This has been the outcome of a long process. Rumours reached The Netherlands somewhere early last year, and when I was visiting the global headquarters in March, I was happy to understand the change was going to be for real and soon to be announced. It was clear from the beginning this would not affect the name of our national ministry Agapè, but of course it is an important step for the global movement.
I’m curious how the name Cru will develop. It has been in use with many local groups around the US for a long time, so there is a lot of data to rely on. Personally, I would have liked to see a more meaningful, dynamic and perhaps even more edgy name. Obviously, the word Cru is taken from the word Crusade. And because there is no inherent meaning to Cru, we might end up explaining a lot of times that this is the name for a movement that once was called ‘Campus Crusade for Christ’. Finally, it will be only a matter of time before the CRUel jokes will come up. I think I should just trust the wise men and women that led this process have thought about all this…
The announcement is creating a lot of buzz. Cru and CCC were even trending op Twitter for a while, which is always good. But I was shocked to read some comments of staff and ministry friends on Facebook who critize the name change. Many of those people seem to see it as ‘giving in’, as some sort of world conformity; they seem to think that you’re pleasing people more than God when you take out the word Christ of the name. A strange way of thinking, I must say. Did all these people join staff because the name of the movement contained the words Christ and Crusade? Did they say no to YoungLife, Navigators, InterVarsity because of their names? I guess not. They were probably more captured by the heart and purpose of the movement than by its name.
Interesting fact: the Dutch ministry changed its name already almost 40 years ago from ‘Campus Crusade for Christ’ to ‘Institute for Evangelism’, which was also a somewhat unfortunate name (and an oxymoron, IMHO). Later, in 1990, the name ‘Agapè’ was adopted for the ministry. I am not 100% sure, but I think until that moment, Agapè was the name used for social action outreaches. Anyway, this name serves us well until today, but if needed, I would not hesitate to change it again.
The original reasons for changing our name back then by the way, are exactly the same reasons that are given for CCC’s changing into Cru: the word Campus is too limiting and the word Crusade is too offensive. As it is stated in the CT article: there are already too many stumbling blocks for the gospel. And let me, as a non-US staff, assure those who are still in doubt: ‘crusade’ is really, really a bad word in our context. It puts people off, makes the wrong connotations and is even in the core of its meaning not serving our purposes.
I applaud the leadership for this decision. I’m happy about the open communications about the why’s and how’s and really pray this change will open doors that otherwise would stay closed.
UPDATE: A funny comment on Facebook made me aware of my own preconceptions: I immediately read ‘Cru’ the American way, but in Dutch ‘cru’ is an actual word with actual meaning… See Google Translate 🙂