Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

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

Stations of the Cross

Embed from Getty Images

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

Jesus is the Light Who Brightens the Darkness

Recently I’ve taken time to retreat to refresh and renew – body, mind, and soul.  Little or no computer technology during this time! Thus my Christmas reflection is late this year.

After I awakened this Christmas morning, I sat down at my computer to share my Christmas wishes with you.  What initially caught my eye as I began this task is the “Christmas Celebrated Near and Far” Associated Press story.

As I viewed the photo gallery, I was reminded that Christmas is celebrated around the world.  Today we remember that our Christ came to us as a baby in very humble beginnings born in a stable surrounded by shepherds.  Pope Francis in his Christmas Eve homily simply reminded all of us that our central cause as a church is to be attentive to the poor.  How? That’s what we need to figure out on a daily basis.

As we remember and celebrate the gift of Christ in our lives, may the Nativity Scenes that are placed in our homes, churches, and wherever we may find them, remind us that we are gift to one another.

Here is the translation of the Popes Christmas mass night homily – Jesus is the Light who brightens the darkness. May his words inspire you as we celebrate this wonderful feast of Christmas.

© Cerveny, 2013

 

Understanding the Life of Jesus

I’m always looking for wonderful examples of what others are doing to integrate technology into the teaching of Religion. I’d like to share “Understanding the Life of Jesus: an INCARNATION CATHOLIC School Big6 Research Project created by Rhonda Carrier.

Here is the project —

I encourage you to explore the project.  For those in Catholic Schools, you’ll see how Rhonda has applied the Common Core standards to this project.  More importantly, you begin to see how our students can be engaged with digital tools to expand and research faith topics.

Rhonda, thank you!  Excellent project!  For those who would like to meet Rhonda, I encourage you to attend the 5th Annual INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Here you will have the opportunity to learn from Rhonda how she is integrating technology into the religion classroom.

For those who are catechists at the parish level, these are the kinds of projects you would like to learn about, as you can easily apply what you learn here with your children.

Digital Discipleship

Digital Disciples-2

I often wonder – after all the workshops, articles, mentoring that I’ve done over the years – how have I (and others) inspired catechists to be Digital Disciples? As I reflected on this question, I thought – INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS has the means to draw folks together to share their stories and to interact with the audience who joins them to share their stories. We do not need to get on a plane, train, or automobile to travel anywhere. We can network and connect with one another, regardless of where we live, with digital tools.

In addition, since the founding of Digital Catechesis in 2011, we have grown to over 900+ members. Some members are very active and some are on the sidelines. It would be my hope that the family of Digital Disciples are growing within this group. And what it means to be a Digital Disciple will have a unique meaning for each person.

For some, they will be the parish webmaster, developing the parish website. For others, they will be catechists and teachers with children, adolescents, young adults, and adults who are stepping into the digital world utilizing the digital methodology that now surrounds us in our everyday lives.

As we adapt to this ever evolving digital world, we will be innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards! Even the medical field uses this language. In a recent article that I read about medical clinicians, I love the line “Groups of clinicians change slowly, even when a change is obviously the best course of action. The Technology Adoption Curve, models the time required to achieve group buy-in for a technology, whether it’s a stethoscope or an EMR.” We can say the same about catechists and others involved in ministry.

I am an innovator! I am infatuated with technology. I try things before training is available. I am habitually drawn to new technologies (and invite others to join me) to build on them and apply to faith formation in new ways. I trust that I am nurturing the early adapters so that they will step into this digital world and despite feeling any fear they may have, they will be creative and productive.
And my curiosity has inspired me to invite these early adapters to share their story. How? Through “Show ‘N Tell,” a webinar style of sharing our stories with one another in the hopes of creating a network of stories that demonstrate how new tools can be used to share our faith stories with one another.

I was delighted to have Joe Mazzeo email me with his request to share what he is doing with his pre-Confirmation students.

Joe Mazzeo

Joe Mazzeo

He is our first volunteer for a “Show ‘N Tell” webinar.

I first met Joe when I was facilitating the Digital Catechesis course offered through the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community of Faith Formation.  When I asked him – When did you first realize that technology is a tool that could be used to enhance your teaching of the faith with your pre-Confirmation students?  He said, “When I noticed students becoming bored with the book/lecture/notes method.  My students were watching videos and listening to music while I was trying to teach.  I just wasn’t connecting.  I tried a video clip from Busted Halo and the discussion just bloomed.  Then I added some online questions and people did homework.”

Joe did a wonderful job in sharing his story.  You can view the slides from his presentation below.  As soon as the video is uploaded to Vimeo, I’ll add it to this page so that you can come and listen to what Joe has shared.

If anyone is interested in sharing their story, click on the button above.  I’ll get back to you as quickly as I am able.

In the meantime, if you feel that you are or are slowly becoming a Digital Disciple, click the “Like” button.

© 2013 Cerveny.

Stations of the Cross and Virtual Journeys

If you have ever been in Jerusalem, you have probably experienced praying the Stations of the Cross winding your way through tight and narrow streets.  I experienced this prayer journey in May during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The memory of the noise, people staring at us as they passed buy, and taking a turn at carrying the cross will not be forgotten.  This is the journey that the Lord once took as he was condemned to die for us.

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So, in a digital world, how can we pray the Stations of the Cross in a meaningful way? Saint Mary’s Press is providing a wonderful way to do this with their – Virtual Meditations: Stations of the Cross.

A young person today, using QR Codes, can:

  • Actively engage in prayer by using their cell phones, iPods, or iPads
  • Use videos to inspire their prayer
  • Use technology to help them understand and reflect on the Stations of the Cross

I just prayed the stations using my iPhone, what an incredible experience.  Sitting quietly in my living room, I was able to view the virtual stations that were created by Busted Halo.  In addition, a series of suggested videos were generated showing a title and a link became available. Imagine easily having access to a variety of clips related to the Stations of the Cross at your fingertips.

A Parish Youth Group Experience

While visiting Queen of Peace Catholic Community’s Pathfinders Youth Group, I experienced a parish comfortably using technology in prayer with their youth.  Amy Barber, Middle School Youth Minister often uses technology in her sessions.  I came to see for myself how she was doing this.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that she easily adapted what could be an individual prayer experience into a group prayer experience.  How? This parish has the vision of integrating technology into its worship space.

As you view the following slideshow, you will see how these students moved from station to station, first viewing the video and then praying together.  Later I had the opportunity to ask these students what this experience was like for them.  I heard comments like: “The video helps this prayer come alive for me.” “We’re media people, I love this prayer.” “I’ve done this prayer before and we used cards to read from, it was boring.” “I learned a lot today from the videos.”

What I learned from this experience of praying with this youth group, is that media makes sense to them.  It grabs their attention.  The visuals help them understand the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus and also relate it to today’s suffering world.

I witnessed these youth understanding and appreciating a traditional prayer experience offered with a contemporary method.  Of course, as Holy Week approaches, they were encouraged to return to church with their family and friends with their mobile devices, with a QR Reader installed.  I’d love to be a mouse in the corner of this church to see who returns to pray the Stations of the Cross using the Virtual Meditations.

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Of course, if you like this post, I’d love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have a comment or question.  Or, just click the “Like” button.

Photography: Caroline Cerveny (c) 2013

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