The Ministry we Need
A modern English version of one of the most important volumes ever written about the pastor’s work, The Reformed Pastor by Puritan Richard Baxter. This also includes a biography of Richard Baxter, who lived from 1615-1691.
Long considered a foremost example of a faithful pastor, Baxter served his church in Kidderminster from 1640 to 1660. When he moved to this village, hardly a family could be found who bothered to even have a Bible in the house. When Baxter had concluded his labors here, nearly every family were converted and almost every father was teaching and instructing from the Bible at home, in family worship.
Soon Kidderminster was a town of which people said, “On the Lord’s days there was no disorder seen in the streets. But you might hear a hundred families singing psalms and repeating sermons as you passed through.”
The memorial to Richard Baxter, outside the church where he labored for 14 years reads as follows:
“Between the years 1640 and 1660 this town was the scene of the labors of Richard Baxter, renowned equally for his Christian learning and his pastoral fidelity. In a stormy and divided age he advocated unity and comprehension, pointing the way to ‘The Everlasting Rest’.
Table of Contents
Extract from the Introductory Essay by Dr. J. I. Packer
Extract from the Preface by William Brown
Dedication by Richard Baxter
Part 1: The Oversight of Ourselves
- The Nature of this Oversight
- Motives for Watching Over Ourselves
Part 2: The Oversight of the Flock
- The Nature of this Oversight
- The Manner of this Oversight
- Motives for Caring for the Flock
Part 3: The Oversight in Practice
- The Need for Humiliation
- Motives for the Work
- Answers to Objections
- The Management of Personal Work
About Richard Baxter
Richard Baxter (1615-1691) is chiefly remembered for the transformation his pastoral ministry effected on the town of Kidderminster, Worcestershire, during two periods of pastoral ministry there (interrupted by the English Civil War, in which he served as chaplain to the Parliamentary forces) between 1641 and 1661.
Born in Rowton, Shropshire, Baxter attended Wroxeter Grammar School but most of his study was done through his own private reading. He was ordained by John Thornborough, Bishop of Worcester, in 1638, and after a short time as a school-master in Dudley, became an assistant minister in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, before moving to Kidderminster in 1641. After leaving there in 1661, he preached in London, but was ejected from the Church of England the following year.
When almost fifty, Baxter married Margaret Charlton, one of his converts, who was in her early twenties. In spite of the difference in ages, they had an excellent marriage. Margaret shared her husband’s passion for Christ and the salvation of souls. Baxter suffered much ill-health, and the last twenty-nine years of his life were further ’embittered by repeated prosecutions, fines, imprisonment, and harassing controversies’ (Ryle), but there was some respite with the accession of William and Mary in 1689, just two years before his death.