Connecting on Facebook: Insights From Nona Jones

Connecting on Facebook: Insights From Nona Jones

July 23, 2018 by

We’ve been talking about digital church this month, including all the different ways churches can minister online. So today we’re talking with Nona Jones, who leads Global Faith-Based Partnerships for Facebook.

Jones’ job is to help churches leverage Facebook to go beyond sharing content to building connections. She and her husband, Pastor Timothy L. Jones, lead Open Door Ministries in Gainesville, Fla.

Ministry is no longer just happening in four walls, it’s happening at URLs.

Being Innovative on Facebook

What innovative things are churches doing on Facebook?

I’ve been really impressed by the way churches are using Messenger bots to engage the people who follow their public Page. As an example, I receive a Messenger notification when Elevation Church goes Live on Sunday mornings. It’s a great way to let people know you’re active. I also appreciate how churches are “staffing” their Facebook platforms in order to be responsive to people. I know of several churches who have paid and unpaid staff monitoring their Pages, Groups, and Messenger to make sure people get responses to their questions as quickly as possible. It’s so important to not just focus on having content on a Page. You should make it a priority to connect with people beyond the content.

Church isn’t content, it’s community.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups for churches seem to be making a comeback. How can churches best make use of Facebook groups?

I think it’s important to first distinguish between a Page and a Group since that’s the first question I get asked. You should think of your Facebook presence like a house. Your Page is your front porch, the place people come to check you out on the surface and see what you’re about. Like a front Porch, your Page can only represent you externally, so it’s not giving the true picture of who you are and your heart. A Group, however, is like your living room or your kitchen. It’s the place where people not only connect with you, but they connect with each other. They get to see who you are and, even better, you get to see who they are and connect them with the other people in your house.

I advise churches to think of Facebook as your online campus because, although churches think “church online” is streaming a sermon, church isn’t content; it’s community. Facebook Groups are where community happens.

You should make it a priority to connect with people beyond the content.

Social Media Pitfalls

How do you overcome some of the pitfalls of social media in order to make ministry happen?

I believe social media is the most revolutionary ministry tool the church has ever seen, and particularly Facebook. There are 2.5 billion people on social media around the world, and 2 billion of those people are on Facebook. That’s a quarter of the earth’s population.

We often think of social media as if it’s artificial, so it gets treated like it’s somehow different than “church.” The reason for that is that people have come to equate “church” with “building” and I think that’s actually the biggest issue. Data shows that 65% of churches are declining or plateauing in attendance, while 30,000 people search Google every month for “church online.” Ministry is no longer just happening in four walls, it’s happening at URLs.

The reason why I believe so strongly in the power of Facebook Groups is because I have seen it change lives with my own eyes. In a Group, people let their guard down and they talk about the things that are really bothering them. Whereas the traditional church model of a weekend service may minister to someone for an hour on a Sunday, Facebook enables you to minister to that same person 168 hours per week. And it isn’t going to happen on a Page; it’s going to happen in a Group.

You can connect with Nona on Instagram @NonaNotNora or follow her public posts on Facebook.com/NonaNotNora.

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Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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