The Words of the Cotter Family
The Lovin' Life Ministries Satellite Training was a resounding success!! Over 130 representatives from all 12 Districts and 47 communities packed the Learning Center May 23rd-25th to learn more about creating a successful Lovin' Life Service in their local community.
It is our belief that although Lovin' Life at the Manhattan Center may be much larger than in local communities across the nation, these local Sunday Services can express the same heart and touch people's lives in much the same way as our main Service in the Manhattan Center. The guest's experience is rooted in God's love, conveyed through Rev. In Jin Moon's message and the personal care and love expressed by our brothers and sisters. By striving for a quality production, even the smallest community can experience a Sunday Service that is as moving and dynamic as Lovin' Life at the Manhattan Center. And, by doing so, small communities will grow and become large communities! With that in mind the Lovin' Life team at headquarters hosted a hands on training to show exactly how that could be achieved.
The training started with the right heart; with everyone invested in learning together so we can improve how we implement Lovin' Life. The evening kicked off with a "mock" Service that mirrored the circumstances of a medium sized community in a local venue. The Lovin' Life team modeled the practices and small physical things that can be changed and manipulated to create a dynamic atmosphere. For example, if the room is appropriately dimmed, as described in the training manual, it can feel like In Jin nim is in the room with you even when you are 3000 miles away!
One state leader exclaimed, "The model Sunday service on Saturday was truly a great experience. This is vividly present in my mind and I want to come up to this standard. I am also grateful for the Satellite Church Service Manual which has a lot of notes that will help me to share this information with others."
Another leader told us, "As a result of the training I will be able to MC the program better, and encourage our young adults to MC. We will add another screen to our sanctuary and a sub-woofer (sound equipment) this week. We will also turn down all the lights just as we did at the Saturday night Demo service. That was a great effect." Another pastor noted, "The 3 levels of lighting described in the manual really make a difference in how the sermon is received."
Excellence is in the details. Some of the participants shared that their senior congregants weren't so inspired by the loud music! The Lovin' Life tech team showed the difference between just having volume versus a "full" sound. It's the quality of the sound that can move hearts and enable people to feel the music. Lovin' Life's tech team is here to help and answer your questions so that your team can produce a quality experience locally. A community leader shared that she was so surprised to have such a long greeting line when she came to the seminar. "There were old and young represented. Everyone was so heart warming." That is the spirit we are trying to communicate every week through the ushers. The training manual provides check lists and tips on how to create that experience in your church.
With the Lovin' Life team sharing strategies and the field sharing best practices we developed a synergy that elicited comments such as, "We feel we are on In Jin Nim's team." We are no longer headquarters and the field; we are one team that will win over America!
A state leader told us, "The conference strengthened my faith that Lovin' Life Ministries will grow and become significant for our community. LLM is the cutting edge church of the 21st century!" Many participants shared their excitement that LLM puts everyone on the same page. Our young people expressed that for the first time, no matter where they come from they can talk about the same Sunday service. We are unified as we receive the same message each week all over the country. It connects us as a community. How powerful is that!
Music is a very important part of what we are trying to create with Lovin' Life Ministries. Toshi Tagawa, Lovin' Life's Video Production Director shared his vision after seeing the final luncheon which turned into quite a concert. He is waiting for the day when every region's band has learned Lovin' Life's songs and we can hold a huge concert in Madison Square Garden, with a 30 person band playing the same songs. How beautiful!
A participant noted that, "This is the first time that national recognition is being given to the importance of worship music, and that in itself is the fruit of In Jin nim's wisdom and the Lovin' Life Band.
The training emphasized that local communities should start where they are and develop. If you don't have a band yet or your band isn't ready, use back up singers in the front to support the congregation, until your band is ready. headquarters will work hard to get the play list and music sheets out to the communities in a timely manner. Our brothers and sisters have so much talent. This is an opportunity for people to step up, get involved and share their talent.
Getting the next generation involved is a big part of Lovin' Life. This is why it's essential to involve youth and young adults in all aspects of the ministry from the choir and music team to leadership positions such as the Emcee. It's important for young people in the audience to see themselves reflected in the Lovin' Life Service. This message came across loud and clear for the participants. A senior pastor expressed this in his determination, "This time around I will stand behind second gen and wait to be asked for help and guide them from behind. It's their time." Lovin' Life is what our young people need and want. Generation Peace is front and center at Lovin' Life.
One participant, who had never attended Lovin' Life in NY before, shared that she was so moved by how much love In Jin nim gives in and after her sermon. In Jin nim's investment is huge! A community leader noted, "We would do better if we stopped over thinking everything and just do as In Jin nim has suggested! She has done all the thinking and praying and preparing for us. Let's just try it without reservation and see what happens."
A light bulb moment for one pastor was being able to see the full scope of In Jin nim's vision. He was excited by the idea of a seeker friendly church with a realistic, concrete education path for taking people beyond the basics. In thinking about Lovin' Life as more than a Sunday Service but rather a full ministry we can see the tremendous possibilities to grow our church.
Participants also got to experience different aspects of the full Ministry with presentations about education, small groups, and volunteer management. Everyone joined in Lovin' Life's Ballroom Dancing program after church on Sunday. Our leadership teams from around the country were able to understand the value of this type of program. We were fortunate to have Ariana Moon lead the class. She is a first rate teacher and enabled even novices to dance with confidence by the end of the class. We learned that ball room dancing gives us a formal way to greet each other as brothers and sisters and enjoy each others company in a healthy, principled environment. A community leader noted, "I feel so grateful for Ariana and her ball room dancing lessons. She is raising the bar for all brother-sister relationships."
One of the many ways In Jin nim has tried to support the field is with the production of the Satellite Service Manual. This manual received rave reviews from our leaders around the nation. People expressed comments such as, "I think the manual is great because it defines roles, how to's and what for's for each part of the Lovin' Life Ministry. We can use it to help everyone understand what each person's role is so people are more comfortable to participate. It is systematic, well organized and sets forth best practices and basic expectations." It includes a host of incredible resources. One youth pastor excitedly proclaimed, "I didn't know that I could get Lovin' Life flyers and promotional materials on-line, and with the click of a button, personalize them to my community. Incredible!" Someone else reflected, "The manual was really great to get. I have been saying we need this kind of manual prepared for the many activities we do. It was kind of like the Windows 7 commercials. I felt like it was my idea being realized but you guys (headquarters) did all the hard work. Thank you! I realized this isn't just another top down direction that doesn't belong to me. I want to make a meaningful contribution and I feel the way Lovin' Life is approaching us members will really allow us to make that contribution."
At the close of the training one pastor shared, "I was so moved by the sincere heart that was expressed by Rev. Cotter and everyone on the headquarters' team. It made me feel that you really cared and appreciated me being there. It made everything else such a pleasure to experience." People left feeling, "We are a team now. We have a more clear vision of what Lovin' Life is trying to accomplish and what In Jin nim wants to offer to our True Parents."
To learn more about what it takes to make Lovin' Life Ministries happen each week watch LLM's inspiring 3 minute video that enabled the participants to understand the level of investment that goes into bringing Lovin' Life to local communities. Lovin' Life is truly In Jin nim's gift to the nation.
The Lovin' Life Satellite Service Manual can be viewed by clicking here.