The Campus Crusade for Christ has a long history of catering Christianity to the college audience. The organization was founded in 1951 on the UCLA campus by a man named Bill Bright. Since the fifties, the movement has worked aggressively to become one of the largest evangelical organizations in the United States, with over two hundred thousand volunteers worldwide.
Some students, however, are often uncomfortable with the concept of active evangelicalism on campus. For instance, words like “crusade” can quickly bring up some negative connotations. However, Christa Odell, who organizes the group at Bellevue College, aims to lead a community distinct from any fire-andbrimstone. “We try to help people who are interested in Christianity and we like to see where they’re coming from. To shove the Gospel down people’s throats, we don’t try to do that,” she said.
Odell has only been the group’s leader for less than a year. “I’m very proud to be a part of it because it’s an impact on other people,” she said. In addition to doing outreach activities and other events, her group meets regularly on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.
Odell has also tried some modern techniques to get people interested in Christianity. She’s tried a technique that she calls a “silariam.” It’s a psychology thematic apprehension technique. “We go around campus to ask people things like life questions, and then you’ll just pick three pictures from the selection to try and explain how you feel,” she said.
Odell is also a student at Bellevue College. Raised in a religious family, she found she became increasingly interested in religion during college. “I’ve been searching more to try and know who Christ was and to look into the Bible, because sometimes when you grow up in a Christian home, you just believe what your parents believe, and don’t really get your own opinion,” she said.
This is exactly the rationale behind why the Campus Crusade for Christ has set its eyes on college students. Paul Bronleewe, who works full time for the Campus Crusade for Christ, was available to answer questions during the interview with Odell. “We recognize that students in college are in a position of wrestling with ‘what do I believe?’ And we want to be a spiritual resource to help them understand what the Bible has to say about life,” he said.
Odell hopes to see her organization grow over time on the campus. “I would like to see more students really step up to the plate and get involved in what they believe in,” she said. According to her, faith can help students get a more fulfilling experience out of the college lifestyle. “Life’s not all about doing homework,” she said.