Puritan pastor Richard Baxter gives pastors five keys to personal oversight and eight keys as to why personal oversight should be given in his classic text The Reformed Pastor:
The Nature of Oversight
- Take heed to see that the work of saving grace be thoroughly wrought in your own souls.
- Take heed to keep your graces active, and that you preach to yourself the sermons you study, before you preach them to others.
- Take heed so you don’t unsay with your life what you say with your mouth.
- Take heed so you don’t commit the sins you preach against.
- Take heed so you don’t lack biblical qualifications of an elder.
The Motives of Oversight
- Take heed to yourselves, for heaven is there to win or lose, and souls will be happy or miserable for eternity.
- Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature, and sinful inclinations just as others do.
- Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will supply more temptations than he does to others.
- Take heed to yourselves, because many eyes will fall upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls.
- Take heed to yourselves, because your sins are more severe than other men’s.
- Take heed to yourselves, because such a calling as ours require greater grace than other men’s.
- Take heed to yourselves, for the honor of your Lord and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, lies more on you than on other men.
- Take heed to yourselves, for the success of all your work depends on it.
– Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2001), pp. 53-86.