Communications

Digital Parish: Powering up through engagement and repurposing

We’re going to explore creating digital content that engages our online audiences WHILE we engage in a spiritual practice that hopefully gives us, personally, a bit of a power up in the midst of our busy digital ministry lives.

This episode takes an older piece of content that is a great example of content that engages our digital community and reworks it into something useful for the audience of this podcast. This meditative prayer is going to help us refresh for the work of the busy digital minister.

The Episode

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Show Notes 

 The origin of the Welcoming Prayer meditation practice was this episode of the Compass podcast.

Other episodes of Pastoring in the Digital Parish that center on content development:

 

Pastoring in the Digital Parish: Powering up through engagement and repurposing

  1. This is Pastoring in the Digital Parish, your resource for community and insights for ministry in the digital realm. I’m Ryan Dunn, the host of this podcast and fellow practitioner of digital ministry.

  2. We’ve got two things going on at once in this session:

    1. We’re going to explore creating digital content that engages our online audiences WHILE we engage in a spiritual practice that hopefully gives us, personally, a bit of a power up in the midst of our busy digital ministry lives. [MUSIC OUT]

  3. We all need content that hits online–and that can feel a little daunting and draining to build.

    1. Especially if we’re just taking some wild stabs at what works.

    2. I’ve found that a piece of static OR livestreamed content that works often utilizes contemplative, spiritual, or meditative practices.

      1. There’s something at work in that.

      2. There’s an idea in play… not necessarily that people are actively looking for contemplative-style content… But maybe that people are looking for that kind of immersive or engaging content. 

      3. So here’s an example… these are the names of the most-downloaded Compass podcast episodes–Compass is the other podcast I produce for United Methodist Communications. It’s aimed at inspiring spiritual moments for spiritual seekers in day-to-day life. (what do you notice):

        1. Simple life rhythms for balance and peace

        2. Making any moment holy

        3. How spiritual practices disrupt our world

        4. Prayerful reflection for mid-day disruption

      4. On GYSIS, our sister podcast for an audience of United Methodists. Their episode: Jesus’ path from pain to triumph:  a guided meditation got their most 7-day downloads.

    3. All of these episodes include a suggestion of spiritual practice.

    4. People are looking for content with which they can engage–not simply content that informs.

  4. This is weird, to me, at least.

    1. It’s weird because of the nature of a podcast.

    2. We don’t listen to podcasts with an expectation that it will physically make a demand of us.

    3. Podcast listening is generally something we do while engaged in–or practicing– something else. Check out these stats:

      1. 80% of podcasts listeners listen while they commute.

      2. 70% of podcast listeners listen while they do housework

      3. 65% utilize their mobile device for listening.

    4. You get the picture… People generally aren’t sitting in a chair listening to a podcast in the same way they might sit and read a book.

    5. For the most part, it sounds as though they utilize podcasts to be distracted from a boring or repetitive task.

    6. I listen while exercising and walking my dogs.

    7. You’re likely nodding your head in recognition as you’re listening right now while you are also engaged in another activity.

      1. Admit it…

      2. You’re multi-tasking, aren’t you…

      3. It’s OK… really.

    8. SO, here’s what I’m not going to do… I’m not going to try to pull you away from that.

    9. I’m not going to say “stop what you’re doing and engage with what I’m doing.”

      1. Not if I want you to actually participate.

      2. Instead, it seems, I need to supply a practice that you can do while you are engaged in that other activity, too.

  5. In this session of Pastoring in the Digital Parish, we’re going to do what we talk about doing. 

    1. We’re going to inspire some content that engages people through content that engages… I hope.

    2. AND, I’m going to be repurposing some older content from the Compass podcast–the other podcast that produce for United Methodist Communications.

      1. Repurposing is something we’ve talked about quite a bit… especially in season one where we really did some deep dives on content for ministers who are digital creators.

      2. So what we might think about doing is taking that portion of the worship service where we invited the congregation into a mediation and make that a stand-alone video or podcast segment.

      3. OR we might record a guided version of a contemplative practice that was recommended by our Sunday school curriculum.

  6. In this session, we’re going to start by powering up our awareness and our energy.

    1. And we’ll start by imagining our body is a health bar or energy meter in a video game.

    2. How full is your health or energy?

    3. If you’re at 100%, congratulations. Most likely, though, you are not.

    4. So let’s do a power up.

      1. Starting with your head… I want you to imagine the health meter that is your body is ready to recharge.

      2. The segment that is your head is flashing.

      3. To get it recharged and full, relax whatever tension you’re holding in this part of your body.

        1. Relax your eyes.

        2. Relax your lips and mouth.

        3. Release the tension in your forehead.

        4. Breath some air into your brain and clear your head a bit by focusing on your breath.

    5. And we’re going to move onto the next segment of the health meter, focusng on our neck and shoulders.

      1. If you can, roll that out a little.

      2. Tip your head side-to-side to release some of that tension in your neck.

      3. Let your shoulders drop to where they feel comfortable.

      4. Give them a few small rolls, too. Seeing if you can release some of the pent up tension there.

      5. Imagine that health meter switching from a blinking bar to a full bar.

    6. Then focus on your chest and midsection.

      1. Here, we’re just going to breathe.

      2. Notice the rise and fall of the chest.

      3. See if you can pull air so deeply that your belly rises and falls, as well.

      4. Feel the energy you get from breathing.

      5. As you breathe in and out, imagine that health meter blinking more and more slowly until it stays steadily on… and you’re feeling a bit more charged up.

    7. And now we’re going to think about the legs.

      1. This is the last part of our health meter.

      2. We tend to carry a ton of tension in our hips.

      3. You may not be in a place where you can easily release some of that tension right now… say if you’re driving… or even walking.

      4. But if you can, arch your back a little bit and see if that doesn’t inspire some sensation in your lower back.

      5. You might need to push your tailbone back a bit.

      6. If you’re able to rotate your hips side to side a bit, that might help relieve a little tension, too.

        1. Again, with each rotation, imagine your health meter blinking just a little more slowly.

      7. If you’re walking, take a moment to walk a bit slower and imagine yourself gliding more than you’re exerting effort.

      8. If you’re seated, slowly march your feet in place a bit. 

        1. Focus on pushing through the toes if you’re able. 

        2. And then flex the toes, see if you can stretch out some of the tension in your calves.

      9. Keep that slow stretch and push happening until you feel like your energy meter can stop blinking.

  7. You can keep up these little relaxation practices as we get some background information from a previous episode of the Compass podcast where I introduced the practice of Welcoming Prayer.

    1. We’ll hear the background, and then we’ll step into that practice together…

  8. [Previous recording] The practice I’m introducing is called Welcoming Prayer… and I was actually introduced to this practice by a guest on our podcast, the Rev. Tyler Sit. 

    1. Rev. Tyler detailed the practice in his book, Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers.

    2. Tyler was one of our featured disruptors a couple episodes ago.

    3. He is not the originator of the Welcoming Prayer practice.

    4. Mary Mrozowski originally put the practice together in the late 20th Century.

    5. Mary was one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach--which your can learn more about at contemplativeoutreach.org

    6. She based the practice on the 17th century French spiritual classic “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Jean-Pierre de Caussade.

    7. In essence, the Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to the stresses of life.

    8. So when I’m stuck on an anxious feeling, or a feeling of defeat, I find it helpful to retreat into this practice as a way to disrupt the cycles of rumination in my head.

      1. You know, those thoughts that are triggered when negative things happen…

      2. The thoughts that like to suggest that I mess everything up.

      3. That success is for other people but not for me.

      4. That I’m just an imposter and pretender.

    9. This practice derails those thoughts before they become my narrative.

  9. The Welcoming Prayer consists of three parts or movements.

    1. First, we recognize what we’re feeling.

    2. Secondly, we welcome these feelings as a means for recognizing God’s presence.

    3. Thirdly, we let go of a need to control and simply embrace the moment.

  10. So let’s take this through, one time, together. [Gong]

  11. Allow yourself to feel this moment… What’s going on in your body? Where are you holding tension? What’s distracting in your mind? … Sit with that for a moment.

  12. Welcome whatever is that you’re experiencing. Name it to yourself.

    1. And we’re focusing on emotional states and reactions here.

    2. So you may be carrying a cold or allergies right now.

    3. Instead of just recognizing that you have a stuffy nose or sore throat, turn your attention to how those physical challenges inspire you emotionally.

    4. Are you frustrated by them? Do they have you feeling drained? Are you fed up with having to deal with stuff?

  13. Tyler Sit actually says “hello” to his sensations: “Hello anxiety, I see you. Hello fatigue, I recognize you, too.”

    1. Do that now...

    2. In the same way, welcome God.

    3. “Hello Dear One, I recognize you are present in this moment, too.”

    4. It might even help to invite and admit God’s presence in all the sensations you’ve just mentioned…

      1. “God, you are with me in my anxiety…

      2. Spirit, you are with me when I’m fatigued…”

  14. That leads us to the third and final movement: the letting go:

    1. Perhaps the most economic way to do this is to release your named sensations to God… “God, I give you my fatigue. Spirit, I give you my anxiousness…”

    2. Mary Mrozowski also provided a prayer for closing of Welcoming Prayer.

    3. It reads like this:

      1. “I let go of my desire for security and survival.

      2. I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.

      3. I let go of my desire for power and control.

      4. I let go of my desire to change the situation.”

  15. With that, we will close this practice.

  16. Aaaand, we’re going to close this session of Pastoring in the Digital Parish, as well.

    1. I’m Ryan Dunn. I’d like to thank ResourceUMC.org,  the online destination for leaders throughout The United Methodist Church. They make this podcast possible. And of course, they host our website: pastoringinthedigitalparish.com, 

    2. I’ll speak with you again in a new episode next week. In the meantime, peace to you!

 

 

 

 

On this episode

Ryan Dunn, co-host and producer of the Compass Podcast

Our proctor/host is the Rev. Ryan Dunn, a Minister of Online Engagement for United Methodist Communications. Ryan manages the digital brand presence of Rethink Church, co-hosts and produces the Compass Podcast, manages his personal brand, and obsesses with finding ways to offer new expression of grace.