Florida State University Cru
By: Molly Pilcher, Fall 2015
Campus ministries have been around for hundreds of years. They all have one common interest, which is to bring their religion to college students. This was also a goal of Bill and Vonette Bright. While Bill was going through seminary, he became passionate about wanting to bring Christianity to college campuses. This passion brought a campus ministry, which he called “Campus Crusade for Christ”, to UCLA in 1951. Campus Crusade for Christ spread like wildfire and was on a handful of college campuses in just a few years. Not only was it college campuses, but they also started to partner with organizations in other countries and within only 10 years, they became active in 3 countries. Since the movement was growing so quickly, they decided to purchase a facility to make it their headquarters. In 1962, the Campus Crusade for Christ bought Arrowhead Springs Resort, in San Bernardino California, where their headquarters would stay for 30 years.
Through those 30 years, many different events took place and the spread of the movement went even further. A key event took place in 1965 when Bill Bright decided to put his thoughts into words and wrote a book titled “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws”. The publishing of this book was monumental for Campus Crusade for Christ because it sold over two and a half billion copies and ended up being translated into more than 200 languages. It was also the inspiration for another booklet that came out in 1965 called “Would You Like To Know God Personally”, or the KGP for short. Another notable event was what is known as the “Berkeley Blitz” which was where members of Campus Crusade for Christ went on the Berkeley campus and spread the gospel in response to people who were on the radical side of Christianity. They reached so many people that more than 700 people decided to dedicate their lives to the beliefs of Christianity. Several other events took place during these years that included: the release of the JESUS movie in 1979 which became the most translated movie of all time and led 201.6 million people to decide to follow Christianity, the start of “summer projects” which took people around the world to share the gospel, and in 1988 the first year of recognition of the national day of prayer which was co-led by Vonette Bright, and the spread of the organization to 138 different countries.
In 1991, Campus Crusade for Christ moved their world headquarters to Orlando, Florida, which is where they still reside today. Because of a decline in health, Bill Bright named Steve Douglass the new President of Campus Crusade for Christ in August of 2001. Two years later, Bill Bright passed away leaving a huge legacy behind that still continues today in 190 countries.
Part of this worldwide movement can still be found today in Tallahassee on the campus of FSU. After a decision to change the organization’s name because of some negative reactions to the word “crusade” and because it was no longer only on college campuses, in 2011 the worldwide group became known as simply “Cru”. Today, FSU Cru is involved with students from the three area colleges (FSU, FAMU, and TCC). This registered student organization (RSO) started around a decade ago and their purpose hasn’t changed much since then. The RSO’s main intent is build relationships with the students and faculty while sharing ways to begin a relationship with God and grow in it.
One of their ways of building relationships with people is to simply walk up to people and start a conversation. These conversations are meant to be a natural and not a forced, awkward experience. For years, the KGP has been used as a simple way to share the gospel with anyone who has questions about it. The main part of FSU Cru is what they refer to as their “main meeting”. This meeting takes place every Thursday night at 8 pm in Moore auditorium in FSU’s student union. The main meeting is structured similarly to the typical Christian church service. It starts out with all the attendees singing several worship songs together. After worship, a speaker gives a message that is geared towards college students and focuses on tangible ways to begin or further a relationship with Christ. The speaker is usually one of the paid staff members for FSU that works for the nationwide Cru organization. The service concludes with one or two more worship songs and some general announcements. This structure, with a few rearrangements of course, has been essentially the same since the beginning of the RSO.
FSU Cru is partnered with Queens University in Belfast, Ireland. This means that some students and staff members go there either permanently, or on a summer mission to continue the movement. During these summer projects, one of the tools that Cru uses is the JESUS movie to help students understand the meaning of the gospel. They also use a three-goal system that has been present in some form or another since the beginning. This system is not only used on summer projects, but also at FSU as well. The three goals are win, build, and send. The word win refers to wanting to win the hearts of people by showing them the gospel and by them wanting to be “won” by God. Build is the second goal and it refers to building a relationship with these people that have been “won” and also building their relationship with God. The last goal, which is send, means that Cru wants to send these people out into the rest of the world to tell the everyone what happened to them when they began a relationship with God.
Since the beginning of FSU Cru, small groups of any number from 5-15 people take place once a week as a way to get to know some of the other members of Cru and to learn more about the bible. These bible studies started out being called “community groups” and are now referred to as “legacy groups”. The name change took place this year when FSU Cru redesigned the way these groups worked. About two years ago, FSU Cru officially made an extension organization called Doulos. Doulos was founded specifically for students involved in Greek life and uses ideas similar to community groups and the three goals of win, build, and send to show those students how to share and defend their faith in Greek life.
Today’s staff members of FSU Cru are Charlotte Marchant, Scott and Katie Perdue, and Rick and Christina Kingsley. These individuals work hard and are extremely passionate about FSU Cru and the global movement that it’s involved in. Worldwide traditions that were started decades ago by Bill Bright are still alive and well through the staff members right here at home.
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