Man, Crucible was awesome again this year. Crucible is our 8th grade guys rite of passage event. We spend 7 weeks covering what we say are the 7 attributes of manhood: faith, responsibility, integrity, faithfulness, courage, self-control, and care and protection for the weak and unlovely. They are basically just modified versions of Rick Bundschuh's characteristics that he gives in Passed Thru Fire.
So we have a week of devotions for each characteristic, then a lesson on it, then they memorize a verse from the story and they memorize the definition of the characteristic. We also make them read a book. This year it was In A Pit. We test them every week and track their progress.
They don't have to have any percentage done to go on the weekend retreat, but in order to participate in the Saturday night initiation ceremony, they must have it all completed.
The weekend was awesome. I was worried that I wouldn't connect as well with these guys as I have in year's past, but this event really provides plenty of opportunities to do that. It's got a camping, military, prison feel to it. Basically it's all high stress, high expectation situations. We have an activity for each characteristic where the students are challenged to demonstrate their understanding of the characteristic. We don't tip our hand on the front end, but rahter put them through the activity, observe their behavior, and then debrief it afterwards.
The coolest part is on Saturday night we have an initiation ceremony. The students dad's come out, and we all eat dinner together. Then we have a prayer service where the student explains the characteristics to his dad, prays for himself, and then his dad prays for him. At the end, our senior pastor prays with each of the students.
Then we go outside and we give the dads the opportunity to symbolically recognize their son as a man. It's an awesome, emotional, spiritual time.
I love it, and the students respons so well to it. JM