Have you ever considered a personal code of ethics? Defining those commitments that you are committed to live by? None of us live perfectly but God continually calls us to a higher standard – one that reflects His holiness, righteousness and character. Since I am a ministry leader, my code of ethics reflect my calling. Having a defined code of ethics that we come back to regularly gives us road markers that keep us in the right lane and paid attention to, keeps us from losing our credibility, influence and even our ministries.
I WILL LIVE WITH TRUTHFULNESS AND HONESTY
When truthfulness and honesty are compromised, everything is compromised because every one of the ethical commitments that follow mean nothing if we are willing to be untruthful with others, with ourselves or with God. The lie was at the heart of the Adam and Eve and has been at the heart of sin ever since. For ministry leaders this includes not inflating ministry results, and always attributing sources when preaching and teaching. It is a life of transparent honesty in all areas.
I WILL TREAT ALL PEOPLE WITH DIGNITY AND HONOR
How we treat people: those we like and those we dislike, those like us and those unlike us, those who agree with us and those who don’t is an ethical issue. Jesus treated all people with dignity and honor with the exception of the hypocrites with whom he simply told the truth about their condition. For ministry leaders this is a major ethical commitment because our work is all about people – some who will like us and some not. The ethics of the world do not require us to treat all people with dignity and honor: the ethics of the Kingdom do.
I WILL LIVE WITH FINANCIAL INTEGRITY
This means that I will live within my means, I will model generosity toward God and others and I will be scrupulous in using ministry dollars and account for those ministry dollars used. When financial integrity starts to slip, that dishonesty has a ripple effect on other areas of life and an entitlement mentality takes the place of financial integrity. As a ministry leader I reject any entitlement mentality and live with gracious thanks for what God gives whatever that may me.
I WILL LIVE WITH MORAL INTEGRITY
Sexual purity goes to the heart of men and women made in the image of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. There is no room for ethical compromise here as it has devastating effects on our person, relationships and relationship with God. This means that I will be faithful to my spouse, will guard my relationships with the opposite sex, guard my thought life and intentionally avoid moral impurity of the heart, mind or actions.
I WILL BE A PEACEMAKER AND RECONCILER
Our world is filled with broken and unreconciled relationships. Jesus came to bring reconciliation between people and Himself and between brothers and sisters. The ethics of the Kingdom require that to the extent that it depends on us that we will live at peace with all men and be proactive in seeking that peace. This means that we will do all we can to keep short accounts, seek to understand others and live in peace rather than conflict with others.
I WILL ALWAYS LIVE WITH ACCOUNTABILITY TO OTHERS
All of our ethical commitments depend on honest and deep relationships with others where others have the ability to speak into our lives, challenge us, tell us truth when we need to hear it and help keep us faithful to our God and our calling. In the Kingdom we live in community not autonomously. Autonomy is at the root of ethical slippage.
I WILL NEVER HURT THE BRIDE
The church is the bride of Christ – His prized and beloved possession for which He gave His life. I will everything I can to build His church and never to hurt it. This means that even when I believe I have been mistreated by God’s people that I will do nothing that has the potential to hurt the congregation or congregations I serve.
I WILL CHOOSE A POSTURE OF HUMILITY RATHER THAN PRIDE
Humility is highly esteemed by God while pride is antithetical to life in His Kingdom. Humility means that I understand how God has gifted and wired me and wants to use me coupled with an understanding that in all other areas I need others. A life of humility is one where I submit to both God and others, work together rather than alone and value the contribution of others.
I WILL PUT GOD FIRST IN MY LIFE
All people have an ethical framework. My conviction is that the best ethics are the ethics of a holy and righteous God. Therefore I will seek to stay close to Christ and allow Him to transform my heart by grace, my thinking into His thinking so that His priorities become my priorities and my relationships reflect His relationship with me. I understand that my ethical understanding grows and becomes more complete as I become closer to the source of ethical conduct.