Campus Crusade for Christ is mushrooming. It was at work on 155 campuses last May; now it’s on 303. Participating students have more than doubled in the current academic year.

Staff numbers are up 67 per cent this year also, but the press of the crowd is making the effervescent, evangelistic movement increasingly student-run. Founder-President William R. Bright denies any shift in strategy or philosophy, preferring to speak of “evolution.” He insists that basically Crusade is “not a student-led program.” On many local campuses, however, the change is dramatic. Bright sees greater student involvement as a result of Crusade’s growth. Many on campus believe a greater student role is sparking that growth.

Crusade staff members often used to direct the entire program, conduct most of the meetings, do most of the evangelism. As University of Wisconsin student mobilizer Duane Dobschuetz puts it: “Staff ran things. Students tended to sit there and watch. It was just another organization. It killed our creativity.”

The movement is growing so fast now that staffers just can’t do everything. So last summer Crusade gave the equivalent of staff training to 8,000 students at its handsome hotel-headquarters near San Bernadino, California. “We gave the students the authority to start their own ministries on their campuses if they stayed in touch with the district staff team. The team is there to advise and support,” said national field worker Stephen Meyer.

Now many staffers are not resident at a single campus but travel in teams within a geographical area, going where the Spirit and need lead. And students increasingly plan local strategy and speak in fraternity and sorority houses.

Students are also “more on their own now,” Bright said, in ...

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