Pastoral Code of Ethics

The National Association of Evangelicals has recently released a Pastoral Code of Ethics (read it here). It produced a mixed reaction in my mind and heart. On one hand, you'd think the ethics depicted in the code would be universally understood. On the other hand (and more's the pity), they're not--thus the need for the written code. And, it's almost always better for standards to be written down, in black-and-white, so there's no misunderstanding. On the other hand, what can we realistically expect the code to accomplish (I've repeatedly witnessed people in ministry ignoring guidelines and procedures they themselves wrote, advocated, lobbied for, and swore by not long before, in order to get what they wanted)? On the other hand, I'm gratified to see self-care specified in the pastoral code of ethics. On the other hand, the code says to "Identify a minister/counselor who can provide personal counseling and advice when needed;" not good enough. Everyone in a helping profession, everyone in ministry especially, should be talking to a counselor regularly; if you're in ministry, it's ALREADY "needed." On the other hand, I've lost track of all those hands.

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