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Student Responses to Baxter

The students in my pastoral ministry course have now read and responded to Baxter’s, The Reformed Pastor. I thought it might be helpful to pass on some of their thoughts and evaluations. Perhaps their thoughts will encourage and challenge you, and even urge you to read (or re-read) this book carefully yourself.

“I was utterly amazed at the content of The Reformed Pastor. His thoughts of what it means to be a pastor are so very different than the common perception of the pastor today.”

“I think I can honestly say that before reading Baxter’s words concerning this charge ["oversight of the flock"], I did not understand what the call to be a minister truly meant.”

“Whenever I turned a page, it was as if I had found another treasure of straightforward guidance to build upon.”

“When reading, I felt like I was gaining tips from an older pastor friend whom I had known for years.”

“Baxter argues that the pastor must be rooted in the people’s lives and fluent with their pains, struggles, triumphs, and laughs. The true teaching of a pastor also comes from this personal contact and exemplifying a life transformed and regenerated by Christ and the cross.”

“As a side note, our failure to really engage and know people [has] produced a slew of pastors who are great at talking at somebody rather than talking to somebody.”

“It seemed rather foreign to Baxter for a pastor to “lead” a congregation and yet not know them.”

“Baxter’s picture of properly performed ministry has literally shaken and changed my core attitudes about ministry and my own calling. I had never been confronted with the implications of oversight in such a thorough way until I read this book.”

“This book has scared the pants off me. . . . I have been crushed by the incredible weight that comes with shepherding God’s people.”

“As I read his endless challenges and exhortations to be faithful to the Word of God and be personal in your ministry and to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ the focal point of your life, I felt my heart stiffened within me with the desire to honor God through radical obedience of His Scriptures in the pastoral ministry. I was reminded of what an honor it is to be given charge of a flock, and was awed that God would entrust mere sinful men like myself with such an important and demanding responsibility as the oversight of the souls of others. It awoke within me a new awareness of the need for Godly, obedient pastors, not seeking to promote themselves through the ministry of the pastorate, but only the Kingdom of God.”

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