CNLP 351: Nona Jones on the Best and Worst Practices for Social Media, Why Online Ministry is About More Than Streaming Content and Where Social Media is Going in the Next Few Years

Facebook’s Nona Jones returns to the podcast to talk about the best and worst practices churches and organizations use on social media, why online ministry is about more than just streaming content, and what the church and social media will be like post-COVID.

Welcome to Episode 351 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey shares three reasons why you may want to reconsider whether you should close your building after reopening it.

Guest Links

Headshot of Nona Jones

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Episode Links

The Global Leadership Summit

2020 has been a year like never before, so this year’s Global Leadership Summit will be a Summit like never before, provided both in-person and as an enhanced digital experience. With the theme “You Have Influence,” 2020 GLS includes more than 15 world-class faculty including Craig Groeschel, Nona Jones, Nike director Beth Comstock, Sadie Robertson Huff, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Lysa TerKeurst.

We have never needed more encouragement, inspiration and skills to navigate our world, and these top-notch speakers will address how we can each lead through crisis. GLS 2020 will be telecast live in HD from Chicago to hundreds of host locations across the country or online on August 6-7.

Podcast listeners get $20 off the individual ticket rate now through August 6th when you use the code: CAREYPODCAST at

Lead to Win

Are you a leader who wants proven, practical advice to guide you through the complexities of leadership today? If so, you’ve got to listen to my friends, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller’s podcast, Lead to Win. It’s one of the best podcasts for getting practical leadership wisdom.

On it, Michael and Megan share from their experience of more than 40 years of professional experience leading teams and driving results. They’ve been where you are. And they have the insights and strategies to help you where you are today. One of my favorite things about their podcast is that it’s not just strategies to grow your business, though they have plenty of that. They’re about helping you prioritize The Double Win, where you win at work and succeed at life.

Search for Lead to Win wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe, and you’ll get weekly leadership lessons to help you build the Double Win!


From Social Media to Social Ministry by Nona Jones

Should You Close Your Church After Reopening? Rethinking Your Church Growth Strategy by Carey Nieuwhof


1. It’s time to re-evaluate what your building is for

Recent studies have found that it’s possible for people to deepen their faith outside a church building. With the impact of COVID, it’s time we ask, “What can people only get when they’re gathered inside a building?”

When we begin to think this way and ask this question, we rethink the traditional American model for church. Maybe you need to make your service more engaging. Maybe you need to change the goal of a Sunday morning. Give yourself permission to dream and make change right now.

2. Don’t use other churches as a benchmark

Not only is Nona an author and Head of Faith-Based Partnerships at Facebook, but she also pastors a church with her husband. Sometimes, when she talks about streaming technology, her husband asks how their church’s live stream numbers compare to other churches.

If you’re a lead pastor, that is probably the first question you would ask, as well. But Nona says it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Instead, determine the impact you want to make and what is excellence for your ministry.

3. Use TikTok For The Personal, Fun Side of Ministry and Life

Social media has opened tons of doors for doing ministry throughout the week. Facebook is great for creating groups and helping your members stay connected Monday through Saturday. Instagram is great for tracking with your congregation personally. But what about TikTok? Can it be used for ministry, too?

Isn’t TikTok just for dancing? Nona suggests using it as a tool to bring entertainment and fun. Now more than ever, people desire to see you as a real person before they’re willing to listen to your advice.

Quotes from Episode 351

For so long we've thought of church as a program. We've thought of it as a place, we've thought of it as a date, time, and location. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

People have discovered that they can deepen their faith without being in a building. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

For pastors who are so focused on the building, you really have to think, 'What can people get at this building that they cannot get digitally?' - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

It's not the gathering that transforms, it's the power of God. And God is not inhibited by an address. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

There's a nagging sense among many church leaders that unless the building is open, the church isn't. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

On the plus side, people have definitely seen this as an opportunity to become more savvy about digital ministry. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

On the minus side, people have still not yet understood that ministry can and should happen outside of the four walls of the church. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

As a pastor, a lot of times we get very focused on being students of the Bible, students of other preachers, students of theology, and we overlook the need to become students of people. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

An audience is passive, so it's important to have live streaming as part of your continuum of ministry, but don't let that be the big end. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

If you only live stream, you're not discipling people. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

If your mission is to fill buildings, then keep going with your strategy. But if your mission is to reach people, it might be time to rethink things. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

It doesn't take a leader to stop doing what's failed. But great leaders will find the courage to stop doing what's merely good to embrace what could be great. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 351

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.


Yes, there’s a ton of change happening right now. And it’s exhausting.

As complex as things are, having a simple framework to navigate the change will make the task ahead much easier.

If you want to position yourself for the future, my brand new online training, the 30-Day Pivot, will show you how to develop your agility as a leader and as an organization to position yourself for growth.

The 30-Day Pivot is a simple 3-step process you and your team can utilize every as often as every 30 days to respond to the change around you and capitalize on it.

In the 30-Day Pivot, you’ll learn:
  • A simple 3-step process your team can use to arrive at your next pivot in 90 minutes or less.
  • An approach that fosters team-generated innovation.
  • An implementation and evaluation framework that will help your team move quickly and accurately.
I’ve led teams through multiple pivots, and in the 30 Day Pivot, I show you the strategy and framework you need to make quick, accurate and responsive moves that can position your organization for growth, even in the midst of deep uncertainty and change.

Some organizations and churches will thrive in the new normal.

Others won’t.

While the future is uncertain, yours doesn’t have to be.

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Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Levi and Jennie Lusko Plus Albert Tate and Nicole Martin

Levi and Jennie Lusko can tell you firsthand about the backlash they received when they decided to take a stand for racial reconciliation. Levi talks about the moment he realized the stage he preaches from was used for a KKK rally in the early 20th Century. Then, Albert Tate and Nicole Martin join the conversation for an open, honest discussion about how race is still a factor in their lives and ministry, and what white leaders can do about it.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 352.

CNLP 351: Nona Jones on the Best and Worst Practices for Social Media, Why Online Ministry is About More Than Streaming Content and Where Social Media is Going in the Next Few Years


  1. Jeremy Cole on July 10, 2020 at 10:43 am

    I about cried when I listened to this podcast.

    Carey and Nona said exactly what I have been saying to my team since November of last year, even before the Covid. To hear some well respected thought leaders with the same ideas made my heart almost stop. We are a small church with big dreams. So encouraging for me and my team. Thank you!

    Our vision for our church in 2020 which I posted on Jan 8th was:

    1. Focus on doing really well the things the internet cannot provide
    a. Face to Face Community
    b. Create more had to be there experiences
    c. Facilitate more God feeling moments that are well explained

    2. We are going to GO to our community both physically and digitally

    Some ideas we have done:
    a. Reduced preaching time to 20 minutes or less and use the rest of the time to break into groups and discuss
    b. Brought the band off the stage into the middle of the room
    c. Did church on a boat instead of in the building (125 people)
    d. Did a BBQ for the community instead of a Sunday service – sent a link to an online service we pre-recorded
    e. In the service had 3 topics you could choose from to learn with teachers instead of one sermon

    After Covid we plan to do what Carey said. Pre-record a service that people can watch at home and make our Sunday services a had to be there experience. Something more interactive instead of sit and watch.

    If any of you are dreaming like this please get in touch with me. I want to work with you to make the future of church.

  2. Richard H on July 7, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    “It’s time to re-evaluate what your building is for”

    We know what our building (aka “The Albatross”) is for in these pandemic times – “to suck out the money!” Beyond having to keep paying utilities and regular upkeep on a building we can barely use, we have several of our AC units going out & in need of replacement. Then, being a somewhat aquatic bird, The Albatross manifested multiple leaks in today 7+ inches of rain.

    (Still trying to stay sane here)

    • Carey Nieuwhof on July 7, 2020 at 8:02 pm

      Stay sane Richard!!

  3. Email Friend on July 7, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Please make your email readable through a mobile device. Other emails come up at a side where I can read it outright.

    Yours has to be zoomed in on. Might sound simple, but it keeps me from reading your info.

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