Nona Jones is recognized as one of the world’s foremost expert on building The Kingdom through social technology and motivating thousands of church leaders each year to reimagine social media as a strategic tool for ministry.
She coined the term “Social Ministry” while writing her best selling book, “Social Media to Social Ministry”, and helped build and lead Facebook’s global Faith-Based Partnerships strategy, coming alongside churches and pastors around the world to shift their thinking from church as “building” to church as “community.”
WHY IS ATTENDANCE DECLINING?
A Pew Research study noted a 12% drop in the selection of “no religious affiliation” for millenials. But why is this?
Nona points out that over time, the church has become more inward facing; we started to care more about those inside the church than focused on the people outside of the church.
The events of 2020 created real chasm between the younger millennial & Gen Z generation, and the boomer generation with responses to social justice and racial inequality.
How the church has responded to these has really impacted the way younger generations perceive christianity and the church as a whole.
We need to change our focus from ourselves and our personal preferences to the needs of the people in our community.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE IS ONLINE?
Remember that no matter the location of the person, everyone has a need to be heard and connected to a community. It may seem daunting to go from a local context to an online context, but people have the same scope of dreams, hopes and desires.
People are people everywhere.
Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the idea of having an online ministry.
Set yourself up for success by having a team of people to monitor and engage with your community throughout the day.
WHY HAVING A DIGITAL PRESENCE MATTERS
Two out of three churches in America are declining in attendance. And the vast majority of churches are declining due to relevancy, and a lack of presence online.
It has become a cultural norm to familiarize ourselves and build trust with a brand, an organization, or a person online before we connect with them in-person.
Having a digital presence meets people where they are and begins the process of building a relationship and connection.
WHERE SHOULD YOU BUILD A COMMUNITY?
According to Nona a Facebook Group is an ideal place to build community, but anywhere you have a social presence, it’s important to be intentional about monitoring and engaging with your audience.
Building a community online needs just as much attention as building a community in-person.
Having a host, a teacher, and a guide matters online too.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE NEGATIVE COMMENTS OR FEEDBACK?
Our first reaction is often to snap back at someone and defend our perspective or point of view.
Keep in mind that hurt people hurt people, and it’s incredibly easy to take your previous hurt out in an online comment.
Let’s be compassionately curious about why a person is responding the way they are.
A great question to ask is “tell me more about why you believe that?” Or if they’re questioning your belief or stance, ask “What evidence would you need to understand what I’m saying is true?” This puts the ball in their court and gives you insight into the barriers that keep them from being open to a relationship with Jesus.
CONSIDER YOUR CONTEXT
Michael points out that although as a church we are for everybody, if we try to reach everybody we’ll end up reaching nobody.
We need to zero in on the segment that we think we can reach, or we want to reach, and everyone else is welcome at the same time.
Understanding your audience and knowing who you are reaching could be one of the most important strategies you decide on. If you get the “who” right, you’ll be able to respond, make decisions, and adapt to needs as they change or arise.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR PEOPLE ARE?
Ask people through survey’s and conversations, and pay attention to analytics.
There is so much data that come through livestream and social media analytics such as interests, topics they interact with, age range, gender, location, etc.
You can also understand the community outside of your church through the Know Your Community Work. You can access this report at churchfuel.com/kyc. The KYC report pulls data from an aggregate of 2500 different data points via wunderman and other sources and will help you understand vital aspects of your local community.
Connect with Nona:
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode HERE
Notable Quotes from Episode 3.1
“Remember that people are people everywhere.” – Nona Jones
“It may seem daunting to go from a local context to a global context, but the truth is people [all over the globe] have the same hopes and desires you do.” – Nona Jones
“Make sure you have make sure you have people to monitor and engage with your community throughout the day so that people feel seen and heard” – Nona Jones
“We are not simply representing the name on our birth certificate, we are in fact representing Jesus.” – Nona Jones
“Strategy is about stewardship.” – Michael Lukaszewski
“Let’s zero in on the segment that we think we can reach, or we want to reach, and everyone else is welcome at the same time” – Michael Lukaszewski
“Understanding your audience and knowing who you are reaching could be one of the most important strategies you decide on. If you get the “who” right, you’ll be able to respond, make decisions, and adapt to needs as they change or arise.” – Meagan Ranson
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