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Cru President Steve Sellers to Step Down

Ministry’s third president will have served four years

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Cru, the $811 million international ministry formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ International, announced Monday that president Steve Sellers will step down in July. Sellers explained the move in a video posted Monday night, saying that God had led him to his post and is now leading him to leave it.

“Some people might wonder, ‘Well, what’s the real story?’” he said in the video made with his wife Christy. “Is there another issue, another agenda?”

“I can tell you simply that the only issue is that prayer of surrender, that we want to do whatever it is that God has for us to do. There’s no sickness, there’s nothing that’s going on. There’s no challenge that we’re facing, no other issue that’s out there that’s causing us to make this decision.”

“We understand that this can feel sudden and can be unsettling,” said Sellers, who has been with Cru since 1976. But in the press release he said that when he assumed the role, he “sensed from the Lord that it would only be for a brief season.” He will remain with Cru after he steps down.

“It is surprising to us that it’s taking just as much surrender to step out of this role as it did to step in,” said Christy Sellers.

Steve Sellers is Cru’s third and shortest-tenured president. Bill Bright founded the ministry in 1951 at the University of California, Los Angeles and led it for half a century. Steve Douglass led the ministry from 2001 until 2020, when Sellers was named the new president. He previously served as executive vice president.

“Under [Sellers’] presidency the Global Executive Team became more globally diverse with increased collaboration among the national ministries,” said the Cru announcement.

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Cru has a variety of initiatives, including its original campus ministry and high school ministries, Athletes in Action, FamilyLife, the Christian Embassy in D.C., Cru Military, the Jesus Film Project, and the Josh McDowell Ministry.

Cru’s 2022 annual report shows that U.S. revenue has risen during Sellers’ tenure: from just over $600 million in 2020, to $614 million in 2021, to $652 million in 2022. (These numbers differ from those reported by ECFA, which shows Cru’s revenue rising to $679,515,000 in 2021 and falling to $609,775,000 in 2022.)

Sellers said Cru faces “no challenge,” but like many churches and parachurch ministries, it has weathered claims that it is going liberal or “woke” ever since 2011, when it formally changed its name from Campus Crusade for Christ to Cru, a change that Fox News claimed “generated cries of political correctness from within the evangelical community.”

The ministry now refers to itself as Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ International.

In November, a speaker at Liberty University’s convocation accused Cru and other ministries of promoting “lies” about sexuality. Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, the author of the 2023 book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age, accused Cru and other ministries of helping these lies invade the church, including the normalizing of homosexuality and transgenderism, and the promotion of feminism.

“We don’t throw people away, but without repentance, we don’t trust them,” she said of the ministries. When asked specifically about Cru, she said, “I got the receipts, people.”

In 2021, Joe Ludwikowski, executive director of Cru’s military ministry resigned after seven years of objecting to philosophical changes in the ministry, including “the emergence of Critical Race theory as a guiding philosophy within Cru” and “a departure from our original mission and vision.”

Main photo: Steve and Christy Sellers / Video screenshot

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.