Separate chapters treat each of the five areas that Nouwen considers the primary responsibilities of the minister: teaching, preaching, counseling, organizing, and celebrating. He shows how these main functions are inextricably tied to the minister's spiritual life and why they must be directed toward a creative dialogue with other Christians if they are to be rewarding. It is also essential, he maintains, that the minister leave himself open, take risks, and "lay down his life for his friends" in order to give new life.
"There is today a great hunger for a new spirituality," observes Nouwen, a hunger that requires new and creative forms of ministry. Citing numerous examples from his rich experience, the author offers practical advice for infusing daily pastoral work with meaning. The result is an insightful presentation and a resonant spiritual guide for every man and woman who wants to be of service. And isn't that the call of every Christian?