IN MY fellowship and association with my fellow ministers there have arisen discussions bordering on controversy—"What would you do if you were faced with this situation?" or, "You are lucky. You do not have this problem in your church." How about this one—"You should thank your lucky stars that you do not have a member like Mrs. X, or Brother Y in your church." Here is a popular expression that has reached my ears quite frequently: "We heard that Pastor O is coming. We wish that the conference would not send him to our district."
These expressions and many more like them have caused me to reassess the attitude, the conduct, and the duties of a minister. The minister is the spiritual leader of the flock who has been entrusted to his care. While working in Southern Asia I received from our president, O. O. Mattison, an anonymous article entitled: "My Ministerial Code of Ethics." Please permit me to share it with you.
My Ministerial Code of Ethics
I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, called of God to proclaim the unsearchable riches of His love. Therefore, I voluntarily adopt the following principles in order that through dedication and self-discipline I may set a more worthy example for those whom I seek to lead and serve.
1. My Personal Conduct
I will cultivate my devotional life, continuing steadfast in studying the Bible, in meditation and prayer.
I will endeavor to keep physically and emotionally fit for my work.
I will be fair to my family and will endeavor to give them the time and consideration to which they are entitled.
I will endeavor to live within my in come and will not carelessly leave unpaid debts behind me.
I will strive to grow in my work through comprehensive reading and careful study. I will be honest in my stewardship of money.
I will not plagiarize.
I will seek to be Christlike in my personal attitude and conduct toward all people regardless of race, color, or creed.
2. My Relationship to the Church I Serve
I will dedicate my time and energy to my Christian ministry and will maintain strict standards of discipline.
In my preaching I will exalt the Bible and will be true to my convictions, proclaiming the same with love.
I will maintain a Christian attitude to ward other members of the church staff and will not expect the unreasonable of them.
I will not seek gratuities.
In my pastoral calling I will have respect for any home I enter, for I am a representative of Christ and the church. In my administrative and pastoral duties I will be impartial, so no one can truth fully say that I am pastor of only one group in the church.
I will strive with evangelistic zeal to build up my church, but will maintain a Christian attitude at all times toward members of other religious bodies.
I will under no circumstances violate confidences that come to me as a minister.
I will strive to strengthen the congregation when leaving the pastorate, regardless of the circumstances.
3. My Relation to My Fellow Ministers
I will refuse to enter into unfair com petition with other ministers in order to secure a church or place of honor.
I will seek to serve my fellow ministers and their families in every way possible and in no instance will I accept fees for such services.
I will refrain from speaking disparagingly about the work of either my predecessor or successor.
I will refrain from frequent visits to former places of labor, and if in exceptional cases I am called for a funeral or a wedding, I will request the resident minister to be invited to participate in the service.
I will be courteous to any predecessor of mine when he returns to the field, and will also be thoughtful of a retired minister.
I will, upon my retirement from the active ministry, give my pastor loyal sup port.
I will not gossip about other ministers. I will hold in sincere respect any minister whose work is well done, regardless of the size or the nature of the field of service.
I will consider all ministers my colaborers in the work of Christ and even though I may differ from them I shall respect their Christian earnestness and sincerity.
4. My Relationship to My Community
I will strive to be humane in all my relationships to the community; but will never lower my ideals in order to appear a "good fellow."
I will be considerate of the working hours of business and professional men, and will not consume their time with unimportant matters.
I consider that my first duty to the community is to be a conscientious pastor and leader of my own congregation; but I will not use this fact as an easy excuse to escape reasonable responsibilities that the community calls upon me to assume.
5. My Relationship to My Denomination
I will at all times recognize that I am a part of a fellowship that has made large contributions to my church, my education, and my ministry. In view of this fact, I acknowledge a debt of loyalty to my denomination and will strive to fulfill my obligation by cooperation and tireless effort to extend the kingdom of God here on earth.