100K graduates make Zion Christian Mission Centre the world’s largest theological academy
A total of 106,186 people graduated on this day, with more than 500 former and current pastors, making it the world’s largest theological education institution.
New Delhi (India): The Zion Christian Mission Center, a Bible education institution of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, held the class 113 completion ceremony of the Zion Christian Mission Center at Daegu Stadium on November 20. A total of 106,186 people graduated on this day, with more than 500 former and current pastors, making it the world’s largest theological education institution.
For safety reasons, the number of people participating in the completion ceremony in Korea was limited to 80,000. About 300,000 people in total (Online or offline) participated in the completion ceremony on YouTube live broadcasts which were available in nine languages.
The completion ceremony was prepared thoroughly to prevent safety issues, as it has been an immense concern recently. Shincheonji Church of Jesus said, “For preparing this event, safety is the first, second and third.” they also added, “We will create a cooperative network with local governments to check disinfection, safety, traffic and order, and operate a control room for monitoring the event with police, fire departments, Daegu-si, and Suseong-gu Office safety officials.”
In addition, “the church itself allocated a total of 14,000 safety personnel to maintain order inside and outside the venue, and made participants enter and leave the event venue every four hours to prevent overcrowding.” he said. “About 180 medical staff and four ambulances are also on standby in case of an accident. ” Emergency rescue training was conducted for all safety personnel, and all graduates also completed watching emergency rescue videos. “We emphasize that this completion ceremony was especially safety-oriented,” he explained.
The event consists of the opening ceremony of Part 1 and the completion ceremony of Part 2. The first part started with praise services, congratulatory speeches, congratulatory messages, and representative prayers, and finally followed by a commemorative speech by Chairman Man-Hee Lee. The second part will include a congratulatory performance, a congratulatory speech by Tan Young-jin – the head of the Zion Christian Mission Center, a certificate of completion, a tassel turning, an award ceremony, testimony from graduates, and a special performance.
Among the class of 113 graduates, a total of 522 pastors, including 37 in Korea and 485 overseas, completed the program, and as a result, the proportion of pastors has increased significantly compared to other years. It is mainly due to the creation of an online class environment due to COVID-19. As a favourable online environment where students can take classes without distractions was created, the number of pastors and seminaries increased rapidly. The two representatives of the graduates who announced their acceptance speech on this day were also pastors.
The fact that pastors who joined the introductory and intermediate courses, including Revelation (Advanced), were able to participate in education online without being aware of other people during the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason for the increase in the number of pastors.
Heo Jung-Wook, who shared the testimony as a representative of a Korean graduate at the completion ceremony, is a current pastor who has been a pastor for a decade. After 20 years of ministry, he said, “I only learned traditional theology in seminary, but I didn’t know much about Revelation. Avoiding difficult words, I taught only easy words to convey to the saints. I repent that I was a sinner who added and subtracted from the word of God,” he said. “I put down all my possessions and came forward to the truth.” I learned true theology that leads me to heaven, not to a study given by mankind. “I thank God for giving me a chance to live,” he said.
- Jackson, a representative of overseas graduates, is also an Indian pastor who changed the name of his seminary to Hepto Zion Christian Mission Center after signing an MOU. After receiving an online Bible class at the Shincheonji Church in October of last year. Currently, 294 members of the church, including the pastor in charge of the two churches, have completed the entire course of the Zion Christian Mission Center and are listed under the class of 113 graduates.
Meanwhile, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus focused on contributing to the revitalization of the local economy and coexisting with the residents by holding the first large-scale face-to-face event in Daegu since the COVID-19 pandemic. All possible consumption activities, such as transportation, accommodation, and meals for 100,000 people, were made in the region to help residents.
In addition, after the Itaewon disaster, it was not confirmed whether SCJ could do the event or not, but rather than abandoning the win-win opportunity, in consideration of the contracts with local companies, they decided to do the event while focusing on safety as much as possible to the extent of their experience in hosting large-scale domestic and foreign events.