AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (BP)–After nearly five decades leading one of the world’s largest ministries, William R. “Bill” Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ International, announced to his worldwide staff July 26 his successor as president — Steve Douglass.
Douglass, 55, currently serves as executive vice president and director of U.S. ministries for Campus Crusade.
“I have thought and prayed about this decision for many years,” Bright, 78, said, according to a Campus Crusade news release, “and count it a privilege to see such a strong, devoted man respond to the challenge of leading Campus Crusade for Christ into the next millennium.
“My wife, Vonette, and I are fully confident that Steve, with whom we have worked for more than 30 years, knows and understands our movement as well as anybody, and better than most. He genuinely seeks to honor our Lord in his actions and decisions,” Bright said.
Bright made his announcement in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he will be among the featured speakers at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s July 29-Aug. 6 Amsterdam 2000 Conference for preaching evangelists. Bright is holding his annual international directors’ meetings in Amsterdam several days prior to the conference.
“I am very humbled to be selected to be president of Campus Crusade for Christ,” Douglass said. “Only God could equip a person for this task, and I am well aware of that. Please join me in praying that he will guide me, my wife, Judy — and all of our leaders — as we embrace the new opportunities he gives us.”
Douglass was recommended by Bright and unanimously approved by the ministry’s board of directors in June, according to the Campus Crusade news release.
As a 30-year veteran of Campus Crusade for Christ, Douglass has served on the ministry’s board of directors since 1987. He also serves on the board of directors for Mission America and is a frequent evangelistic speaker, Bible teacher and the author of several books, including “Managing Yourself,” “Enjoying Your Walk with God” and “How to Achieve Your Potential and Enjoy Life.”
Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, said, “We are so appreciative of the extraordinary personal witness and the tremendous ministry of Bill Bright. He has provided key leadership to one of the most important international ministries of our time while supporting the work of the local church as paramount. We also celebrate the selection of Steve Douglass to head Campus Crusade and offer our prayers that he be spiritually, physically and emotionally fortified as he assumes leadership of this great ministry for Christ.”
Douglass will immediately begin to work alongside Bright in a transitional role, and then assume the full post and authority on or before Aug. 1, 2001. At that time, Bright will officially retire as president and continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors.
In addition, Bright, who was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1996, will devote his time to promoting a worldwide emphasis on fasting and prayer for spiritual revival and the fulfillment of the Great Commission, which calls Christians to share their faith with the world (Matthew 28:19,20). He also plans to write ministry curriculum and produce training videos for Campus Crusade’s International Leadership University.
Douglass earned a master’s degree from Harvard Business School after his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He and his wife, Judy, have been married 25 years and have three children, Debbie, Michelle and Josh. Judy has been a staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ since 1964. She is the founding editor of Campus Crusade for Christ’s award-winning magazine, Worldwide Challenge, and an author of three books.
The Douglasses live in Orlando, Fla., where the ministry is based.
Campus Crusade for Christ International, founded by Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951, currently has more than 22,000 full-time staff members, 489,000 trained volunteer staff members, with 60 different ministries dedicated to the fulfillment of the Great Commission via evangelism and discipleship in 186 countries around the world.