Evangelical Pastors Urged to Uphold NAE 'Code of Ethics for Pastors'
By Grace Oshiro - Crossmap On June 15, 2012
The National Association of Evangelicals on Wednesday released a "Code of Ethics for Pastors" document, which urges clergymen to pursue trustworthiness, integrity, purity, fairness, and accountability.
While many evangelical leaders believe that ethical expectations are implied in doctrinal statements and commitments, the corruption within the churches is a sign that church leaders need to set up even higher standards, if they intend to lead their congregations to holy life.
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The NAE's effort of asking Christian leaders across denominations to sign and uphold its outlined principles in their lives as ministers comes as a response to such urgent needs.
Pastors that have already signed the document include Charles Blake, West Angeles Church of God in Christ; Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church; Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church; Max Lucado, Oak Hills Church; John Ortberg, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; Samuel Rodriguez, New Season Christian Worship Center; and Bryant Wright, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.
"This is to remind people who they are in ministry and how important their personal integrity, their personal conduct and lifestyle really are for what they are trying to accomplish," Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla., told The Christian Post.
The code reemphasizes the importance for those who hold ministry leadership positions to live above reproach, said Hunter.
"Personal conduct is as important as any theological knowledge – the medium is the message," he said.
"With a lot of people coming into the ministry these days without a lot of training or a lot of growing up in the church, many ministers may not be aware or may have forgotten what the expectations are of someone in ministry. It's a great teaching device as well as a reminder."
The code encourages pastors to
1. Pursue integrity in personal character, personal care, and preaching and teaching
2. Be trustworthy in leadership, with information, and with resources
3. Seek purity in maintaining sexual purity, in spiritual formation, in theology, and in professional practice
4. Embrace accountability in finances, in ministry responsibilities, and in a denomination or a ministry organization
5. Facilitate fairness with staff, with parishioners, with the community, and with a prior congregation
Hunter further warned, "We don't want to be legalistic. We are not into a bunch of rules," but rather, "What we wanted to do is give people a way to commit their life to holiness and excellence looking to Scripture as their standard."
"When you understand that a public commitment many times is not only a good thing as far as making your congregation feel like you are being your very best for them, but it is also a way of outwardly reminding yourself that you aspire to the best ministry possible in order to represent the Kingdom in the best possible way. I think it has a personal motivational power that is beneficial," said Hunter, who believes the positive effects of the Code of Ethics for Pastors.
"It tends to hold us to a higher standard instead of if we just have this kind of vague idea that 'Hey, I just want to be a good minister.'"
"Leith Anderson, president of the NAE, deserves the credit for this code of ethics because he saw the need for it and organized a blue ribbon committee to produce a document to serve the evangelical world, not just one or two denominations," commented David Neff interviewed Whitlock, Christianity Today editor in chief.
"Evangelical organizations have no such written guide. The NAE has a widely accepted statement of faith and has produced statements regarding other issues like sexuality and the environment. This ethics statement was overdue," he said in an interview.
The "Code of Ethics for Pastors" is available at NAECodeofEthics.com in both English and Spanish. The NAE plans to commission a similar document on ethics for churches