- Campus Crusade for Christ
- Campus Crusade for Christ, a ministry to college students begun in the 1950s by Bill and Vonette Bright, has grown into one of the largest Evangelical organizations in the world. Bill Bright (1921-2003), a California businessman, had experienced a conversion in 1945. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, but left in 1951 before finishing his degree. He sold his business and began a ministry to college students at the University of California, Los Angeles. The couple began with a simple plan: convert college students, train them to convert others, and place Christian ministries on all of the campuses in the United States.To implement that vision, in 1956, Bright wrote a small booklet entitled The Four Spiritual Laws. A new attempt to capsulize the essence of Evangelical Christianity, it became a simple, valuable tool that almost anyone could use in evangelical work. By the end of the 20th century, it had been translated into some 200 languages, and millions of copies had been distributed. It is considered the most widely disseminated piece of Christian literature apart from the Bible. Some critics accused the book and the crusade with its concentration on the beginning of the Christian life of perpetuating a shallow Christianity and being irresponsible in neglecting new converts.While continuing its work on college campuses, the organization began to expand its vision into other ministries. An early 1970s campaign proposed to visit every home in the United States, arousing negative reactions, especially from the Jewish community The New Life 2000 program, launched in 1987, was aimed at evangelizing every person on Earth by the year 2000. Though falling far short, the program motivated many people to increase their evangelistic endeavors. Meanwhile, the crusade backed some very successful subsidiary ministries, including the Josh McDowell ministry, Athletes in Action, and the Man's Authentic Nature program. Possibly its most successful program began in 1979 with the filming of the life of Christ. Subsequently translated into almost 400 languages, the Jesus film has been shown to almost a billion people, and in some countries has become the backbone of national evangelism programs.As the new century began, the aging Bright named longtime colleague Steve Douglass as his successor. By that time, Campus Crusade had the word's largest Evangelical Christian ministry, with operations in 191 countries, a staff of 26,000 fulltime employees, and more than 225,000 active volunteers. It greatly extended its reach through widespread networking with other Evangelical organizations. In 1991, the center of operations, located since its beginning in California, was moved to Orlando, Florida.See also Evangelicalism.Further reading:■ Bill Bright, Believing God for the Impossible: A Call to Supernatural Living (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life Publishers, 1979)■ ----, Come Help Change the World (Neptune, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell. 1970)■ ----, A Handbook for Christian Maturity (San Bernardino, Calif.: New Life, 1992)■ Judy Douglass, ed., Until Everyone Has Heard: Campus Crusade for Christ International (Orlando, Fla.: Campus Crusade For Christ International, 2001)■ Michael Richardson, Amazing Faith: The Authorized Biography of Bill Bright (Colorado Springs, Colo.: WaterBrook Press, 2000).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.