The Crucible Project ministry grew out of the longings a handful of pastors and lay leaders to push beyond the limits that characterize men’s relationships in the church. As good as small groups were at the time, these men sensed God had something more in mind when the Bible talked about men sharpening one another as “iron sharpens iron.” How could men gather together and be radically honest about their lives and support and challenge each other in grace to heal and grow?
Greg Huston, founder of this ministry and a pastor for more than 16 years, describes it this way: “Like most pastors I had a passion to see deep, lasting life-change happen in people. However, in my own journey toward Christ-likeness, I became aware of a nagging dissatisfaction with my own progress. I used all the tools available to me — the ‘means of grace’ seminary trained me for and that I’d counseled others to use. Yet below the surface, I felt stuck and unable to find the freedom the Scriptures promised was possible.”
After leaving the pastorate in 1998, Greg entered a journey of searching and learning that included personal counseling, reading, workshops and retreats. Following the advice of a trusted colleague, he opened himself up to learn from sources that were outside his comfort zone. Using his innate skepticism and theological training to “test everything and hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV), Greg found enormous benefit from new avenues of personal development. He discovered that many “new” tools were simply the practical working-out of biblical principles and practices like:
- Radical honesty and truth-telling (James 5:16; Ephesians 4:25)
- Taking the log out of one’s own eye instead of focusing on the faults of others (Matthew 7:3; Galatians 6:4-5)
- Learning to be a student of oneself and not just hiding behind Bible-knowledge (1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Corinthians 8:1).
The most radical discovery that impacted his progress turned out to be going much deeper in community with other men (Galatians 6:2; Romans 1:12). The evidence: he was becoming a better man, husband and father.
Greg and a small band of brothers formed a men’s group to do this kind of work together. Beyond a Bible study, it was a circle where men could work on themselves and their issues in safety — and call the best out of each other to “press on toward the goal” God had for each of them (Philippians 3:14). After about a year, the co-facilitator suggested they host a men’s retreat.
In February 2002, the first official Dare to Soar Weekend was held. The weekend training with this small group of men, included many of the experiential tools Greg had been learning about, honed with the input from a few other wise leaders.
“The retreats were like a ‘boot camp for the soul'” he recalls. “We discovered that men experienced truth and grace like never before, and did so in a strong community of brothers. We are seeing a deep hunger among men for this kind of authentic community and transformation.”
The men shared their experiences with friends, and by 2007 the team had four sold-out retreats.
The first ten weekends were held under the umbrella of Greg’s personal coaching business, Dare to Soar, LLC. As the work grew, they created a not-for-profit to expand the work to the next level, and in December of 2005, “The Crucible Project” was formed in Illinois to oversee this growing ministry.
Since August of 2010, all of the initial men’s weekends (formerly “Dare To Soar”) and training events, Men’s Soul Groups, four 2nd-Level Weekends and the 2-Year Transformational Program operate under the direction of the Board of The Crucible Project, with Chris Cleghorn operating as the Executive Director of the now much more comprehensive Crucible Project ministry.
Together with Greg and the Board, an enthusiastic growing band of volunteers stand in awe of what God is doing in the souls of men through these transforming experiences. Greg says, “We see an ever-expanding circle of powerful, passionate men moving into their worlds and representing Jesus with integrity and authenticity. It is a vision we are giving our lives to, and we sincerely hope you will step out and experience this powerful work for yourself.”