Monday, August 01, 2011

Money Talks

So, I heard that Campus Crusade for Christ is changing their name to Cru.  I’m also hearing that there’s a whole lot of folks who are hopping mad about Christ being taken out the name.  Cru is being accused, in certain circles, of selling out, becoming secularized, holding hands with the devil and I believe replacing the Bible with the Book of Mormon.  OK, I’m exaggerating a wee little bit.  But they are taking hits.  And I know the hits hurt.

Rumors are afloat that a whole lot of wealthy donors, in the tradition of hard headed and hard hearted Christianity, are going to make the ministry pay for the name change by withdrawing funding.  That’s the spirit of God at work, huh?

My guess is that Cru made a prayerful change of name... knowing full well that it positioned them better to do ministry in today’s world. My guess is that they knew that they’d butt heads with long time supporters and even lose a few.  But it was worth the gamble.  It always is when you feel you’re responding to what God wants you to do.

 Knowing the ministry a bit I’m pretty convinced that they haven’t lost their spiritual moorings, still believe the same things, and are only adapting to the times.  After all, on college campuses they’ve been using the new name for a long time anyway.  It’s unfortunate they have to take shots from their friends in the midst of a change.  Unfortunately, taking shots is what some people of faith (thankfully, not the majority) seem to do best all too often.  If anything the shot takers are the ones who are probably being disobedient to God in the midst of all this.  I can't believe that God wants us to use our money as a blunt instrument to hurt a good ministry. Pretty sad when that happens. And it's even sadder when people hide behind a wall of proof texts and what they think is righteous indignation.

I’ve had my issues with Cru over the years. Some theological. Most methodological. But I’ve never doubted nor do I doubt now their commitment to their mission.  And I applaud their willingness to adjust to changing times and take the heat for doing so.

I remember hearing a story about Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, a few years ago. It seems he was watching a new ministry band rehearse.  The music had an edge and bite to it.  Bright said to some other staff “I really don’t like this at all’.  One of the staffers said that the impact of the band was tremendous and many young people were hearing the Good News through them. Bright smiled and said, “Then I like this music a lot.”  Gotta love a guy who is not ruled by his preferences.  May that be true of us.

A fair amount of ministries are rethinking how they conduct business and mission these days.  We need to pray that they respond to God’s leading and resist the temptation to be held captive by their funders.  That’s not easy.  Money talks.  And sometimes what it says isn’t very pretty.

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