What’s in a name? Maybe more than you think.

By July 21, 2011

USA (MNN) — A change in name carried a host of connotations and significance in biblical times. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, and Jacob became Israel — all to better represent the Lord at His command. Even Saul became Paul to better reach his Greek audience.

Though the name change of Campus Crusade for Christ may not carry with it the same weight as a biblical name change, the ministry does hope it will ultimately help to better serve the Lord's purposes.

For years, non-believers and even some believers have struggled with the name "Campus Crusade for Christ." Campus Crusade surveys show that in the United States, 20% of the people willing to consider the Gospel are less interested in talking with Campus Crusade staff after they hear the ministry's name.

Why the strong reactions? For one thing, the word crusade–although appropriate for the ministry's original 1951 audience–has unfortunately gained a negative connotation throughout the States. The very word, says the ministry, can act as a barrier to the very people they wish to reach.

Secondly, Campus Crusade has come to realize that the word campus does not adequately represent the scope of the ministry either. Campus Crusade has a presence on more than just college campuses in the U.S., but for potential partners who don't know that, they can sometimes be put off by the word.

As a result of the dilemmas the ministry has faced regarding its name, they have spent years praying about and discussing where to head next. Now, the ministry is glad to present their solution.

Campus Crusade for Christ from now onwill go simply by the ministry nickname, "Cru." Although "Cru" itself does not have any inherent meaning, the ministry hopes it will acquire meaning. "Like Google, Starbucks, and other abstract names," reads the Cru Web site, "we expect to fill Cru with meaning as it embodies all that we are as we go to the world with the Gospel."

Cru has made it clear that their intention was never to take "Christ" out of their name. Cru's mission is still the same, and in fact, the ministry hopes the new name will enable them to have discussions about Christ with people who might initially be turned off by a more overtly Christian name.

The change will only affect Campus Crusade chapters in the United States. The ministry goes by different names in other countries already. The name change also will not affect Cru extensions like the JESUS Film Project.

Ultimately, the name has changed to better serve the Lord's purposes, just as biblical characters' names were changed centuries ago. Cru prays that the name change will help them to be even more effective in sharing the Gospel.

For more information on this change, visit www.ccci.org/cru.

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