Presence’s Cultural Mission: Bridging the Cultural and Generational Divide
Committing to The “Cultural Mission”
Presence was born in September 2003, out of a vision from God, to serve the needs of this generation. In the past, Presence has always been committed to responding to the needs of the times, while constantly evolving and growing in our intergenerational ministries. The theme of our fifteenth anniversary is “Presence’s Cultural Mission: Bridging The Cultural and Generational Divide,” which expresses our determination to continue our intergenerational ministries and renew our commitment to the “cultural mission.”
“Culture” basically refers to the personal thoughts and way of life that are shaped by the social environment and the people around us. Although the universal values of today’s secular society are not completely hostile to the core values of Christianity, they are becoming more polarized. When we mentioned missions in the past, we would think of evangelism to people of different races and regions from our own. But now, the mission targets may be close at hand — in the same community, work place, school, or even family! The emergence of Presence is to help and equip believers to learn to live out their faith in a polarized environment, to express their boundaries and bottom line, to release goodwill with a gentle attitude, and to live with people in society with the love of Christ. This is cultural mission, and this is also the mission of Presence.
Bridging The Generational Divide
For the establishment of healthy families, the building-up of intergenerational relationships, the guarding of a new generation of faith, and the equipping of young people to enter society, the three ministries and directions of “Presence Quotient ®,” “RE:NEW” and “Presence Possibilities” were established in the past few years, and they have become the basic pillars of Presence’s intergenerational service.
In recent years, the competition in society has become more and more fierce. In the United States and Asia, people are facing increasingly bigger pressures and challenges, and they may get lost while searching for life directions. Even believers are inevitably affected. In response, our ministry has started to focus on promoting the “Presence Life Planning Curriculum” a year ago. Our goal is to train believers to examine their own lives (including their values, ambitions, relationships, attitudes toward life and their own life priorities) and to help them understand the moral boundaries and principles of life that they should hold on to when faced with pressures, temptations, and difficulties, so that they may live out their faith in such a challenging time. This is a long-term spiritual and psychological education project, and it is also the direction in which Presence is heading.
Therefore, in addition to continuing the all-around intergenerational ministry, we hope to cooperate with churches and seminaries to serve more groups and wider audiences with the “Presence Life Planning Curriculum.” As for our ministry in Hong Kong, our prayer is to introduce the whole course into different high schools, so that we may instill ideals and hopes in a new generation to counteract a society full of negativities.
When the entire “Presence Life Planning Curriculum” is complete and adjusted according to different ages, backgrounds and needs, we intend to develop online courses or online follow-up groups. In the end, we hope to launch a course to train trainers and mentors to benefit more people. We also plan to design Bible study materials related to the course for church groups to use. If God allows, we hope that one day, Presence can become a life education center, serving people of different generations, helping them establish a healthy and biblical attitude toward life in order to shine for the Lord.
Walking with God: My Personal Experience at Presence
Looking back at Presence’s path of growth over the past 15 years, I have a countless number of special experiences and utmost gratitude. Among them, I have to mention a miracle that we experienced last year. During the time when Presence had been undergoing the most financial hardship, God miraculously let my husband win a jackpot in a lucky draw — a luxury car! Just when we were full of gratitude, resold the luxury car and took cash to help pay the salaries of Presence coworkers, we encountered many obstacles. I thought to myself: God has provided for us in such a surprising way, so why is it not going well? It turned out that God wanted me to let go of my personal rational thoughts and learn to be completely obedient. I realized that God often performs miracles for Presence and sends others to help, but sometimes He delays provision in order to teach us to learn how to wait and to be completely obedient. The Holy Spirit also said to me, “You must allow me to do whatever I want, at any time and in any way.” In other words, I can’t restrict or hinder God’s actions — not just in the single experience of the car, but in the ministry of the organization too. Although we have to plan carefully, the results are in God’s hands; we cannot and do not need to control.
In fact, in the past fifteen years, God has let Presence experience some “small achievements,” but there is still a gap between the actual situation and what my heart is eager to see in regard to how God uses Presence to influence society and faith groups. God wants me to learn to persist and obey. The reason why I can persist is because in this ministry, I have experienced the wonderful work of God: I saw that in different stages of ministry, God arranged different brothers and sisters to serve together; I saw that children’s lives were changed after being guided by our teachings; I saw that family relationships were revived after receiving our services and counseling; I saw that even pastors benefited from our ministry. As Romans 15:13 says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In our ministry ahead, we should understand that hope is in God and rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. Since God has given such a great “intergenerational cultural mission” to Presence, this is not something that can be done by people alone; but I am convinced that God, who is the author and finisher, will be able to use Presence to fulfill His will for this age!
I sincerely invite you, who support and love Presence, to continue walking with us and God; together, we will meet the challenge of fulfilling the cultural mission ahead!
Agnes Ip, PhD, LMFT
Founder and CEO of Presence
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology