The first of the three words in our organizational DNA?
Of the three, this is the word whose usage is the most antiquated. But keep in mind that CCC started long before political correctness.
When we say we are trying to win students and faculty to Christ, we don’t mean it to sound like they are a game that we are playing, or that we want to do something to them without their consent. We want to give individuals the opportunity to hear and respond to a message. But we’re convinced that the message is so astounding (and so supernaturally backed) that the hearers can be (and are) changed on a fundamental level by hearing and responding. We believe that because we’ve experienced it.
So, one of the distinctives of Campus Crusade (that is reflected in our name) since the very beginning has been the unashamed, unwavering, bold proclamation of the gospel. At times that has given us a bad reputation as tract people who are more concerned with numbers than with actually connecting with folks. In my 11 year experience (both as student and staff) within this organization, that has turned out to be a near-totally fabricated accusation. We are concerned with numbers, sure, but so were the writers of Scripture. ( ____ people were fed with ____ loaves and ____ fish in Matthew 6:41… ____ people came to Christ after Peter preached in Acts 2:41…) We want to know the numbers so that we can celebrate what God is doing! But we are far more concerned that people experience the gospel than we are with a number.
Are there (or have there ever been) any staff members who are more concerned with numbers or getting people through a booklet? Sure. At times our zeal has outpaced our discretion. Do we always have great, crystal-clear theology of evangelism organizationally? Nope. The “I found it” campaign in the 70s immediately comes to mind. There are two sides to err on, the side of over-enthusiasm and the side of smug theological arrogance and nit-picking (curiously also often leading to a lack of passion and action). We’ve almost exclusively erred on the side of enthusiasm. But that enthusiasm is under-girded and driven by a single, unshakably biblical conviction: God wants to use people to save other people.
I will firmly stand behind the current local, regional and national leadership and say that, to the best of my knowledge, their heart is to trust the Lord to change the hearts of students and faculty on the college campus. And that’s something I want to be a part of as well, for the good and benefit of those faculty and students.
But as we read Matthew 28:18-20, we find Jesus commanding us to make more than converts. He wants us to make “disciples.” Tune in tomorrow for how we are seeing that take place, as we look at “build.”