Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Digital Discipleship: It matters for Everyone (Part I)

discipleship

Sherry Weddell in Forming Intentional Disciples says, “We must be convinced that all the baptized – unless they die early or are incapable of making such a decision – will eventually be called to make a personal choice to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the midst of his Church.” (pg. 70)

In addition, Sherry highlights for us the stages of Intentional Discipleship: Trust, Curiosity, Openness, Seeking, and Intentional Discipleship. We will explore later how these are also steps to Digital Discipleship.

The wonderful background materials related to Evangelization and Discipleship offer us helpful suggestions for evangelization and discipleship today.  In general, most of these materials do not highlight how being a Digital Disciple stands as an essential element at the heart of ministry. The goal of the Digital Discipleship Series is to encourage us in digital discipleship and evangelization efforts.  We no longer have an either/or option.  We are now called to integrate the apostolic opportunity of the digital world, so that we may use it effectively in our everyday efforts to incarnate the Gospel message.

Most of us are Disciples!  Yet, when we are asked if we do anything with technology, normally we frown and raise our eyebrows when the question is asked.  After all – Discipleship is about being “real” with others.  Sharing our faith with them.  Of course, in the minds of many – this means in a face-to-face opportunity. Today digital tools/options expand a deeper challenge and opportunity for us to share our faith with others via digital tools.

Yet in today’s Digital World, where we now have access to a variety of digital communication tools, it is time to use these tools to be Digital Disciples in order to evangelize our family and friends and our church.

When I first saw Sherry Weddell’s stages of Intentional Discipleship, I immediately saw the connection between the steps of Digital Discipleship:

Trust – Trust that we can enhance the sharing of our faith with others in digital ways.

Curiosity – Numerous digital tools are familiar to us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more.  Our curiosity and even our digital anxiety must lead us to explore how we can use these tools to communicate both the power/love of our faith and also our love for Jesus to others.

Openness – Our personal capacity to entertain different and often non-customary digital ideas offer amazing apostolic opportunities.

Seeking – As seekers we continue to search with Jesus new ways to be a disciple in a 21st Century Digital World.

Intentional Digital Discipleship – Our passion to share our faith becomes a both/and experience.  We relish being able to spend face-to-face time with others.  While at the same time I/We can use digital means like Facebook, Twitter, and more to enhance our faith and love of Jesus to others.

As we engage in Digital Discipleship, I reflect on a comment that Archbishop Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications made in 2014 during an interview with Columbia Editor Alton J. Pelowski:

In other words, the challenge for the Church today is not to use the Internet to evangelize, but to evangelize from within this digital milieu.

The mission of the Church is always the same: We are invited to announce the Gospel to the men and women of today. This is our point of reference. In being present in such a context, we are not simply “bombing” the social networks with religious messages. No, what we have to do is give witness – personal witness. Pope Francis said very clearly to the young people in Assisi last year (citing St. Francis): “Always preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words!”

How to Make & Share a Scripture Story Video on Facebook

zaccheaus

 

Every parish has a Facebook page!  So what about creating a short Sunday Gospel video that highlights the scripture story of the day?  In addition, include one, two, or three reflection questions for the week!

Once created, you can add to your parish Facebook page.  Perhaps this is a project for your junior or senior high students or even your RCIA participants. It becomes a 21st Century way of studying the weekly scripture and sharing with others. It can easily be viewed on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Here’s how you can make a Gospel story video that will engage the creators in telling the Gospel story in a meaningful way.  Follow these steps:

  1. Read the Gospel

As you read the Sunday Gospel, have a highlighter in hand.  Highlight the “phrases” that stand out for you in this reading.

For example – Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – Lectionary: 153 – Phrases:

  • Jesus came to Jericho
  • A man there named Zacchaeus
  • Chief tax collector
  • Wealthy Man
  • Seeking to see who Jesus was
  • Could not see him because of the crowd
  • He was short
  • Climbed a sycamore tree
  • Jesus looked up
  • Zacchaeus, come down quickly
  • I must stay at your house
  • Jesus received him with joy
  • Everyone began to grumble
  • Staying at the house of a sinner
  • Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor
  • If I exhorted – I shall repay it four times over
  • Today salvation has come to this house
  1. Go to Google Images

Using the search phrase “Creative Commons Zacchaeus” or “Creative Commons (image type)” look for images that will match the phrases you identified.  Remember you want to locate images that are free and may be used without violating copyright laws.  Here are a few examples for images that may be used in this video.

Jericho 

JesusinJericho

Z-Climb-Tree

Zacchaeus in tree

Zacchaeus in Crowd

All Grumble

Z said I will…

Z in house

House

Jesus

Now you have several images that could be used in your video

  1. Draft a Script

Once you have images, and have identified phrases, draft a script that you will use with Animoto (an online video tool that uses images, text, and images) for creating your video.  Remember as you draft your script to keep the phrases short as Animoto allows you to use no more than –

  • 40 characters for a Title
  • 50 characters for a SubTitle
  • 50 characters for a Caption

For example:

Text Graphic
TITLE: Thirty-First Sunday – Ordinary Time – October 30, 2016

 

     None
TITLE: Jesus Came To Jericho – Luke 19: 1-10

 

     None
Jesus came to Jericho

 

     Jesus Face
Zacchaeus the chief tax collector and wealthy  lived there

 

     Jericho Sign
He was seeking to see who Jesus was

 

     Jesus in crowd
Could not see him because of the crowd

 

     Z in crowd
He climbed a Sycamore tree

 

     Z in tree
Jesus looked up and said “I must stay at your house”

 

     Z in tree
Everyone began to grumble – He’s a sinner!

 

     Grumble
Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor

 

     Z in house
If I extorted – I shall repay it four times over

 

     Z in house
Today salvation has come to this house

 

     House
How have you experienced the seeking or saving power of Jesus in your life (maybe even in the past week)?

 

     Question
What are some ways Jesus has changed you?

 

     Question
How can you be a witness to Jesus’ transforming power in your life?

 

     Question
TITLE: Credits – FreebibleImages.com and Creative Commons Images

 

     None
TITLE: Blessings  – Enjoy a wonderful week

 

     None
None (Note: You could add the name of your parish here and any other short message you would like).      Fall Colored Leaf

 

Once you have a script you are now ready to work with Animoto, an online tool that uses your photos and text to create a professional video slideshow simply and easily.  Animoto is easy to learn and easy to use.  If you are unfamiliar with Animoto, go to YouTube and search for “Animoto Tutorial” to learn the ins and outs of this tool.

  1. Sign in to Animoto

Sign into your account.  If you do not have an account you can register for one.  You can create a 30-second video on a trial version. There are various options so that you can create Animoto videos that are longer than 30-seconds.  You can apply as an “educator” for a FREE ANIMOTO PLUS ACCOUNT. Or you can apply for ANIMOTO FOR A CAUSE. If you purchase an annual Animoto plan, you are able to create videos that are Full Length (i.e., longer than 30-seconds).

  1. Choose a video style

Set the mood for your video by choosing a video style.  There are a number of video styles to choose from.  Pick something that enhances your Scripture story.

  1. Add your photos/images

Once you have chosen a style, it’s time to add your photos.  You can upload files from your computer to be used in the template.  Once your images/photos are added, if needed, you can click and drag the blocks to change their order.

  1. Add titles/text to tell the story

Once the photos/images are added, click on them to add captions or click Add text to add a title card.  Remember to create a title screen.animoto-sharing

Test as you continue to “tweak” your video.  When you are ready, click on Publish.  You will receive an email from Animoto to tell you that your video is ready.  Once you have a link you can share in a variety of ways.

 

 

 

 

Click on image for Video

Click on image for Video

10 Signs You are a 21st Century Catechist (It’s time to Celebrate It)

Picture by Frankeleon licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Picture by Frankeleon licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

 

Of course, catechesis today involves the heart, head and more!  As a catechist, you are challenged to teach the faith not only to children, but to their parents as well.  May the following reflections highlight for you 10 important signs for you:

  1. Suspends Stereotypes: We are all baptized and called to share our faith with our children and families.  It is not just “Father” or “Sister” called to teach faith today!  All of us by our baptism are invited to both learn and to share our faith knowledge with one another.
  2. Emphasizes Empathy: When you take time to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, that is empathy says Roman Krznaric.  Why is this important? To understand others, especially in their faith journey.
  3. Promotes Collaboration: Sharing faith involves two or more persons. How the Lord is part of our everyday life is important to share with others.  Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. (Mt 18:20)
  4. Celebrates Creativity: The Gospel story can get old quickly. It takes new eyes to see the stories of Jesus alive in today’s world.  Perhaps the Gospel stories can be imagined as a gigantic erector set.  You can put anything together in new and original ways. The Gospel comes alive in our lives if we can see it clearly and plainly in our everyday stories.
  5. Values Voice: Today there is a Giving Voice to Values (GVV) curriculum that focuses on ethical implementation and asks the questions: “What if I were going to act on my values? What would I say and do? How could I be most effective?” Perhaps it is time to consider how we value the Catholic faith in our everyday lives.  Let’s ask the questions:  If my faith supported how I live in today’s world, would I be modeling the Christ who is compassionate and forgiving? Would I be serving the poor? How could I be most effective as a Catholic in today’s world?
  6. Promotes Digital Practices: We are living digital today whether we are ready or not. It is time to begin considering what it means to be a Digital Disciple in today’s world.  Digital transformation is a desired and shared vision of an outcome that can be achieved through a series of projects or a combination of initiatives.  It is time to begin imagining and implementing how we can engage in communication with others that provides a Christian outlook in everyday lives.
  7. Reinforces Reflection: We reflect daily on what has happened in our everyday lives asking: What went well? What didn’t? Why? How do I feel about it? In Ignatian Spirituality, this is referred to as the daily Examine.  As Catholics we want to analyze our experiences, make changes based on our mistakes, keep doing what nurtures our faith, and build upon or modify past knowledge based on new knowledge.  In faith, we are called to be Lifelong Learners!
  8. Engages in Prayer: Deacon Doug McManaman says, “You and I were created for prayer.  Life is about learning how to pray.  If the very purpose of human life is to know God and love God in eternity, then the purpose of life is prayer.  Read further his article, The Importance of Prayer. As a catechist we pray and engage those who are in our learning groups in learning more about prayer.  What a gift!
  9. Fosters Creative Projects: Our neighborhoods, cities, and world today are crying out for care and concern.  How we “see” what is around us and respond with others is critical today.  At my parish, Espiritu Santo Catholic Parish, there are numerous projects we are invited to participate in that by collaborating together we make a difference with serving those in need -packaging food for Catholic Relief Services – Helping Hands, serving at Pinellas Hope, and more.  All catechists today are called to find creative projects to care for others and the earth.
  10. Values Connections and Communication: There are many ways to stay connected with others.  By being a catechist you are connected with faith-filled friends who are not only called to serve, but are invited to share their faith with others in traditional and digital ways.  Following this article over the next three weeks, I’ll share a series of 3 articles that focus on being a Digital Disciple.  I invite you to come back to this blog and learn more.

As you reflect on these ten signs, you have an opportunity to celebrate.  After instructing over 400 participants of Digital Discipleship Boot Camp, I am aware that the Digital side of life is just emerging as an important part of today’s 21st Century Ministry.  If you are curious and want to become a Digital Disciple, I invite you to join one of the two cohorts (Winter or Summer) that are offered in the year.  Come and visit Digital Discipleship Boot Camp for additional information.

What “sign” do you celebrate the most?  Share your story in the “Comments” section below.

Curiosity is Intelligence having fun!

creativity

The saying attributed to Albert Einstein – Curiosity is intelligence having fun – is something to keep in mind as I return to writing articles about technology in ministry.  Why?  I call all involved in ministry to be curious with me about technology and to have “fun” while being curious.

There are various ways we can approach technology, for example:

  • FEAR: We can be so afraid of technology that we turn our back on it, ignore it, and not see it as valuable partner in our ministry world.
  • TINKER: Those who enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again, can take a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone apart to see if they can put it back together again. They enjoy the mechanics of handling the pieces and weaving them into a unit that works.
  • NICE TO HAVE: Yes, we have the $$$$$$ for the tools. Let’s buy what we believe we will use.  We listen to the techy folks who surely know how to use technology in ministry.  I believe we need to ask – Well do they know how to use these tools in a learning environment?
  • DIGITAL PEDAGOGY: We are now living in a “paradigm shift” where learning is changing with the introduction of technology into the learning cycle. As an educator, I was shaped and formed by a system that today is tending towards being out-of-fashion!  We are leaning towards a digital culture that is changing how we teach, how we communicate, and how we work together.

Jesse Stommel is an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He offers four characteristics of Critical Digital Pedagogy. Put another way, these are four things we might notice if digital teaching and learning is doing what it’s supposed to do.

Characteristics of Critical Digital Pedagogy

  1. It centers its practice on community and collaboration
  2. Must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries
  3. Will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather a cacophony of voices
  4. Must have use and application outside traditional institutions of education

I encourage you to explore Strommel’s PowerPoint where he describes Digital Pedagogy.

Now what does this mean for faith formation? We will go on to discover through our curiosity.  I trust that the articles that are already here and the articles to come, will continue to add to the conversation.  I invite all of my readers to join me in this ongoing conversation.  I invite you to return for the new articles or to simply search for articles that may interest you here at ACyberPilgrim.  Blessings!

 

Merciful Technology Prayer

MercyYear

Recently Digital Disciple Network Associates gathered in Orlando before attending the Future of Educational Technology Conference (FETC).  Claudia McIvor led us in prayer as we began. We may often wonder on “...how our efforts to bring technology and faith together might bind the wounds of those who need to feel the healing touch of Jesus in the world today.”

I wanted to share this prayer with you as it highlights some of the possibilities of using technology for ministry.  You may wish to pray this with your staff in the future as you engage in conversations about the importance of technology in your ministries.

Watch this blog for more about technology and ministry after I attended the FETC Conference in Orlando last week.

Leader: In this year of Divine Mercy, let us reflect on how our efforts to bring technology and faith together might bind the wounds of those who need to feel the healing touch of Jesus in the world today. To guide us, we recall the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Leader: Many are hungry and thirsty. May we bring awareness to their needs and respond in generosity through the power of the Internet and social media.

R: Holy Spirit, impel us.

Leader:  The sick, the disabled, and the elderly often cannot join us in our churches. May our videos and live broadcasts reach out to touch, reassure and nurture them, bringing community into their homes.

R: Holy Spirit, inspire us.

Leader:  Isolation brings doubt and ignorance. May wisdom fly to those who are alone, reassuring them of God’s powerful and constant love, through our digital stories and emails.

R: Holy Spirit, guide us.

Leader:  Though we may be tempted to hold grudges, withhold kindness, or spread phobias, may we always choose to use digital media to forgive, instruct and share God’s love for all people, no matter their race or creed.

R: Holy Spirit, direct us.

Leader:  In all that we do in our ministries with technology, may we always be mindful of those in need, and may we call on the creative breath of God to find new ways to show mercy to all.

R: Holy Spirit, we trust in you.

 

The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.

feed the hungry
give drink to the thirsty
clothe the naked
shelter the homeless
visit the sick
visit the imprisoned
bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, as listed below, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.

counsel the doubtful
instruct the ignorant
admonish sinners
comfort the afflicted
forgive offenses
bear wrongs patiently
pray for the living and the dead

http://www.loyolapress.com/corporal-and-spiritual-works-of-mercy.htm

Stations of the Cross

As Holy Week approaches, we will take time to remember the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus through the Stations. Why are the stations part of our prayer? It allows us to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

Following is a suggestion to engage your students in preparing to pray the stations in church:

  • Look over the following Stations of the Cross, and determine which one is best used with your students. You can assign ONE station per small group of students or if you have a small group of students, you can assign a couple of stations per group. This is their background information for the station.

Creighton University Ministry Stations
USCCB Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross Especially for Children
Stations of the Cross: A Devotional Guide for Lent and Holy Week

  • After assigning a station to a small group of students, ask them to draw or choose an image that represents the station. Invite them to prepare a short meditation and prayer (one or two sentences) for the station they have been assigned. There are various ways they can create their image from drawing their station on paper and then scanning to an electronic format, or using electronic drawing tools to create their drawing, or simply going over to church to photograph the station that they have been assigned.

(Or you may work with your Youth Ministry group, to have students photograph the Stations of the Cross that are in your parish church and to organize them in a Dropbox folder so that your students will have access to the Station of the Cross images from your church.)

Example of a PPT Station Template

Example of a PPT Station Template

  • Using PowerPoint (You may want to use the suggested template or you may wish to design a template) invite your students to create a PPT slide that represents the Station that they have been asked to prepare and add the image, reflection, and prayer.
Example of a Station of the Cross PPT Slide

Example of a Station of the Cross PPT Slide

  • Save the slide in two formats – 1) the usual PPT format and 2) the JPG format using the “Save As” function and for a File name use the format of Slide # (the number of the Station) so you will have files named Slide 1, Slide 2, Slide 3, etc. For FILE TYPE, choose – JPEG File International Format.
  • Now that you have the slides in a graphic JPEG format that can be used by video tools like Animoto and 30 Hands, you are ready to create a video meditation that can be shared on your parish website. Or once uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, you can share the link with your families on the parish Facebook page or Tweet the link out to the world.

If you are not familiar with the suggested tools, you will find an introduction to these tools at the Catechesis 2.0 blog. Come and visit:

Animoto 
30 Hands

The FREE Animoto will only allow you to create a 30-second video. So, to do a longer video, you will need to purchase either a monthly subscription for $5.00 or an annual subscription for $30. I love this tool and have found that the annual investment is a wise decision. 30 Hands Mobile is a FREE app for those using a smartphone, iPad or tablet computer. Check out the 30 Hands website for additional information.

What is so helpful about this activity is that you are engaging your students in a traditional prayer experience of the church – The Stations of the Cross – by using the technology that they are very comfortable with.

You may also wish to review the following blog pages:
Stations of the Cross and Virtual Journeys, and
Stations of the Cross Multimedia for Lent

Blessings as we prepare to enter into this time of remembering the gift of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus!

© Caroline Cerveny , SSJ-TOSF

National Catholic Sisters Week

TY-Sister

National Catholic Sisters Week  is launching this year during the second week of March (March 8-14) as part of National Women’s History Month.

As I read the NCR article, I was excited about the following –

In an attempt to record untold stories by women who have served for decades in challenging ministries, St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota is sponsoring a student-led initiative. Students are producing interviews or short films about sisters they know to create an extensive oral history.

“As a student producer I will connect with a sister and hear her story,” said St. Catherine student Dominique Caya. “Not by just asking her in an interview style, though that will be part of it, but more, getting to know her on a personal level. While doing this I will blog about it, either in writing or video, and post my sister’s story on social media.”

This would be a wonderful project for any religious education class (schools or parish catechetical programs) to engage in.  Many of our religious education students are creating videos in their everyday classes.  Why not invite them to share their talents in creating video stories of sisters they may know or may be meeting for the first time.

If you’re not sure how to conduct this type of project with your students, the following links will help you:

You may also wish to visit “SisterStories: How Did I Know” website.  There are some wonderful suggestions here for you to celebrate the gift of religious women in our church.

(c) 2014 Cerveny

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