However, in addition to sermon preparation (which takes hours of writing, researching, editing, and practicing) most pastors are responsible for leading the staff, organizing events, ministering to those who are sick or hurting, and making a multitude of decisions each week about everything from children’s ministry to plumbing problems.

While your pastor’s Sunday morning sermon might be the most visible thing he does each week, it is probably the smallest portion of his actual responsibilities and an even smaller portion of his ministry.

In a very minimal way, serving at church can give us a glimpse into the the emotional energy and time ministry takes. And the pastor is usually serving in some capacity all day, everyday.

Last fall, I helped lead a marriage group. It was a great time of growth as a disciple and wife. However, I also learned tangibly that leading a ministry is more than just showing up once a week. In addition to teaching preparations, there was a real need for ministering to the wives inside our class. Prayer requests that break my heart came almost daily. Mentoring young wives means I take calls and messages even late at night.

1. If you are not currently using social media platforms, you are missing out on the wave of new evangelism

When my wife and I planted our church in Hollywood, we saw brand new visitors every week. When we asked them how they heard about our church, a majority of them would say, “through social media.” What?! You mean to tell me that all of those filters and selfies were bringing people to church? Absolutely!

2. You get what you pay for

Many times, we set aside budgets for outreach and evangelism, but we never include social media marketing, because it doesn’t seem like a wise investment. What if we began looking at social media through the lens of evangelism and outreach and actually budgeted for it in our churches? What happens is that you broaden your reach and have access to people that your church wouldn’t have access to otherwise. You want to display excellence, and there are several affordable companies that will do this type of marketing for you.

Why pay? Because there is nothing worse than a bad social media account. Especially if it belongs to a church. Social media tells the world who you are. If you have pixelated images, low-quality photos, and no consistency, people will associate that lack of excellence with your church. The greater the reach, the greater the harvest. If you can’t afford someone, I guarantee you there’s someone in the church who is a selfie pro!

3. Determine your audience

In order to market, you must know who you are marketing to. For example: If you are looking to reach an “older” crowd, you might want to refrain from using “slang” vocabulary that will not be understood.

Your audience helps contextualize the message to fit those you are trying to reach. You also need to know the median age for each social media platform because that differs. The average active user on Facebook is 41 years old, but 90 percent of Instagram’s audience is under 35 years old.

4. You must be consistent

You can’t afford to lack consistency with your posting. You must make it a priority to post daily and determine how many daily posts you’re going to put out there. At the same time, you don’t want to over post. Consistency creates a strong online presence.

5. Come up with a plan

If you’re running social media in-house, then come up with a plan. A plan that will outline your posting schedule according to peak times for social media users, and a plan that will help tell the story of your church. This will ensure that you’re not posting just to post, but to communicate that there’s intentionality behind every post.

6. Put a team together

Wait, you just told us in number 2 to pay a company to do it? That’s right, it’s always a good idea to pay a company to help get you started and maintain it if you’re limited on social media servants. But if you have the people who are knowledgeable in your church, then put a team together. It takes work, creativity, and time to maintain and keep up with all of the latest features, apps, and so forth, so a team is much needed. They will help alleviate the pressure from you having to do it all.

7. Make sure that you have a website and keep it updated

Social media is great to get instant stories and messages out, but you always want to point your social media accounts to your website. That’s where the “meat and potatoes” are. Your website will be able to say what social media can’t say, but social media will be the window to your website. Keep your website up to date, clean, appealing to the eye, and always include new content to keep people coming back.

Why and How to Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month

So celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month by recognizing the depth of his ministry.

He is doing God’s work in ways that consume his time, energy, and emotions.

How can we celebrate our pastors?

Check out free tools and tips as well as great products to help you celebrate Ministry Appreciation Month with DaySpring.

Prayer – take up the challenge to pray for your pastor specifically every day through the month.

Volunteer – While we’re all in different seasons of life, try to find a place in which you can serve. I don’t know any churches that don’t need more volunteers!

Thoughtful gifts may also be appreciated. Try to think of things that remind him of his purpose, remind him that his ministry matters to you.

Is he an avid reader?

I know I can’t have enough money for books. I bought three books on apologetics this week! And I’ve got a wish list a MILE long. There are so many great books by deep thinkers and amazing theologians. If you’re not sure which authors are his favorites, a gift card is a great way to support his reading habit.

You can also ask which books he likes to use for pastoral counseling and purchase a few for the church so they can give them away to those in need of assistance or stock a small church library.

Does he spend a lot of lunches at the church and would appreciate a mini-cooler? Would he appreciate a coffee mug? Would your worship pastor like fun guitar picks?

By the way, I love this husband-wife set for the pastor and his wife. What a cute way to remember that she serves too. While she may take more or less of an active role in the church depending on her gifts and season of wife/motherhood, she graciously gives of her husband’s time.

Remember the wives during Pastor Appreciation Month

Much like a soldiers’ wives,  pastors’ wives sacrifice so much family time, but they accept this as part of their family’s service to God. However, that doesn’t always make it easier emotionally. Plus she may often feel isolated because people put so many expectations on her that she struggles to make friends.

Finding time for hobbies is hard for most pastors because there is so much important work to do, but ministry takes a lot of energy. And recharging is crucial. You can’t refill others from an empty cup. If you know your pastor well enough, try to support his hobbies.

Our pastor spends what limited time he can playing golf, sometimes with people who wouldn’t normally come to church. He sees them where they are and loves them. It’s amazing how just living Christ’s light can draw people.

Gift cards towards his hobbies are a great way to encourage him to take the time to enjoy himself. Pastors can really struggle with spending money on non-essentials, especially since most of them do not make large salaries.