Each Brother belongs to a community with a unique charism. A charism is something like a particular style of living or way of responding to the Gospel. For some communities the charism will be more contemplative or monastic. In these communities, emphasis is placed on communal life and regular prayer, such as the lifestyle of a Benedictine or Trappist Monk. In other communities the charism is of an apostolic nature. Brothers in apostolic communities may live in smaller groups and work in schools, parishes, or other settings outside the community.
Brothers today participate in many kinds of ministry. In the U.S. it is not unusual for a Brother to have a graduate level education and to minister as a professional in some capacity. There are Brothers who teach, nurse, administer, and perform missionary work. Brothers may assist in a parish as an administrator or Director of Religious Education. Brothers work as counselors, spiritual directors, and in a variety of other ministries. In some cases the community itself may focus on a particular ministry, such as the Alexian Brothers do with nursing. In other communities Brothers may choose a ministry that reflects his interests and talents.