The Words of Hak Ja Han (Mrs. Sun Myung Moon)
After Mother hosted the contestants at a dinner, the judges' decision on who gave the best sermons, based on content, presentation and heart, was announced.
Listening to everyone's speeches, I was very touched by the content. You did well. Thank you for all the effort you made.... [Mother then commented that it would be preferable if sermons would be in standard Korean without dialect.]
I felt that our sermons shouldn't be too long. So if possible, the pastors who are giving the Sunday sermon should finish within thirty minutes. If that happens, inspiration can flow during the whole service and then last for the entire week.
If you speak too long, those listening will go home without remembering what you said. So give a sermon for thirty minutes and continue the program with members' testimonies about their activities, congratulating people who have made progress, or give guidance in matters of faith. What do you think? [Applause. Aju!]
The Hoon Dok Hae room at Cheon Jeong Gung was the venue for the sermon contest (Mother is seated at the front of the room at the far side)
If we do that, I think we will have truly a living, breathing church, that it will be lively, so that the members and those who are joining will feel "Oh it's a whole week until the service! I wish it were today." People should experience such feelings. Right? [Yes.]
Father always spoke of how he lived with the thought of giving things away. With the church, I think the spiritual and the material aspects should be combined, and it should stand in a position to give. Do you understand? [Yes!]
Your sermons should really provide the essential content, to convey the main points to the members. If you create an atmosphere in which members are embraced with love, I believe our church can develop more and more.
Two contestant regional leaders giving sermons
The regional church leaders called to the Cheon Jeong Peace Palace on November 29 felt a measure of stress. They were about to take part in a (so far) unique event, a sermon-giving competition in front of a panel of eight judges from among the top leadership of our providential organizations. Moreover, True Mother would personally attend. People speculated, would this be the last sermon for some of these men?
As the MC explained at the outset, the sermons had to inspire in the listener a compulsion to go out and witness.
To their credit, the twenty-two sermon-givers -- mostly regional directors and long-time church leaders -- showed few signs of nervousness (and only scant regard for the necessary ten-minute time limit) and exuded faith and zeal for God, True Parents, Foundation Day and witnessing.
We heard that True Mother had taken much time to think about the format of the competition, even down to the details of the seating arrangement. She stayed for twenty-two sermons! And in the end Mother herself spoke, coaching the church leaders in their homiletic art. Her guidance was for them, but the benefits of it would be for those listening to sermons in churches around Korea every week (and if you pass this on, maybe around the world). After the last sermon, she spoke.