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I took my pastor to lunch recently, celebrating Pastor Appreciation Month. In the course of the conversation, I asked him how he felt the specific call of God to be a pastor, since he had previously been a Student Minister and a Church Starter. His answer was similar to mine – an early call to vocational ministry, made specific in time. I had taken a “Pastor Appreciation” survey on social media, assuming that pastors would want their church members to pray for them. I asked, "What should be the most important prayer request a pastor has for the people?” I got a variety of answers, all good, all correct, and all necessary, but I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. Among these answers, someone should have said a pastor needs people to pray that he keep his calling from God always fresh in his mind. A few years ago, I had a conversation with a man who was struggling in his position as a pastor. When I asked him about his call to ministry, he had no answer. He had entered the pastoral ministry because it seemed to him like a good thing to do. He was learning, as others before and after him, that the call is crucial. Ministry is difficult enough to manage with God’s call, impossible to do effectively without it! In his Pastors College, Charles Spurgeon once said, “We must feel that woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel; the word of God must be unto us as fire in our bones.” An older pastor advised me once to “try to do something else and if you are miserable, get back to your calling to be a pastor.” Being the son of a Pastor, plus having been pastor of two churches and Interim Pastor of more than twenty-five churches, not to mention spending more than two decades teaching want-a-be-pastors, I have the highest respect for those who feel called to the pastoral ministry. I believe Paul was absolutely right-on when he wrote to Timothy, “It is a true saying that if a man wants to be a Pastor, he has a good ambition” (1 Timothy 3:1, TLB). So, as you pray for your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month, pray that the call of God is never far from their mind.

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