It’s been two months since my family arrived in central New York to begin a new season of ministry in a new church, new town, new climate, new denomination…you get the idea.

I’ve enjoyed these first several weeks of ministry in an older established church. The exciting life of a church planter is something I sometimes miss, but there is unique beauty to the vintage image of slow living and slow ministry.

While perusing my library about a month ago my eyes became fixed on a volume I bought as a college student, had wanted to read for a long time, but never had the guts to crack open the cover.


As you can see on the cover, my Presbyterian hero Tim Keller loves this work from the seventeenth century. The Puritans were known for their expertise in soul care, and Richard Baxter in particular may have had the best work ethic in living out his calling as a Pastor.

Baxter’s A Christian Directory is a beast to say the least. 950 pages of small type in double columns is enough to intimidate even a nerdy Presbyterian like me. But, I am drawn to this work. It is Baxter’s summary of ethics, shepherding, and counseling. Some see it as an ancient encyclopedia on how to be a Pastor in a local church.


My goal is to read and blog through ‘My Baxter’ of the next year. It is a consolation to know that it is meaty and immediately applicable to my vocation as a minister of the gospel. I can easily ignore all the weirdness of Baxter’s views on justification and simply enjoy the goodness of his take on being a physician of the soul.

Enjoy this next year with me and check back every week to see some quotes from Baxter.