In 1968, Berg traveled to California with his wife and three children with whom he had founded a gospel group with which they raised some money. That trip changed his life forever. In the late 1960s Huntington Beach, the place where his mother had preached for decades, was a hippie paradise.
The promised land of surfing, drugs, and free sex. The boards, the marijuana and the shouts against the Vietnam War were mixed with the posters of “Jesus loves you” or “Jesus is your colleague”, the germ of a new spirituality whose followers would begin to be known as jesus freaks .
Berg saw in those misplaced young people the energy he needed. They sought Jesus, but rejected the traditional church, which he had come to despise deeply. In order to integrate, he broke with the image of a shepherd: he let his hair and beard grow, he went barefoot and changed his suits for jeans and tunics.
The whole family became one more group of hippies. From the Light Club café, he began to launch a message that was getting more followers every day: the world was in crisis, the church was in crisis, only love could save them and their great enemies were the system, parents and authority in general.
“There you pressed a button and there was a disciple willing to follow you home,” declared his youngest daughter Faith in the documentary The Love Prophet and the Children of God.. He made 90 disciples in just a few months.
The children of God preached on the beach, in the streets and also in public buildings, which caused a group of their members to be arrested. Berg organized a vigil and dozens of his followers stood in front of the police station dressed in sack suits and their foreheads smudged with ash in sign of the apocalypse that was to come. They wore yokes around their necks and biblical prophecies were on their chests.