As a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, studying late one night for a Greek exam, Bill Bright receives a unique impression from God to invest his life in helping reach the entire world, starting with college students. A professor friend suggests “Campus Crusade for Christ” as the name of the new ministry. In the fall, Bill and his wife, Vonette, start Campus Crusade (now known as Cru in the U.S.) at UCLA with the backing of a 24-hour prayer chain.
More than 250 UCLA students receive Christ, including the student-body president, campus-newspaper editor and many athletes, including Rafer Johnson, later an Olympic gold-medalist in the decathlon. Cru spreads to other schools, and to meet the need, the Brights accept their first six staff members.
Bill Bright writes “God's Plan for Your Life.” This 20-minute evangelistic presentation, required memorization for staff members, sets the tone for the development of Cru's revolutionary training in evangelism and discipleship.
Cru becomes international as Dr. Joon Gon Kim launches the work in South Korea. Over the next 40 years, South Korea moves from a missionary-receiving nation to one that sends them, with 271 Korean Campus Crusade for Christ staff members and disciples serving in 23 other countries around the world today.
The first Lay Institute for Evangelism takes the evangelism and discipleship training from the campus ministry and adapts it to a church context.
By the end of the 1950s, Cru is active in 3 countries.