On November 20, Zion Christian Mission Center held its 113th graduation ceremony. A total of 106,186 graduates celebrated the completion of their Bible studies on that day.
Possibly the largest theological educational institution in the world held its 113th graduation ceremony at Daegu Stadium in South Korea at noon on November 20. A total of 106,186 graduates celebrated the completion of their Bible studies on that day. Among them were more than 500 former and current pastors.
In the first part of the event, after a worship service, congratulations and prayers, a commemorative speech was delivered by Shincheonji Church of Jesus Chairman Lee, Man-Hee. This was followed by a video broadcast of the graduation ceremonies, which were held overseas across the globe. The second part featured a musical congratulatory performance and words from Zion Christian Mission Center President Tan, Young-jin. This was followed by the awarding of certificates and two graduation speeches.
Among the graduates of the 113th class, there were a total of 522 pastors, 37 from South Korea and 485 internationally. Compared to other years, this is a significant increase, which can also be seen in close connection with the change to the possibility of an online course, which was realized due to COVID-19. The two graduates who gave their graduation speeches that day were also pastors.
As an officiating pastor, Mr. Heo, Jeong-wook described his impressions as a representative of Korean graduates. After 20 years in pastoral ministry, he said, "I originally studied only traditional theology. But I didn't know much about the book of Revelation. I only taught words that were easy to convey. I regret that I was someone who added to or took away from the Word of God." "I laid down everything I had and came closer to the truth. I learned here the true theology that leads to heaven, not human studies. I thank God for giving me this chance," he said.
Mr. D. Jackson, the representative of the foreign graduates, is a pastor in India. After attending an online Bible course at Shincheonji Church of Jesus last October, he signed a letter of intent and changed the name of the theology school he runs to "Hepto Zion Christian Mission Center." Currently, 294 members, including pastors as well, have completed all courses at Zion Christian Mission Center and are part of the 113th graduating class.
For security reasons and in light of the recent disaster in Itaewon, the number of people participating in Korea was limited to 80,000 and took place in cooperation with the local police and fire departments. Nevertheless, a total of over 300,000 people participated in the graduation ceremony online and offline by also broadcasting it live on YouTube and worldwide in 9 languages. This included 1,117 graduates in Germany, and 3,192 across Europe.
The event in Daegu focused mainly on revitalizing the local economy and cooperation with local residents. "We tried to be a practical help to local residents by having all kinds of consumption activities, such as transporting 100,000 people, housing and feeding employees, take place in the region."
But what is this theological educational institution?
The Zion Christian Mission Center was founded by the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in 1990 and produced its first 12 graduates the following year. Since then, the number of annual graduates has continued to increase. In 2019, Zion Christian Mission Center was able to celebrate its first graduation with over 100,000 graduates.
At Zion Christian Mission Center, anyone, regardless of age, status, background, or prior biblical knowledge, can learn the Word of the Bible free of charge, enabling them to gain a deep understanding of the Christian foundation of faith within just a few months. Shincheonji follows the principle of giving an understanding of the words of this scripture based solely on the Bible itself.
With the onset of the corona pandemic, the course was optimized for online participation. This resulted in an average of 20,000 graduates in 2020-2021.
This change also meant that 600 mission centers could now be established in 96 countries around the world. Among other things, the complete German course content was broadcast in abridged form via YouTube, making it publicly available to everyone.
Why is the Shincheonji Church of Jesus growing so rapidly?
According to graduates, in the midst of countless Christian denominations and denominations, Shincheonji offers clear and biblical-logical answers to questions that many ask: "What does the Bible have to do with me?" and "What is God's plan for me and the world?", but also that one dares to approach content that even many pastors tend to avoid after many years of theological study. The course content made it clear that the Bible is not a dead work of fiction and is highly relevant to us today, and why.
A member of Shincheonji Church of Jesus says, "So anyone who is looking for the puzzle pieces to the question 'Why am I here?' can find help and answers in Shincheonji to put the pieces together into the big picture."