Yet, according to Willimon, a "cloud of witnesses" surrounds those in ordained ministry, forebears from whom they could learn if they had the opportunity to listen. The challenges and joys of ministry are not new; they have been present since the first Christian congregations began. From the age of the church fathers and mothers, into the Middle Ages, through the Reformation, and down to the present, faithful leaders of the Christian Church have contemplated, debated, laughed, and prayed about the life of ordained leadership.
In this new volume Willimon brings together the best voices from 20 centuries of Christian pastors and leaders, introducing what they have to say on the tasks and roles of ministry. Brief, accessible excerpts from the most important writings on ordained ministry encourage today's pastors. Each introduction places the excerpt in the context of its own time and place, then discusses its particular relevance for the practice of ministry today. This volume will serve as a guide to all who seek the wisdom of those who have followed the call to ordained ministry before them.