Bill Bright will be 80-years-old when he passes control of his 87-ministry organization to Stephen Douglass, a Campus Crusade for Christ colleague of 30 years and Crusade's current executive vice president.The baton will change hands officially in July of 2001, but Douglass will now begin to slowly assume Bright's responsibilities to insure a "seamless transition.""I feel I'm in my prime," says Bright, who has led Crusade from its inception in 1950. "Now I want to focus on calling the Christian World to fasting and prayer for revival."Bright also plans to develop at least 10 more books as curriculum for Crusade's International Training University, an institute that prepares workers for evangelism from all over the globe."I've thought and prayed about this decision for many years, and count it a privilege to see such a strong, devoted man respond to the challenge of leading Campus Crusade for Christ," Bright said, listing above Douglass' Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard credentials, "his heart for God."Douglass says the top three priorities he will emphasize as Crusade's new leader are:1) Preserving what must not be changed, such as Crusade's "high view of the word of God."2) Receiving new innovations and ideas, such as the proposal that sparked the Jesus Film.3) Continuing to serve God wholeheartedly, so that the joy and love of Christ are evident in each Crusade member's life.Douglass, who has previously served on the board of Mission America, says that he will also continue to emphasize partnership with other Christian organizations."Campus Crusade for Christ has over 1,000 partners," says Douglass, citing movements like the Lighthouses of Prayer as evidence of Christian partnership. "I believe that this is a time of unity within the Christian body and that that unity itself is a testimony to our Lord."Areas where Douglass projects Crusade might expand its influence include Web sites and film. "I believe the Internet presents an opportunity we've only begun to tap," he says. Sites that directly answer questions for seekers, and sites that allow Christians to access material for personal discipleship, are on the agenda. Crusade will also release a children's version of the Jesus Film this fall."There is no other Bill Bright,"says Douglass who admires Bright's humility, faith and commitment to make the Christian life simpler for the average person to understand and pass on. "But when you're around a person for 30 years, a little of them has got to rub off on you … I'm not at his level of quality, but I'm on the journey to become more like Bill as he is like Jesus Christ."
Christianity Today recently ran stories on Campus Crusade for Christ's extensive new campus and the debut of the Jesus Film on DVD. The magazine also published a cover story, " Bill Bright's Wonderful Plan for the World," in 1997. Campus Crusade for Christ's homepage includes links to Bright's famous Four Spiritual Laws, the daily devotional he writes, and the announcement of his retirement. The evangelism toolbox is an example of the type of helpful Web sites Crusade hopes to continue to develop.
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