Beyond the campus

Campus Crusade for Christ International reaches students, as well as spouses, athletes and remote villages

Most of us have heard of the organization Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCI), yet few are aware that the Life reaches out to more than just college students. With more than 27,000 missionaries around the world and 225,000 volunteer staff members in 191 different countries, Campus Crusade reaches 99.5 percent of the world’s population.

In addition to reaching college students, Campus Crusade reaches sports enthusiasts through Athletes in Action, families and spouses through FamilyLife and thousands around the globe through the “JESUS” film project.

Campus Crusade began in 1951 on the campus of UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), because seminary student Bill Bright felt a strong urge from the Lord to start a Life that would spur on the Great Commission – Christ’s command to carry the Gospel to the entire world.

He felt a campus setting would work best and chose UCLA as his testing grounds.

With Bright’s tenacity and a chain of 24-hour prayer warriors by his side, Bright and his wife, Vonette, catapulted the campus Life into the widespread movement it is today – currently visible on 1,000 campuses, including more than 200 in Florida. In 2006, more than 10,000 Campus Crusade students spent their spring break helping out with the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina.

Robert Storrs, a University of Florida graduate, says Campus Crusade profoundly impacted his spiritual growth as a student., One summer, he even led 50 college students from Campus Crusade in a summer program in Ft. Lauderdale.

“It was like a spiritual greenhouse,” he reflects. “We all got summer jobs in South Florida, we were able to minister to our fellow co-workers, as well as encourage students via existing Campus Crusade programs on a variety of South Florida campuses.”

While many Christian students put their faith on the backburner in college, Storrs says Campus Crusade helped encourage and shape his faith.

“The Life demonstrated to me that being a Christian has more to do with serving others, rather than what you’re getting out of it.”

Beyond the campus, the Life now covers almost every segment of society with some 60 special ministries reaching out to inner cities, prisons, families, the military, executives, musicians and athletes. Each Life is designed to help fulfill the Great Commission.

After the mega campus Life, the second most notable Life of Campus Crusade is the “JESUS” film project, which Bright conceived and funded. The film has been viewed by more than 5.1 billion people in 234 countries and has become the most widely viewed and most widely translated film in history.

Not long ago, the film was translated into its 1,000th language – which is quite a task considering that many of these languages are known only to natives and are not recorded in print. According to Campus Crusade, more than 128 million people have indicated decisions to receive Christ in response to the “JESUS” film.

Bright is also the man behind the booklet, “Have you heard of the four spiritual laws?” To date, more than 2.5 billion booklets are in print. 

The third largest Life of Campus Crusade is FamilyLife, including FamilyLife radio and the Weekend to Remember conferences. (See page 15 for information on upcoming Weekend to Remember conferences coming to Florida).

Other Campus Crusade movements include Athletes in Action, bringing the Gospel message to the sports world, and Executive Ministries, reaching out to executives in business and major community leaders.

“I’m so excited to join a Life where I can use my business background and my faith to reach out to executives and develop spiritual influencers in the marketplace,” says Doug Rhudy, who is relocating to the island of Palm Beach with his wife Coni to minister to businesspeople through Executive Ministries.

Debbie Peterson of Miami has been affiliated with Campus Crusade for 26 years. She came to faith through Executive Ministries as a 30-year-old self-proclaimed “party girl.”

“I was a flight attendant and was invited to attend a wedding for the couple that was working in Executive Ministries in Miami. Even their wedding was an outreach event,” she says. “I prayed to receive Christ there.”

Over the years, Peterson has been on staff with Campus Crusade, and at one time she worked closely with the Brights. She’s also traveled with Women of Faith and currently hosts “Coffee Talk” radio on WMCU.

Bill Bright died in 2003 at age 81, yet the foundational mission of Campus Crusade continues through his wife and the countless volunteers spreading the Gospel around the globe furthering the Great Commission.

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