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FIRST-PERSON: One of millions touched by Bill Bright


JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–While a student at the University of Alabama in the early ’70s, my spiritual life was strengthened and given direction by the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Having grown up in Southern Baptist life, I knew nothing of para-church groups at the time. A friend invited me to “College Life” (as it was called) on Sunday night. It was the most refreshing spiritual experience I had ever encountered. Here was a serious and bold Christianity.

I became deeply involved. Through the basic Bible studies and Scripture memory, my life in Christ began to make significant progress. I attended a summer-long Institute for Biblical Studies in Mexico sponsored by Campus Crusade where I met hundreds of other college students serious about their faith. We learned basic doctrine, apologetics and approaches to inductive Bible study. It was here that I experienced a call to ministry.

Moreover, it was through the ministry of Campus Crusade that I learned to share my faith in Christ with others with the help of a tract called “The Four Spiritual Laws.” College Life, IBS, campus discipleship groups and the Four Spiritual Laws were all the vision of Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, who was called home to be with the Lord on July 19.

I had the privilege of meeting Bill Bright as a college student. He was a visionary who believed that college students could change the world for Jesus Christ. Born in a small Oklahoma town, Bright moved to California seeking financial success. In 1945 through the influence of Henrietta Mears at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Bright made a commitment to follow Christ. He attended Princeton Seminary and Fuller Seminary for a short time but left in 1951 without graduating to devote his energies to campus evangelism.

That year he founded Campus Crusade for Christ on the campus of UCLA. The rest is history, as they say.

Campus Crusade has touched millions of college students around the world for Jesus Christ. I am grateful to God that mine was one of those. For the life, ministry, vision and sanctified entrepreneurial spirit of Bill Bright, we say thanks be to God.
David S. Dockery is president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., the nation’s oldest Southern Baptist university.