Social Media for Ministries
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Our Name is Not Our Message

cru global logoCampus Crusade announced that it has changed it’s name to Cru Global at our U.S Staff Conference this week. One of my roles has been to monitor and influence the discussion through social media.

Yesterday I read through 1600 comments on our discussion page and along with two other staff deleted over 900. I then began to respond to many of the remaining comments that either disagreed, wanted more explanation, or affirmed the decision to change the name.

Within a few minutes of responding to these comments I noticed a theme:

Nearly everyone who disagreed with the name change believed we were compromising the Gospel message, watering it down, or heading down a “slippery slope” that would lead to our ministry’s ruin. 

My response was simple:

“Jesus Christ is God’s ONLY provision for man’s sin. Through him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our life.”

For those outside of Cru this is part of Law 3 of the 4 Spiritual Laws that our founder Dr. Bill Bright developed over 5o years ago. Cru often receives criticism for being “old.” This was a time where I proudly shared the Gospel message we communicate has not changed in over 5o years.

One example for the discussion page:

“You removed the name of Christ because you wanted to make it sound less Christian. You’re trying to deceive people with your name, now here you are outright making false statements to justify it. You know, perhaps you are better off not using Christ’s name after all…”

Rather than argue about the name change process, the consulting group that listened intently to our needs and worked closely with our executives, I copied and pasted Law 3.

And again:

“My Lord, when did the name of Crhist become a stumbling block? A hindrance. If we come by any other name we are not of Christ. Christ said those who leave were never of them. Isn’t this all about Christ.”

No need to respond with smart and insightful words about the process. Copy and paste the Gospel message.

Whenever I share the Gospel as a staff member with Cru, I long to be able to get to a point in the conversation where I can share Law 3. When we train staff, students, and volunteer how to share their faith the number one goal is to keep the conversation focused on Jesus and to share the Gospel clearly and boldly. Our staff are most frustrated when someone or something distracts a person from hearing and/or having an opportunity to respond to the Gospel.

The name of our ministry has never been central to our success. I hope it stays that way.

12 Comments

  1. Brian, you’ve been in a hard spot. I’m surprised by the number and fervor of people who think you’ve gone off the deep end. Cru has its issues, but it’s going to open up more good conversations. It’s a win. Your post also pushes beyond semantics to the heart of the matter. Keep your chin up.

  2. Something about having a form of spirituality, versus actually following Christ. Its just sad to see that the origins of the thinking about affirming and announcing the role of Christ in all the ventures that we believe He is leading us to, can get so far corrupted that the arguments which you mention even come up.

      • To be fair to us emotional hotheads, the announcement was not particularly released in a manner that promoted a fair and logical approach. I log in to facebook, and see two posts from Cru; the new logo and the CCCI online announcement. Essentially the only information about the name change was that it happened. So naturally, being a CCC baby with a huge emotional investment in the name, I freak out. I quickly make two posts in succession explaining (in a fairly well-reasoned manner – neither were deleted) why I did not like the name change.

        I follow the thread, and after awhile, someone posts a link to the FAQ. I go to the link, and then I realize that the FAQ link was on the announcement page, albeit extremely low profile and hard to find. I read it through, found all of my questions answered and more. Immediately I “recant” and post my brand new opinion that, in fact, the name change was an excellent decision.

        Unfortunately, so many people with even more emotional investment reacted in the same way. Because there was no real information in the initial posts on the amount of research, prayer, and time that went into the decision, all that was left was the mostly emotional response.

        I definitely don’t agree with how people responded so negatively, angrily lashing out at you guys. Those judgmental and irrational responses (not saying that all the dissenters were irrational, but a lot were) are what people negatively associate with Christianity today.

        I hope Cru can learn from this experience. Just as the name change was intended to open the doors to people who react negatively to the name of CCC, the press releases need to be done in a way to open the doors to people who react negatively to change.

        Oh and by the way, I am totally on board with the name change. I’m a web designer, so I completely understand how important (yet changeable) presentation is in relation to the unchanging core content. I’m definitely praying that God will show people that the name change is not for the staff, the alumni, or even Christians in general. It’s for the lost.

        • hey michael thanks for leaving a comment here, and for sharing your thoughts on the discussion page.

          i am okay with emotional reactions–it was amazing how people said we should be ashamed of ourselves for denouncing Christ.

          this is definitely a learning experience for us–i’m sure if we had another chance we would do certain things much differently.

          overall though the reaction seems to feed more into the perception that Christians are judgmental and harsh to their own.

          even still as of this morning 95% of the new comments are hurtful and angry reactions.

          i am working on a summary of the name change strategy and will include your comments here so that we can continue to improve our communications. thank you!

          • Yeah, I didn’t mean simply having emotion in the response; that’s fine by me. But so many of their responses were pure negative emotion with no room for discourse. And it was like a mob mentality too, where negative comment would build on each other, and anything that supported the name change would just catalyze other angry reactions.

            And just so you know, a lot (if not most) of my comments above are simply reactionary analyses of the situation. If I had been involved with the name change, I would have been so excited and eager to get the news out as fast as possible. Sure, I’d expect some negative feedback, but not on the scale or the viciousness on the CCC page.

            It’s disturbing how quick people were to suddenly decide that the entire leadership of Cru was no longer in touch with God and that Cru was on the path to being a secular institution. I’ve heard illustrations of how church-goers freaked out when drums and guitars started being used in sanctuaries, but I just kind of chuckled at that. Apparently that mentality is far more widespread than I had ever imagined.

            In the meantime, I’ll just try to avoid the comments section on those particular posts. Keep up the good work. Organizations must adapt their strategies to continue being effective. Negative reactions or no, I really believe that Cru is on the right track.

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  4. Dennis Beck says

    The negative comments are ridiculous and are clearly made by people who don’t understand anything about Cru. As a former staff member of 17 years and current uni prof, I got your back. You guys are ALWAYS outspoken for Christ. And the name change will just give you more opportunities to share the gospel!

      • Brian, I am one of those people that God impacted through Cru. It was not until I was a college sophomore and was pursued in love by a staff member and student he was discipling that I really began to connect the dots of my faith and begin to live for Christ. That’s why I joined staff a few years later. For those of us who have been part of Cru, have served on staff, and/or are supporters of the ministry, we KNOW the heart and passion of the ministry. It saddens me profoundly to see the attacks on the ministry. I get questions and people who wish that the name wasn’t changed…but so many go beyond that and claim the ministry is wrong for changing the name. Know that you all have more supporters than detractors. Sorry you have to navigate through the rubbish; but the way Cru is handling this and your Law 3 response is outstanding. God bless you, brother.

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