Happy Birthday, Cru!
I’ve been a part of this amazing ministry for 52 years! I met Jesus at a Young Life camp in high school. When I arrived at the University of Texas, I looked to connect with people who would help me grow in my relationship with God and learn how to tell others about Jesus.
I received that and more when I met staff and students from Campus Crusade for Christ International—I learned how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit day by day, even moment by moment. Truly life transforming.
I joined full-time staff when I graduated from UT, getting an amazing dream assignment: to write and edit on the campus magazine Collegiate Challenge. An even greater privilege came as I worked closely with Bill Bright for 14 years, helping him write and edit books and ministry materials.
In 1974 I was part of a team that launched the Worldwide Challenge, a magazine telling friends and donors what God was doing through Campus Crusade and encouraging them to ask how God might want to use them. It has continued publishing for 42 years.
Latest issue of Worldwide Challenge Magazine
Of course, one of my best highlights was marrying Steve Douglass, then vice president for administration, now President of Campus Crusade globally. We seek to lead the ministry together with vision, passion, grace and humility—only by the grace of God.
For years I have sought to encourage, be an advocate for, open doors for the women of our ministry. I am convinced we need their contributions if we are to do what God has called us to do. We took a giant step forward in 2004 with the Global Women’s Leadership Forum. More than 400 women from 95 nations came together for a week: Together we worshiped, studied the Word, learned leadership skills, met in coaching groups, received practical training. They returned to their homes as fireseeds to spread the message and training with the women in their circles!
A few of the women attending the GWLF
Now I have the great privilege of traveling the world to encourage our staff women to be who God created them to be and do all that God has prepared for them to do—contributing to our mission with their gifts and commitment.
Those are some of my highlights. Another of my privileges has been to help tell the story of this ministry, though Worldwide Challenge and by editing our 50th anniversary book, Until Everyone Has Hear. Here are a few highlights from 65 years:
1951—While studying for a seminary exam, Bill Bright, a young and passionate believer, received a unique impression from God to invest his life in helping to reach the entire world for Christ, beginning with college students. He and his wife, Vonette, began to pursue that vision at the UCLA campus. The ministry slogan was “Win the campus for Christ today. Win the world for Christ tomorrow.”
Bill and Vonette Bright
1958—Dr. Bright challenged Korean Joon Gon Kim to launch the ministry in his country. Expansion continued quickly to Pakistan, Mexico and Japan.
1961—Campus Crusade moved to Arrowhead Springs, which became the headquarters and a training center that increased growth greatly.
Arrowhead Springs–CCC Headquarters until 2001
1965—The Four Spiritual Laws booklet was printed, giving anyone who wanted to tell others about Jesus a simple, clear explanation of the gospel. It is likely the most widely distributed religious booklet in history, with more than 2.5 billion printed to date.
1972—EXPLO 72 brought 85,000 students and adults together at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for a week of training in evangelism and discipleship. I still hear stories from people whose lives were changed that week.
1974—More than 300,000 delegates participated in EXPLO 74, a training conference in Seoul, Korea. This gathering helped to accelerate the growth of the church in Korea and other parts of Asia.
1979—Jesus, a film account of the life of Christ, premiered in 250 theaters. Now translated into more than 1400 languages, the Jesus Film Project carries more than than 30 short and feature length films and has partnered with more than 1,500 ministries.
1985—EXPLO 85 linked an estimated 300,000 delegates at 98 conference sites on five continents, with the help of 18 satellites.
1991—Campus Crusade moved its headquarters from Southern California to Orlando, FL.
Lake Hart Cru Headquarters
2001– Bill Bright passed the leadership torch to new president Steve Douglass in front of an audience of 8,000 at Campus Crusade’s bi-annual staff conference, at Colorado State University.
Installing Steve Douglass as President
2003–Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, died from complications due to pulmonary fibrosis. We honored his “life lived well” with a great celebration.
2007–More than 15,000 students representing 121 countries gathered in South Korea for CM 2007, one of the largest global student missions events in history.
2012– Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. changed its name to Cru. Steve Sellers continues to lead Cru.
2015– Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, died due to complications from acute leukemia.
Bill and Vonette Bright
These highlights just skim the top of all God has done in and through this mission. I am so blessed to have been a part of it for so long.
Thank you for celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness with us. Please pray as we continue to work with others toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.