This is a follow-up for my earlier post: Annual Gratitude Moment.
AGM, as an institution, was not found by us. We adopt the practice of AGM. However, it doesn’t mean we assimilate it wholesale. Aside from adopting, we also adapt it. We mold it to suit our own identity. We modify it. We make it fit. For example, we pray and we sing songs of praise while we are in the AGM, things which are not usually done in any AGM elsewhere. So in some sense actually we have adapted AGM and not merely adopted it.
Although, in these cases, what we did was to add things which were usually absent from a usual AGM. How about the items which are already present in any other AGM? Should we simply copy them or should we also adapt them as well? I would argue that we should do the latter rather than the former. We adopt the practice, but we would run it in different way.
A good example would be the annual report, which is universally present in all kinds of AGM. This is the raison d’etre of an AGM, anyway. For the outgoing committee to present what has been done throughout the year. The problem is, the common setting of annual report presentation is similar to the imagery of a lawcourt. Where the outgoing committee becomes the defendant and the audience becomes the judge/jury.
The question then, is this imagery appropriate for a Christian organization? Or, is there any other imagery which might be more appropriate? Previously I have argued that the Lord’s table imagery would be a more appropriate setting for the annual report presentation. Where we gather together and celebrate God’s mercy which triumphs over our ups and downs throughout the year. It is a celebration of God’s faithfulness despite of our faithlessness. As we witness such grace, we celebrate. Let us offer the annual report, which symbolized our whole year as a fellowship, as an offering of thanksgiving.
Must the lawcourt imagery be false, then? Perhaps not, either. If we could defend and justify the imagery, please do so. I would not hold against it. I just want to encourage all of us to think what does AGM mean for a Christian fellowship, so that we don’t just simply copy the common practice, but to adopt it to be faithful with the Gospel that we hold dear together. In that sense, AGM is transformed into a form of Christian witness.