Training Has Always Been a Distinctive of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ)

Since the beginning of Campus Crusade, ministry training has been one of the cornerstones of the organization. When Dr. Bill Bright founded the ministry in 1951 he realized that all believers and especially staff needed training in how to live the Christian life, how to walk in the Spirit, how to share Christ with others, how to experience God’s love through obedience, etc. Also, very early in the ministry, Dr. Bright saw the growing need for theological development for CCC staff and he sought advice from Dr. Ted Martin. At the initiative of Bill Bright, Dr. Martin and several others developed a basic curriculum for all staff that included twelve theological courses to be completed over three summers. Now for more than forty five years, the Institute of Biblical Studies (IBS) has served as a key resource for the biblical and theological training of Cru staff.

Advanced Theological Training for Staff Begins

The very first IBS was held in 1962 in Mound, Minnesota. Forty-five students participated. The following year, IBS was relocated to CCC’s new headquarters in Arrowhead Springs (San Bernardino, California) where it operated for several decades.

IBS Grow and Develops

During the sixties and seventies every Campus Crusade for Christ staff member invested his or her first three summers attending IBS. (Incidentally, this is the reason why IBS courses are grouped in terms of “first year,” “second year” and “third year” courses. Staff members completed their “second year” courses during their second year on staff.) During this time, IBS was offered every summer (sometimes in more than one location). IBS utilized many of the best of seminary professors in the world. Although required for staff, others wanted to take advantage of the IBS method of theological development and IBS was opened to lay people.

From the International School of Theology to the Campus Ministry

From 1978 to 1994, IBS operated under the direction of the International School of Theology (ISOT). Since most of the staff who participated in IBS were Campus Ministry staff, the mantle of leadership for IBS was passed to the U.S. Campus Ministry in 1995. In the eighties and nineties, as the number of summer venues grew, staff participation in IBS declined significantly.

Back to the Basics of Cru

Even though IBS is still available for lay people who want advanced theological training, IBS primarily exists for the staff of Cru. In 2002, the Campus Ministry formally began requiring all its staff to complete the eleven core IBS courses. Recognizing that it would not be possible to return to having staff complete the eleven courses in three consecutive summers, they developed a new timeline that would preserve summer commitments while ensuring that all staff complete these courses in a timely fashion. In 2010, these requirements were extended to all Cru staff in the U.S.

IBS Today

IBS is one of the most effective and economical ways to receive theological training. It’s partnerships with seminaries also paves the way for receiving higher seminary degrees. Presently IBS is led by the Director of Theological Education for the U.S. Campus Ministry, Dr. Keith Johnson.