BILL BRIGHT: Campus Crusade Founder Focused on Evangelism

Bill Bright was the Campus Crusade Founder Focused on Evangelism
Bill Bright was the Campus Crusade Founder Focused on Evangelism (Guy Gerard)

Back in the mid '80s, when most ministries were cranking out cassette tapes on bulky duplicators, Bill Bright rented a satellite—18 of them, in fact. He used them to host worldwide video conferences, linking 300,000 delegates on five continents.

For Bright, co-founder with his wife, Vonette, of Campus Crusade for Christ—now Cru—it was always go big or go home. It wasn't "big for big's sake" but because the task of worldwide evangelism demanded it. Today, 64 years later, the ministry they launched is one of the largest organizations in the world—Christian or secular—with 27,000 staff members and 225,000 volunteers. The JESUS Film is the world's most translated film: 1,000 languages, 5.5 billion viewers, 100,000 downloads via app and seen in every country on the planet. Even Star Wars can't match that.

In 1965, Bright took what he called "the distilled essence of the gospel" and wrote a simple booklet to help average Christians lead someone to the Lord. Four decades later 2.5 billion people have read Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? in 200 languages. In 1992, Bright accomplished what some might consider his most difficult task: He launched CoMission and convinced 60 Christian organizations to work together to respond to the newly open borders of the former Soviet Union. Today, 12 years after Bright's death at the age of 81, Cru has a presence in 190 countries, representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. And amid a host of superlatives, who else but the world's other preeminent evangelist, Billy Graham, could say, "There's nothing like Campus Crusade for Christ in the history of the Christian world."—Diana Scimone

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