Passing on the Unificationist Faith to the Next Generation
Lovin’ Life Ministries is also directing itself to educational philosophy and youth ministry for Unificationists today. Each sermon given by Rev. In Jin Moon is relevant to parents, children, and educators. The next step is the application.
Lovin’ Life sermons have started with looking directly at parenting and family itself. “Every Unificationist parent that I know has made incredible effort to discover what it means to be a true parent to their own children,” according to Heather Thalheimer, Director of Education. “Our senior pastor’s stories of her intimate moments with her own father and mother, our True Parents, are the wisdom we have been yearning for. Rev. In Jin Moon brings a unique gift to Lovin’ Life Ministries in that our First Generation couples can relate to her as a parent of adult children, while our Second Generation resonates with her experience of being born into our faith. Her experience growing up in the movement is helping us to better understand the needs and lives of our children and bringing a new breadth and depth to our educational philosophy and programs.”
When asked about the infusion of Rev. In Jin Moon’s vision into youth ministry, David Hunter, New Jersey’s youth pastor, explained that the goal is for youth and young adults to be able to present our movement through their own lives. “The main transition I see has been moving on beyond only teaching of Divine Principle to applying the Divine Principle. Knowing how to present your faith is an application.” This has been seen through programs such as FUSE for Young Adults, the Witnessing Summit, and the weekly Junction program, according to David Hunter.
“Youth Ministry should also be reinforcing Lovin’ Life Ministry messages so that a consistent message can be filtered down to youth around the country,” said Hunter. “Much of our content being delivered to youth now is taken directly from Rev. In Jin Moon’s messages being conveyed weekly at services.” Hunter also added the simple fact that “Lovin’ Life Youth Ministry should also have a greater emphasis on having fun, in order for kids to really love life through youth ministry.”
Feedback is already being heard from local church members regarding the impact on the youth. One First Generation parent reflected, “Having two young daughters, I think the impact of Lovin’ Life on the Second Generation is huge. They get so much from their senior pastor, but they also love the music: the new vibe that she is bringing. To see our Second Generation really engaged more and more, not only at the main Sunday Service but at some other programs too, like the ballroom dancing and the Junction program, is something that is huge.”
Connection of Message Around the Country—Creative Action in the States to Incorporate Lovin’ Life
Outside of the New York area, Unification Church pastoral teams are starting to reformulate Sunday worship based on the Lovin’ Life Ministries model. After sending out DVDs of past Sunday Services to churches around the country, Lovin’ Life Ministries is now streaming live services to 104 locations each week.
James Gavin, former outreach pastor for the Minnesota Family Church, expressed that the biggest impact of Lovin’ Life Ministries on his community took place due to Rev. In Jin Moon’s initial visit to families in Minnesota. “We were able to hear her speak and connect with her one on one before the starting of Lovin’ Life Ministries. So when Lovin’ Life Ministries actually started, all of us already knew the senior pastor a little bit because of her first visit.”
Members have been hearing personal stories of Reverend Moon’s life that were connecting even more with her father and mother, who are the founders of our movement. “We were able to get a little bit more in depth of what it was like to be a member of the Moon family. This was a big impact for not only the adults, but also the youth in our community,” Gavin said.
The message being received around the country is always very professionally delivered. Having a high standard, Rev. In Jin Moon gives it with passion, using the method of parables in order to convey messages more clearly that really keep people interested in her message. “She personalizes the message and brings an understanding of how it applies to their lives. Both the adults and youth feel they can relate with and listen to her,” stressed Gavin.
As a result, Blessed Children nationwide are taking a second look at Sunday worship services and the church in general. Rev. Mike Lamson, district director of the Unification Church in the Ohio River region, told a gathering of church leaders on January 22, 2010, that several youth in his congregation recently told him that the Lovin’ Life Ministries makes them proud to call themselves Unificationists.
In conjunction with the change of tides of our national service, the Unification Church's Second Generation was a topic of National Public Radio's popular program "All Things Considered" on February 17, 2010. NPR reporter Barbara Hagerty was the first reporter to interview Reverend In Jin Moon and the first media professional to tell Americans about the growing ministry of Lovin'Life.
With the energizing of a movement regarded as America’s best kept secret and the unity of members nationwide with Rev. In Jin Moon’s new vision, the future is on its way, with impacts being made daily. “Change doesn't happen overnight,” shared Reverend Thompson, “but the first year of Lovin’ Life Ministries has sown the seeds for the emergence of a new church nationwide.”
Written by Celine Tardy, with contributions by Douglas Burton