As leaders in the Church, we who minister within our churches and institutions must always
seek to uphold Christian values and conduct. In addition to following the Gospel and its mandates, we will want to act properly
at all times in the light of contemporary society and its needs.
This Code of Ethics does not presume to provide the answers to all the ethical questions
facing Church leaders. What it does establish is a set of general ethical standards for our lives and ministry. These standards
will help to delineate boundaries by which ethical questions can be evaluated.
This Code will also aid in the training and education of new Church leaders. Lastly, it
will demand accountability from Church leaders who may fail to live within the ethical standards of the Code As mandated by
This Code addresses issues of Church life. It is an outline for Holy living according to
scripture. Responsibility for adherence to this Code of Ethical Standards rests with the Church leaders themselves. It is
anticipated; however, that disregard of this Code by Church leaders will be dealt with by the appropriate employing/appointing
organization’s representative (e.g. the Bishop/Pastor). Remedial actions may take various forms from counseling to removal
from ministry as mandated by scripture.
The conduct of Church leaders, both public and private, has the potential to inspire and
motivate people, or scandalize and tear down their faith. We leaders must be aware of the responsibilities that accompany
our work, and conduct ourselves accordingly at all times.
II. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Five key principles underlie the ethical stance of the Code. The ethical Church leader is
one who embraces the principles of commitment, integrity, and respect for others, their well being and competence.
Church leaders embrace the teaching of Jesus and work to promote the Gospel. We shall have
an intimate knowledge of the scriptures and be able to relate them to day-to-day situations encountered in the Church. WE
will be apt and able to teach sound biblical teachings.
Church leaders are expected to be persons of integrity and must conduct themselves in an
honest and open manner, free from deception or corruption. We shall handle the responsibilities of our office in a conscientious
fashion. Leaders in a Church that sets a high moral standard for its members have a responsibility to lead by example.
Church leaders shall respect the rights, dignity and worth of each member of the Church
community. Church leaders will respect each individual as a creation of God without regard to their economic status, race,
gender, or age.
4. Well Being
A. Church leaders are expected to attend to their own human, spiritual, intellectual, and
B. Church leaders have a duty to be attuned to their physical, mental, and emotional health.
They should be aware of warning signs in their behavior and moods that can indicate conditions that can be detrimental to
their health. Use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs or misuses of prescription drugs are examples and will not be tolerated among
leaders. Church leaders should immediately seek help when we identify warning signs in our professional or personal lives.
C. Church leaders should be supportive of one another, in terms of both affirmation and
holding one another accountable for their physical and emotional, and spiritual well being.
D. Church leaders should determine healthy limits in their work environment and live within
these limits as much as possible. We should make use of allotted time for vacation and days away from the work environment.
It is also mandated that family must be considered paramount in importance.
E. Church leaders have a duty to stay attuned to their own spiritual health. Church leaders
must maintain and nurture an ongoing prayer life. Church leaders need to address their own spiritual needs in order to remain
focused in the faith, of our Lord Jesus Christ.
F. Church leaders have a responsibility to attend to their ongoing intellectual envelopment.
Church leaders should participate annually in seminars and workshops in areas that are relevant to their current ministry.
Church leaders should stay current through reading religious sources. Church leaders should participate in a regular process
of evaluation of their effectiveness in ministry. This will include a ministry assessment yearly.
Church leaders shall maintain high levels of professional competence in their particular
ministry. Training, education, and experience all contribute to make them competent and credible in their areas of expertise.
Church leaders shall not attempt to provide services in those areas in which they lack competence; competence also means knowing
III. ETHICAL STANDARDS IN PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Church leaders must exercise just treatment of employees and volunteers in the day-to –day
administrative operations of their ministries.
1.1 Church leaders shall seek to relate to all people with respect, sensitivity, and reverence.
Meetings are to be conducted with patience and courtesy toward the views of others, in an environment where it is safe.
1.2 Church leaders shall seek to empower others, supporting each person to live the life
to which God calls them. This by instruction, examples, life lessons, seminars, workshops, and conversation.
1.3 Church leaders will exercise responsible stewardship of all Church resources. They must
also ensure that whatever their area of ministry, there is a clear accounting of all Church funds.
1.4 Church leaders will ensure that systems are in place to protect both the Church and
the individual from financial mismanagement. Independent audits of financial operations are to be conducted on a regular basis.
As directed by the State Bishop.
1.5 Personnel and other administrative decisions made by Church leaders should not only
meet biblical standards but approved laws as well.
2. Conduct In Counseling
Church leaders, who conduct counseling for families, individuals, or groups, must respect
their rights and advance the welfare of each person.
2.1 Church leaders should not step beyond their competence in counseling situations. Their
training or certification dictates the parameters for Church leaders. This must come from a recognized professional association
of peers, or licensure from the state of residence.
2.2 If conducting group sessions, Church leaders must insure that no individual is subject
to trauma or abuse resulting from group interactions. The Church leader must state to group participants the nature of the
group, and the parameters of confidentiality of all individual disclosures.
2.3 Church leaders will not disclose information learned from counseling sessions. In beginning
what is clearly a counseling relationship, the Church leader should inform the counselee that confidentiality is limited when
there is clear and imminent danger to the client or to others. In such cases, the Church leader must contact the necessary
authorities or other professionals.
2.4 In cases where the counselee is already in a counseling relationship with another professional.
The Church leaders should make clear what they can provide to the counselee. Generally, this should be confined to only spiritual
2.5 Church leaders will not engage in sexual intimacies with those whom they counsel, of
any sort physical or psychological.
2.6 Physical contact with the counselee can be misconstrued and should generally be avoided.
2.7 It should always be clear to both the Church leader and the counselee that a counseling
relationship is in process. This can best be done when the counseling, especially if extended, is conducted in an appropriate
setting and at appropriate times. Counseling should thus not be done in private living quarters or at places or times that
would be ambiguous or misleading to the counselee. A witness will always be present. There will never be home counseling or
counseling without a witness.
2.8 Church leaders should be cognizant at all times of the significance of boundaries in
all counseling relationships. During the course of the counseling relationship, Church leaders ordinarily do not socialize
2.9 Church leaders who conduct counseling should hold themselves accountable in that activity.
This may be accomplished by engaging in professional peer consultation and/or supervision as appropriate. They should keep
a calendar of times and places of contacts, especially in the case of more frequent meetings with the same person. A file
will be kept to send in to the State Bishops’ Office.
2.10 Witnesses must be clergy, no exceptions. A male must have a female witness and a female
must have a male witness. Two witnesses must be in each counseling session and in the same room.
3. Conduct with Minors
Church Leaders working with minors should use appropriate judgment to insure trusting relationships
marked by personal and professional integrity.
3.1 Church leaders must be aware of their own vulnerability and that of any individual minor
with whom they may be working. In every instance possible, a team approach to youth ministry activities should be considered.
Church leaders should avoid establishing any exclusive relationship with a minor and exercise due caution when they become
aware of a minor desiring such a relationship. Both the participants and members of the Church community can misunderstand
such relationships. A parent will always be present when counseling a child or teenage person. This is an ethical code that
will never be open for debate.
3.2 Physical contact with minors can be misconstrued by both minors and other adults, and
should never occur.
3.3 Church leaders do not use or supply alcohol, tobacco and/or illegal drugs to minors
at any time. This code will never be open for debate. We will not issue any sort of drugs, legally prescribed or not, to minors.
3.4 Church leaders do not provide any sexually explicit, inappropriate, or offensive material
to minors. Sex will not be discussed even if a parent is present. This boundary is not open for debate.
4. Sexual Conduct
Church leaders will not exploit the trust of the Church community for sexual gain or intimacy.
4.1 Church leaders should never exploit another person for sexual purposes.
4.2 It is the personal and professional obligation of the Church leader to be knowledgeable
about what constitutes sexual exploitation of another and to be familiar with the laws of the state of residence regarding
sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and sexual assault.
4.3 Those who have made a marital commitment are called to witness to this fidelity in all
4.4 Any allegations of sexual misconduct will be taken seriously and reported to the State
5. Professional Behavior
Church leaders will not engage in physical, psychological, or verbal harassment of employees,
volunteers, or Church members and will not tolerate such harassment by other Church employees or volunteers.
5.1 Church leaders are committed to providing a professional work environment for their
Church members, which is totally free from such harassment. This commitment continues the Church policy of Fair and equal
treatment to every person regardless of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status,
arrest or conviction record, veteran, handicap status, or any other status protected by law.
Church leaders should provide a Church environment that is free from intimidation and harassment
based on any of these factors.
5.2 Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical or verbal behavior, which can include,
but is not limited to, the following:
• Physical or mental abuse;
• Racial insults;
• Derogatory ethnic slurs;
• Unwelcome sexual advances or touching;
• Sexual comments or sexual jokes;
• Requests for sexual favors used as a condition or membership
• Display of offensive materials
5.3 Harassment can occur as a result of a single severe incident or a pattern of conduct,
which results in the creation of a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment.
5.4 Church leaders are to follow the established procedure for reporting or harassment,
and are to ensure that no retaliation for bringing forward a claim of harassment will be tolerated.
5.5 Church leaders are to insure that there is a clear policy on reporting harassment for
both employees and Church members.
Information disclosed to a Church leader during the course of counseling, advising, spiritual
direction, and any other professional contact will be held in strictest confidence.
6.1 Church members who come to the Church leader should feel that they are entering a relationship
marked by respect, trust, and confidentiality.