Nona Jones has written one of the stand out books of the year for churches and non profits. With so many churches and non profits having to rush online, churches are looking to platforms like Facebook to assist them building connections through digital means. The release of Social Media to Social Ministry: A Guide to Digital Discipleship could not have been timed better and the book itself does not disappoint.
Nona’s book gives churches a fully tested, step by step, process towards building digital disciples. It is a must read for every social media manager.
Reflecting on the Digital World and the Church in it.
Nona starts the book by reflecting on the state of the church in this digital world. She has written this book with the idea in mind that you are going to need to sell your senior church leader on why this is so important. There are some great statistics that, to be honest, are also a bit scary.
But Nona gives you stats that you are going to need to do the convincing. And even though when I was reading it I was thinking “Oh blimey”, Nona’s approach is constructive and highlights the many opportunities that churches have to disciple and evangelise people online.
Google Insights reports that every month, more than thirty thousand people search Google using the phrase “church online.”
Jones, Nona. From Social Media to Social Ministry (pp. 11-12). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
The Difference Between Social Media and Social Ministry
Invitation & Community
“A social media plan focuses on getting people to the building for a couple of hours every weekend, whereas a social ministry strategy focuses on how to help them grow in their faith through social technology after they leave. You need both, and if you focus only on a social media plan, you will build an audience while stopping short of building disciples.”
I love this idea! I see so many churches stop at a social media strategy. I will admit it is the easiest thing to do. But there is so much opportunity to build a community, to build a tribe online. Nona does a fantastic job of explaining the need for both and the difference between them.
Communication / Conversation
She has this line that resonated in my head for several weeks after reading the book:
“Social media should be social; it should invite multidirectional communication. It should invite conversation.”
I will admit I was reading one of the gospels at the same time and seeing the way Jesus engaged and taught his crowd, how he invited questions, for example. It lead me to thinking about how we could improve the social ministry strategy at my church.
While a social media plan primarily focuses on sharing content to get likes, comments, and shares, a social ministry strategy focuses on building relationships and facilitating connections between and among people so that discipleship can happen.
Jones, Nona. From Social Media to Social Ministry (p. 25). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
You wouldn’t launch a ‘physical church without planning why would you do it with an online one?
One of the best parts of this book is the fantastic plan that Nona has put together for churches. Nona is a practitioner. She has tried this plan with churches of all sizes, big, small, and everything inbetween. It has been tested, refined, and tested again. She leaves room for you to add your own flavour and style but this plan is very, very good all by itself.
But even though you have all this fantastic content in this book I love, love Nona’s last thought.
“But a word of caution: no matter how large your physical church or Facebook campus grows, none of that matters if people aren’t discovering and following Jesus more than they’re following you.”
If you are a social media manager, I would strongly encourage you to read this book. I read it in a weekend and struggled to put it down. If you are responsible for managing the “new” online church this book is a total winner for you too. If you are looking to grow your engagement on Facebook this will change the way you are currently approach your online presence. Here is to your new community online!