GREEN Addictions can be tough to break, but one local church is reaching out to those in need.
A little more than five years ago, Temple Baptist Church in Green decided to bring a nationally known program called Reformers Unanimous to the church. The program is in more than 1,200 churches across the United States.
Kurt Cox, the director of the program at Temple Baptist Church, said he came across the program on the Internet and felt it would be a good fit for the church.
"We saw the need," Cox said. "It was another opportunity for us to help people."
He has also been involved with the Broken Chains Ministry, which is a local program that helps people transition from a life of incarceration to a life of hope, faith and work. He felt working through this program he could bring some of these people to the church.
"There is hope and there is freedom from addiction," Cox said.
Cox recently returned from a conference in Illinois, where leaders from across the United States took part in a 20-year-anniversary of the program. Cox said it was great opportunity to hear from the program's founders and a way to bring more than 1,000 people from across the United States together.
The program is intended for anyone, not just people facing addictions. It offers a wide variety of involvement including large group talks, challenge group talks, sharing prayer intentions and devotions and a challenge book for members to work through.
"The investment you make into this will change your life," Temple Baptist Pastor Glenn Rogers said.
Each session begins with a video focusing on the 10 principles the program is based on. The group is encouraged to talk as much as possible and spends time each week sharing prayer intentions. Rogers and Cox sit down with any new members each week and explain how the program works.
"This isn’t impossible," Rogers said. "It is possible."
The challenge book, which all members get, offers different activities for members to take part in such as reading certain Bible verses and reflecting on them. Other challenges include attending two Reformers Unanimous nights. Rogers said members can work through the book at their own pace.
"It is a growing process," Rogers said. "We are here for one purpose, to help you."
Members in attendance at the sessions break into challenge groups and talk with other members about their week, challenges in the book they are working on and any issues they may be dealing with.
Rogers said many of the people who partake in the program come from the women’s correctional facility along with the jail. He said the church has an outreach group that talks with those in these facilities.
"A lot of those who come are from word of mouth," Rogers said.
Rogers said many of the people who attend the program don’t live in the area, but the group leaders at the church try and stay in contact with them.
"We hope they get a handle on their addiction and stay focused," Rogers said.
Rogers and Cox agree that a lot of people facing addictions are often looking to God.
"I don’t know too many families that haven’t been touched by addiction," Cox said. "We just want to reach out and help them."
Rogers said the program is intended to help people move past their addiction and to build a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
"People walk in darkness and God sends his son as light," Rogers said. "We point people to walk in the light God intended us to."
Reformers Unanimous also has a program to help educate children to work through problems they may be facing and to help grow their relationship with God. Those who attend the Reformers Unanimous sessions are encouraged to bring their children if they have them to get them involved too.
Kristen Trowbridge, an active member at the church and student studying nursing at the University of Akron, occasionally leads the children’s group. On a recent Friday night she taught about how being quick tempered could hurt someone or yourself. She used the example of getting angry while driving and how getting mad doesn’t do any good.
"What if I get so made it affects how I drive?" Trowbridge asked.
Trowbridge said on average there is normally five to 10 children and they have principles they work on, and also have an opportunity to share testimonies about things that may be bothering them at home or school. The children also have a book of challenges to work through.
"It goes really well with the adult program and the children learn a lot," Trowbridge said.
She said she likes to ask the children for examples in their lives that relates to what they are learning about that night. She has been involved with the program for about a year and said it is a great opportunity to serve.
"It’s about growing your walk with God," Trowbridge said. "It is a program that works."
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
The group meets every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church, 1212 Greensburg Road.
More information about Reformers Unanimous can be found online at http://rurecovery.com.