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App encourages small acts of discipleship

Daily Ripple offers a ‘progressive digital’ community

by Beth Waltemath | Presbyterian News Service

“We don’t rise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our processes,” says the Rev. Dr. Jason Whitehead, a pastor and social worker who has co-created the Daily Ripple app as a model for spiritual formation and the meeting space of a new worshiping community. “And so, if we can build a process around change and around incrementally getting better at something, then when we have those inevitable hiccups, we’re falling back on a place that’s much higher than we were before. And that really informed the idea of our new worshiping community.”

Denver Presbytery supported Whitehead’s application for a seed grant with 1001 New Worshiping Communities, setting the foundation for Daily Ripple as a Substack and a stand-alone app where individuals may engage in spiritual practices.

Whitehead hopes that people will engage Daily Ripple anywhere from two to 14 minutes each day to create a practice of reflection and setting an intention that will lead to a longer-term change in their habits and outlook. Daily Ripple is also sustained by ecumenical partnerships through the Juniper Formation.

According to the Juniper Formation’s website, “Daily Ripple is a progressive digital discipleship community” with the goal to “revolutionize how we practice discipleship” through ritual and prompted action aimed at building a just and compassionate world. Every weekday, the app and website publish a “100-150-word droplet” reflecting on Scripture. Each droplet creates a “ripple” through a question that prompts a positive action.

Whitehead “really has created a network that is almost a more secure network for people who would not necessarily show up at church,” said the Rev. Dr. Dee Cooper, lead presbyter of Denver Presbytery. Daily Ripple is one of a few non-geographic or online new worshiping communities that Denver Presbytery has supported in an effort to reach people where they are rather than ask them “to come to us in our setting of traditional worship,” as Cooper describes it. “I love 1001 for the big invitation to reach out and meet people where they are and to ask big questions about God, faith and our lives.”

“Daily Ripple is giving a very progressive message, a very progressive expression of the gospel,” said the Rev. Fernando Rodríguez, associate presbyter for mission with Denver Presbytery, who noted that this is an area that is lacking in the social media world. “Daily Ripple creates a space for people to engage their faith through a progressive lens.”

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