Charles Edward Jefferson was born in Cambridge, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1882. He graduated from Boston School of Theology in 1887, and was called in September of that year to the Congregational Church in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He left there in 1898 to become the minister of the Broadway Tabernacle in New York, where he remained for thirty-one years, becoming pastor-emeritus on his retirement in 1930. He served just two churches in his lifetime.
Shy and retiring, he was renowned for his simple and straightforward preaching. Yet in this book he calls pastors to view their primary role not as preachers but as shepherds of the flock of God. He describes the work of the shepherd: to prod, provide for, and protect the sheep. He also writes of the pastor's two greatest temptations, and shows how they may best be avoided, and concludes the book by encouraging pastors to seek the reward promised to those who shepherd the flock with gentleness and faithfulness.