Josh, not very redeemable today and moving forward. To me and many out there “Crusade” reeks of power abuse – something our organization has struggled to understand over the years from an ethnic and cross-cultural standpoint. It’s not just an relevance or pc issue – it’s an issue of trust among people’s who do not have much reason to trust either Christians or more specifically “white Christians.”

          I have great hope that the next 60 years could be better than the last 60 years – something many staff seem to not totally believe with all the nostalgia and “back to our roots” type of language that is always circulating. I have hope that regardless of what our name is – we will be more fruitful evangelistically, more inclusive and humble when it comes to crossing cultures, and more sensitive and courageous related to issues of justice. Those last two are not part of the legacy of CCC in large measure and CCC’s identity thus far. CCC’s distinctives don’t need to change, but so much about our identity does need to change for the sake of the mission. I personally believe an effective and helpful name would bring new life and hope in many areas – though the names on the board all reflect thinking about the name like we are trying to name Nike’s next shoe or the next new Bible software rather than a name that says who we are or what we are about globally.

          The thing that bewilders me most is stating that “crusade” as a word is problematic, but that we would then offer CRU as the new name. I can imagine someone asking – what does “cru” stand for. The answer, “Crusade.” So I don’t see that helping us out much if the issues are true!

          • Dan Birch

            Really good post Brian! And I think you have some great points, especially the whole CRu thing, which crossed my mind:)

            Maybe I’m just super PESSIMISTIC:) But I really would love the next 60 years to be better but am very very skeptical that they would. Partially because of history, and I’m not pretending to know a bunch. BUt I do know that very hundreds of years movements of GOD have risen and fallen, even one of my spiritual heroes Charles spurgeon established a great school for young missionaries and church planters that is really no longer in existence in the same way. God has a purpose for everything and than for reasons we dont know chooses to start up new organizations instead. And here we have Campus Crusade for Christ, a christian organization UNLIKE any group in the world ever before with scope and size. In some way, I feel like changing our name our signs that we may be completely shifting into something new that isnt better, and I have to believe that every movement that no longer exists probably started attempting the same things. Morphing so much that before you know it, your not the same group or have the same mission, and all of a sudden another organization is divinely appointed by God . Now let me clarify that HASNT HAPPENED WITH CRUSADE. I just am looking towards the future and really hope that, that isnt the case, I am glad to be on staff and want our group to been seen as a cutting edge ministry, but again I dont think we are focusing on the issues that matter.

            Why havent I seen 3 videos from Steve Sellars on the need to innovate new evangelism tools?

            Why havent I seen Steve Douglas make a video about the need to select the right students in a movement?

            Why havent a seen new staff modules with real life application of actually doing day to day life on campus?

            I just really think we are aiming at a vision and mission that is becoming unclear to me, but I do pray things become better as time goes on.

            • Brian Virtue

              I see what you’re saying, but not sure I’m as concerned as you about some of what this means for the future. Maybe we can agree though that if the name could work as a shoe title or a random product on the shelf then maybe it’s not a good idea.

              I personally would love for our organization to be named “Movements Everywhere”. It’s who we are. It’s what we’re going for. It’s not lame (to me at least). But we’ll see what happens. I would say I would probably rather the name stay as ccc than the 5 options we were provided.

              • Aaron Badenhop

                “Movements Everywhere.” That might be the best name suggestion I’ve seen. I wonder if that website was too expensive though to be one of the options. Is it too late to amend the list?

                • Brian Virtue

                  Badenhop! Dude it’s been forever. Hope things are well man!

                • Aaron Badenhop

                  I know man. OC2000 was a long time ago! Good to see ya on here!

                • Aaron Badenhop

                  I know man. OC2000 was a long time ago! Good to see ya on here!

                • Brian Barela

                  i really like this name as well.

                • Dan Birch

                  as long as the ministry charges go to your keynote account;)

                • DJ Jenkins

                  Bob Fuhs threw out another one that I thought wouldn’t be so bad either, “Worldwide Challenge.”

                  He said we already have the rights to it and it is already in our culture. I think I would go for it.

        • DJ Jenkins

          Non-believers don’t care about the Christian fruit that has come over the past 50 years. They don’t hear that word and think, “Maybe there is some organization out there that has seen some success and that is why they use that word.”

          They are just offended by it. Just like they are offended by jihad. It connotates a “holy killing war.” This is much of the reason we would change our name.

    • Dan Birch

      AMEN Hiney;)

      Yeah man I think thats a great perspective too from someone who is fresh off the campus and been around the college age ministry as a college student only a year ago. I don’t think are stats are going to improve by this name change thing, I just would really encourage our leadership to attack the root probably just as aggressive as the name change.

  • Tom Virtue

    Thanks for the thoughts Dan. From someone who has been on staff for a long time I’d take issue with one of the characterizations of the name change – that it’s part of “frantic changes”. This discussion has been going on for at least 20 years so to call it frantic is almost funny from my perspective since I’ve been thinking we should have had these discussions 20 years ago at least.

    The other thought I have is related to the life-stage of our organization. At the beginning it was easy for a prof to get a brainstorm & say it was an idea from God. There were maybe 3-4 stakeholders in the organization at that point – Bill & Vonette, Wilbur & Henrietta. It was an easy process to name the organization. Whatever Bill went with how it was. Now, the number of stakeholders includes all the US staff & interns, people involved movements in all the various divisions, and thousands of donors. The team has grown larger so the process has to be larger, who’s going to say that God told them the new name. I don’t think anyone has the position to be able to do that in our organizational world now. It’s a different world.

    Just a couple thoughts in response. As you can tell, I’m good with changing the name, although can’t say I’m wild about anything I’ve seen so far!

    • Dan Birch

      Hey tom,

      Yeah thanks so much for responding. I think its cool to actually hear from someone who’s been on staff for 20 years. Its interesting to hear your point of view, because I have heard other long time staff members be totally against the name change, and now you who are for it, so its seems interesting on why.

      Maybe just a quick response regarding the “frantic changes” I did know that people have talked about the name change before. But as far as my knowledge there hasn’t been such a push for change like there has been over this past year. Last year we had like 3 videos from Steve Douglas on evangelism numbers going down, which followed a structural change between regional and national, as well as the name change discussion with even a new mission statement in the survey. So from my perspective the NAME CHANGE is just part of the whole process which I really dont think we’ve been attacking the right issues regarding our organization. Honestly I’ve seen this as a new staff in the “new staff training” modules, there is absolutely almost NO information in the staff modules that really address how to actually do my job, aka “movement building strategies, student selection, encouraging evangelism innovation” so it doesnt suprise me that our NUMBERS are down, and thats where I think our leadership should focus. If we changed all the things I think that matter, then I would be a lot less adamant about changing our name. Again I think we are “giving the car a new paint job, and not addressing the engine”

      The reality is our name IS going to change, and there are people FOR it and people against it, I just feel like the people opposed to it really havent had a voice publicly and the history of the name was a part of my heart to why I think its not the right move. But I will definitely SUBMIT to our leadership and move forward with it when it starts.

      • Brian Virtue

        agree dan that there is a lack of movement building strategies built into the current systems – that’s why we in Epic felt the need to develop on our own a movement launching training to supplement it. It’s focused on helping people think about and do what we’re asking them to do since we were sensing some disconnects. There is some confusion practically as I see it with what we are trying to train people to do. There is a need for more clarity and more training for what we are trying to do in the current and future worlds.

        • Dan Birch

          Tom and Brian!

          AMEN TO BOTH OF YOU:) I totally agree, and again, I just would think differently about the name change if we were addressing those other issues as aggressively.

          This might seem weird but as a new staff when I hear about how gifted Bill Bright was and how the name came into being it makes me excited to be apart of the heritage, I think there is a line between grasping what has happened, and letting the younger generation be in charge of what will happen. I just wished we could have found that balance by not changing our name. Thats all pretty much.

          love your thoughts guys! I cant wait for CSU this year when this tell us the new name:)

      • Tom Virtue

        Thanks for responding Dan. Don’t want to make myself sound even more ancient, but actually I’ve been on staff for 38 years, but I’m saying that people have wanted a name change for at least 20 years.

        I’m totally on the same page of the last half of your middle paragraph. I think we miss a fair amount on what we focus on to help people at the local level. As I look about some of the changes on CCC int’l realm I’m really encouraged – focus on reproducing movements and addressing the culture of the organization overall are two things in particular that I see as critical.

        But, it seems like things take so long to get dispersed to the local level and see buy-in. For example, how long have we been talking about the priority of crossing cultures and seeing us learn how to be a part of what God wants to do in the world of ethnic students? Yet, it’s just not happening, and I have more thoughts on that than there’s room for here.

        All that to say, I hear what you’re saying about what the focus is for you as new staff, and it seems to me that some of what you’re experiencing is from us protecting our heritage too long rather than embrace some of the changes that need to take place. For that reason I say we need change on a lot of fronts. Bring on the new name altho it by itself won’t solve anything.

  • Aaron Groff

    Love the discussion.

    Does our organization have a global responsibility with changing our name? For 15 years, I have served with CCCi in a country that had the ‘real’ Crusades. Imagine starting up a conversation with this historical context.

  • Tim Casteel

    I am surprised to hear that many are fearful that our best years are behind us. I’m no CCC-fan boy. But I do think our best years are ahead of us.
    We’ve got a great leadership culture, with great local and national leaders.
    We are moving toward the right audiences for the future of our country and the world (cities and non-white students)
    We are beginning to see a culture of idea-generation and sharing (like this blog!)
    We are beginning to
    And certainly not least, we have a great theological base that has stayed true for 60 years. (I don’t think we can underestimate how important Keith Johnson and IBS have been in keeping us on course theologically. I mean, that’s where I first learned of Tim Keller 6 years ago!)

    Any slip in numbers, I think, is more an indication of where our country/culture is at than where our organization is at. And I feel confident that we are on the leading edge of adapting (OK, maybe a couple of years late to the party) to our changing culture.

    And though I think the name options are surprisingly bad, I personally don’t think the name means anything and we will all quickly adapt to the new name.

  • Ryan McReynolds

    I heard recently that the name Campus Crusade for Christ rates very unfavorably on an “aversion’ scale, especially with those seeking spiritual direction. Perhaps more interestingly, the most problematic part of the name is the word “campus”.

  • Kelley Otto

    I’m coming into this conversation at the end, here, but wanted to add my concerns with the naming process thus far. Although I’m not opposed to changing our name (I’m not going to go into reasons or comments for or against), I am concerned with the concept statement which we were surveyed on that seemed to be the driving force behind the names in the pool so far. I agree with Dan’s first reply to Jack
    “Did you take that name survey? the most scary part of the whole thing was the mission statement they had for our new name. Basically it sounded like a whole DIFFERENT organization. Names have huge meanings, names represent something, if YOU CHANGED MY NAME I would still live but I would feel a different sort of identity.”

    I wish I had a copy of the statement here (I tried to go back to the survey, but it is closed), but my best pass at what I remember standing out was something to this affect:
    We are a caring, global community that seeks to share the love of Jesus with people around the world. We are welcoming, and want people to feel accepted and like a valuable part of our community.
    (Wow, I know that’s far off from what it was, but I do remember reading and rereading the statement. To me, it communicated that our highest values were community and care.)

    I do not think this “concept statement” is specific enough to the ministry philosophy of CCCI, and the names that came out of it were not compelling to me, at all. It seems to imply that if we just “care hard enough,” we will further the cause of Christ. My experience with CCCI has definitely included transformational communities; however, even more so in my staff life I have sought to compel students to follow Christ, share His love, and be sent on mission for Him through intentional, Bible-centered equipping and training. I do not see this missional equipping that we do so well communicated very well with the concept statement on which we were surveyed.

    I am really concerned that none of the five names we were surveyed on compellingly captures who we are, or sets us apart from the church (community on mission), or secular life-improvement agencies (Power to change).

    I would like to see a name that better communicates the evangelistic movement equipping nature of our ministry, while including the community aspect, rather than just communicating that we are a “community that cares.”

    • DJ Jenkins

      I think you make a great point Kelley (and sounds like Dan made it earlier). I too am more concerned about the “new vision statement” that was there rather than a specific name change. Though I know in the latest video Steve Sellers I think said those are just to help move the process along, but I too got the impressions that community and caring was THE most important thing.

  • Fromtheotherside

    I decided to pop in here when I saw this post was tied with Rob Bell for the most active response board. It had to be hot.

    Being sent from CCC to a creative-access country (going on 11 years now away from the mother-ship), I am enjoying these conversations from afar.

    A few of us over here were joking recently about this whole controversy, because over here we work really hard to not have a name nor be associated with CCC due to implied reasons.

    One thing that I have noticed flowing from that necessity is the freedom to focus on core distinctives and not have to worry so much about brand identity (CCC, P2C, Agape, Student Life, etc).

    I was in a legal briefing a year ago and one of CCC’s lawyers was briefing us on legal liability when attaching a name to any resource or material. When I asked him, “What if we NEVER want to put our name on it?”, he stood there stunned and not able to answer. It just wasn’t in his grid. Lawyers aren’t paid to think that way. But what does that mean for our culture distinctives of Kingdom Perspective and Local Ownership?

    It helped me realize how big a deal (and how sweeping the ramifications are) when dealing with a brand. Whatever you affix those letters or logo to becomes representative of the whole; and the whole becomes liable for its message and use.

    In light of some of our desired outcomes such as a) disciple-led Movements that send forth b) Christ-centered Lifetime Laborers c) to the nations, let me ask these questions –

    What would it look like if your team didn’t have a name? Didn’t have a brand? You didn’t use letters and you didn’t shorten it to something like Cru.

    What would you build around?
    What would you multiply?
    Would it be easier or harder to see disciple-led Movements grow up and go viral?


    From the other side

    • Brian Barela

      thanks for those questions and your perspective!

  • Joe Cross

    What are the five names that made the short list?

    • Lowe B

      The 5 names on the short list:

      Power to Change

      I don’t mean to belittle our leaders, but here was our honest reaction:
      -Carus- meaningless to most people. Few people know that this from Greek and this is a strange transliteration of that word anyway (the standard transliteration is “charis” but that would be hard too). Sounds like a used car seller take off on Toys-R-us.
      -Communitas. Sound like “communism”, meaningless to most people, and many (like me) don’t think Latin sounding words are impressive
      -Crescendo. To me, this is the least bad, but it has too many musical connotations. We’re not a music ministry.
      -Cru. A meaningless word. Sounds like the sport “crew”. And people will ask “where did that come from?” which leads back to the source problem
      -Power to Change. It sounds like an insipid Obama slogan

      Other alternatives:
      Campuses and Communities for Christ
      Worldwide Challenge
      Movements Everywhere

  • Lowe B

    Here is the proposed positioning statement:

    “I’m part of a global community of caring Christians, passionate about connecting others to Jesus Christ. This community partners with individuals to make the most of their talents to positively impact the lives of others for God, making them feel empowered and fulfilled.”

    Here is Steve Seller’s explanation (I transcribed this from his video, it may not be word perfect, but its close): We are the mission organization that creates opportunities to significantly use your life in the context of meaningful relationships in ways that change and transform lives.

    My wife and I have very serious reservations about this positioning statement. It looks like we’re departing from the vision that we’ve been part of for over 27 years. Where is fulfilling the Great Commission? Where is a reference to movements?

    To be honest, I’m not even totally clear, what is the purpose of this positioning statement anyway?

    I think it’s very post modern (in a bad way) and man centered.

    What do you think?

  • Lowe B

    Does anyone know of any official place sponsored by CCC US where this discussion is taking place? Or is this the only place where people can give any input about this process?

    What do the veteran CCC staff and leaders like Paul Eshleman, Josh McDowell, Bailey Marks Sr., Ted Martin, etc. think about this new name and the positioning statement? What do other CCC leaders like Ken Cochrum, Holly Sheldon, Greg Lillestrand, Bailey Marks Jr. think about this?

  • Prayer_Coach

    Dear Dan,

    I know this name change has been discussed for some time, but it seems to have gained momentum again as I heard that it would become official at staff conference this year. I, like you, hope this is just a rumor. Dr. Bright was open to having the name changed, but he never had a better option ( Maybe he never felt another option was better because of where the first one came from.

    I would agree that God may do something different in a new season, but I hope the name change is God’s leading and not an attempt to be more palatable to others.


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