This week my former employer, Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), announced they were changing their name to cru in 2012. Sadly, typically, the announcement has brought out a torrent of angry, untrue, and ungodly responses from “Christians” who are opposed to the change. CNN, Fox, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post have handled it better than “Christian” sources. An important moment has been turned into an online game of attack the motives and eviscerate the leaders. The best blog headline I saw; “Campus Crusade now cru; Angry bloggers still angry.”
Nobody changes a name randomly, except for professional athletes (nod to Metta World Peace). An acquaintance once changed her last name from Rape to Raye. Companies change names all the time for effectiveness (Kentucky Fried Chicken -> KFC), to escape some bad press (ValuJet -> Air Tran), or because the original no longer worked (Lucky Goldstar -> LG).
Ministries and churches change names too. Usually it’s to better reflect their mission or to be more effective. A great Durham church changed their name from Homestead Heights Baptist Church to The Summit in 2001. They were not compromising or “ashamed” of their denomination, nor less committed to Homestead. Their growth, baptisms, and connection to the SBC are far greater now than under the old name. The name change facilitated greater effectiveness.
Change to enhance accomplishing the shared mission of proclaiming Christ should be cheered, not jeered. Missional ministries should change anytime it helps them spread the gospel, including changing a name. Yes, even if it means the word “Christ” or “Jesus” is not in the name.
What company or ministry has the same name they used 60 years ago? I suggested they updated their 1951 name to 21st century chic by calling it Global Jesus Ventures or Gospel for Dummies (surprisingly, they didn’t call back).
CCC feels their original name no longer works. They are right. They started as a college group but have myriads of other ministries now, so the word “campus” is misleading. “Crusade” may have been acceptable for Billy Graham in the 40’s and 50’s but even his ministry dropped the word in 2000. This is long overdue. In Europe, CCC has been named Agape for decades. In Canada, the same group is named Power to Change. Changing the name to enhance public acceptance of the gospel is godly, moral, and positive.
Regardless of how you feel about Campus Crusade for Christ becoming cru (it’s not my favorite), changing anything that hinders your mission is essential. Believers should be hoping the name change helps spread the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission. That’s their mission; it’s our mission; and should be our passion.
So I’m praying cru is even more effective at helping to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.
- Have you seen ministries or churches change names well?
- What is the role in believers critiquing an announced decision?