Scott Moreau, professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College, welcomes CCCI's name change because its current brand causes some confusion internationally, though he anticipates that people might suggest the ministry wants to be politically correct. Moreau was on Campus Crusade's staff in Kenya, where the organization was called Life Ministries.
"There's a PC-ish framing that makes people uncomfortable, but my response would be that PC framing is not driving this. It's unnecessarily offensive," Moreau said. "The name, as it currently stands, is not neutral. Its time has run its course as a name of an American evangelical organization. There are already enough stumbling blocks for people coming to Christ."
Moreau estimates that between 10 to 20 missions and evangelism organizations have changed their names in the last decade because of cross-cultural considerations.
In 2007, the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association of North America (IFMA) changed its name to CrossGlobal Link, citing how the words "interdenominational" and "foreign" have changed meanings since its 1917 inception. The mission organization EFMA changed from its original name, Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, to Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies in 1992 to include domestic missions as members. In 1997, it changed its name again to The Mission Exchange. In 2004, the Conservative Baptist Association changed its name to CBAmerica, and in 2008, the Baptist General Conference became Converge Worldwide.
Other organizations have changed names as their reach has broadened. For instance, the mission organization most widely known as SIM (Serving in Mission) was founded in 1893 as Sudan Interior Mission.
C. Douglas McConnell, provost of Fuller Seminary, notes that many organizations go by their acronyms, like YWAM (Youth With A Mission). "We used to call them "Youth Without Any Money" because that's how they came to us," McConnell said. YWAM, similar to Campus Crusade, requires missionaries to raise their own financial support.
McConnell led efforts at Fuller to change its School of World Mission to School of Intercultural Studies in 2003, because he found that the term world mission was seen as offensive in the Middle East and Central Asia.
"You have these vying constituencies and you have to bring them together while minimizing the damage and make what you think is the best decision," McConnell said. "Donors have all these pleasant memories and you have new recruits barking at the old name and saying it's antiquated. After you make the change, you have all this pastoral and opinion management."
CCCI leaders have discussed changing the name over the years simply because the word campus was limiting, said John Turner, author of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ.
Campus Crusade has long outgrown its "campus" portion to head other ministries, Josh McDowell's apologetics work, the Athletes in Action sports organization, and FamilyLife, a marriage and family ministry.
In 1979, the ministry produced the Jesus Film, which is now available in 1,129 languages. The ministry says more than 6 billion people have watched the film, which some call the most-watched motion picture of all time. Bright wrote "The Four Spiritual Laws," a popular evangelistic tract that led off with the well-known phrase "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life," in 1952. The ministry estimates that it is the most widely-distributed religious booklet, with 2.5 billion printed.