Cincinnati, OH – Participants who complete the Hope Church small group class entitled Faithful & True receive a tangible reminder of their accomplishment. Pastor Steve Lizzio had custom coins and key chains imprinted which participants receive at the conclusion of the 13-week program on sexuality and the sexualized culture we live in. The coins – built upon the tradition of “challenge coins” in the military service – help to create a sense of unit and cohesion with other class members. Participants appreciate the gesture and even more so, the tangible reminder that they are not alone in their struggles.
One of the group leaders, Paul Leland, who recently travelled to Las Vegas on business, says “just for my own moral compass it was reinforcement. It is not a magic bullet but having the coin in my pocket centered me in a sense of responsibility and purpose.”
Each time the coins are seen with pocket change, or whenever a participant starts their car, they are reminded of their time learning what it takes to be a faithful person in a highly sexualized culture – whether in the role as husband, father, worker/boss, or friend. They are unobtrusive but ever present, serving as tangible reminders of the love and support of others in their group and in other groups before and after them.
The 13-week class is led by a facilitator. Participants receive workbooks at the beginning of the program and have homework assignments from it. During the weekly sessions they discuss the assignment in small groups.
“The workbook is very effective in getting to the root of how we are wired and how to appropriately handle that in our everyday world” recalls Leland. “We can’t change the culture, we can’t legislate morality, we can’t fix what is broken, but we don’t have to be participants in the sexualized culture” continues Leland. “We can stand firm for our families, for our moral values, and of course it is all founded on a strong Biblical foundation.”
Leland notes that the need is stronger than ever for a class like this, because the culture has so warped the perspective of sexuality. “My big concern is for youth – kids grow up seeing all that culture tells us is OK – it has become so accepted that they don’t see anything wrong. It is really warping their perspective of sexuality – what is proper, what it is intended for and what is best.”
At the conclusion of the class, participants are given either a coin or a key chain (made from the coin), depending upon their preference. So far the vast majority of participants have chosen coins – perhaps because they are easy to keep on hand. When kept with pocket change, these hefty coins can easily serve as the constant reminder and reinforcement that they were intended to be – especially given their heft and weight. “We don’t make a big deal of it – it is not a big ceremony,” says Leland, “but the participants know the value of the coin, so it is a sort of silent camaraderie.”
So far over 250 men have participated in the program, which Leland discovered in use at a Minnesota church. Originally he purchased coins and key chains from the Minnesota vendor – but found a local source in Cincinnati – Osborne Coinage. He is able to purchase them is small quantities when they are needed. Even in small quantities, the coins or key chains are affordable – and with reasonable lead times, they can be ordered and received in a timely fashion. The coins and key chains are individually wrapped in cellophane to protect their Goldine® finish.
While a simple coin may not seem like much, to the men who have completed this coursework, it is a reminder of their families, their faith, and the coin-carrying men who are pulling for them. Strengthened by this simple reminder, and their thoughts and prayers of their cohorts, hopefully these men will stand strong and make the right choices.