THE AUTHORITY OF GENERATIONS:
FOUNDATION AND DESCRIPTION

Authority of Generations was first developed by Ernesto Medina and Michael Cunningham in 1998. It was the first of the evolutions of steps leading to the "Discernment of Gifts" Project.

The Authority of Generations (AG) is a viable option for congregational decision making and program development, inclusive of all ages. While it was designed for replacing a congregational committee meeting, it can and has been used for Vestry meetings as well as Diocesan Program Groups. We are finding its use flexible to most any church decision making event.

ASSUMPTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

AG has been developed with the following assumptions:

The development of AG has come from a combination of influences, including:

PROCESS

The heart of AG is relatively simple. Each person in the group will be asked to answer a question about their faith journey. After each story is offered, the group will sing a hymn in response.

The question which elicits the stories is flexible. Some examples of the type of question (or task) include:

You are certainly free to create your own question based upon your own knowledge of the group meeting. What must not be compromised, however, is the intentionality about God!

There are two presiders for the process:

THE STEPS FOR AUTHORITY OF GENERATIONS

  1. Identify a purpose for the meeting (i.e. planning a year for Christian Education, or Stewardship response, or mission for a church).
  2. Call a meeting, allowing for about 2 hours of time. This is based on 8 to 10 people in the group.
  3. Gather in a comfortable place.
  4. After the group has gathered, the Discerner of Song leads a hymn and the Weaver offers a prayer.
  5. A passage from Scripture is read.
  6. The Weaver asks the God question. Each person in the group (in no particular order) is asked to share their story. The stories are told without comment from the other members of the group. It is usually a good idea for both the Weaver and Discerner of Song to offer their own stories.
  7. After each story, the Discerner of Song (who has been praying during the telling of the story) suggests a hymn to be sung by the group. The group then sings.
  8. Once all of the stories have been offered, the Weaver (who has been praying and listening carefully to each story) links all the common threads from each of the stories told. It is a good idea to name each person during this weave. The weaver might say something like, “In the telling of the stories we just experienced 7 generations” or “As we heard the stories we went around the world 3 times.”
  9. Allow the group to discuss the experience and what common links they themselves heard or experienced.
  10. The Weaver then articulates the purpose for the meeting (see point #1) and listens.
  11. If there are children present they will probably speak first (as long as the adults are not too controlling... but AG supports that release of control). The ideas the children share should provide a fairly strong foundation and direction for the group. The adults may then, and only then, use their experience to build on the foundation laid. This part of the process usually comes together very quickly.
  12. The group sings a final hymn and prays.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

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