The members of the Federation of Christian Ministries treat each person whom they encounter with reverence and respect. People trust that pastoral ministers respect the dignity of all, and believe these ministers are motivated by the love of God. The unethical actions of some ministers are a betrayal of this trust and have caused great damage. People demand that the conduct of those in ministry reflect the highest ethical standards.

Therefore, with that expectation, as of July 2017, the Circle of Directors of the Federation of Christian Ministries is promulgating the following standards of ethical conduct for its members. Compliance with these standards presupposes that members are committed to accepted behavior and ethical principles rooted in the Scriptures. At the heart of these principles and standards is Jesus, the model of God’s provident care.

Members of the Federation of Christian Ministries are committed to promoting the dignity of all persons by:

  • treating with reverence and respect each person to whom they provide pastoral care;
  • avoiding any behavior that could be interpreted as harassment or discrimination of any type;
  • communicating verbally and non-verbally in ways that respect the dignity of the human person.

Members shall exercise ministry in an inclusive fashion by:

  • promoting the equality of women and men;
  • reaching out to the marginal people, especially to those who feel alienated from the Church;
  • being sensitive to the diverse forms of spirituality and worship;
  • promoting the principles of interdependence and subsidiarity.

Members shall encourage each person to live the life to which God calls that individual by:

  • using inclusive language that indicates sensitivity and respect for all ministries;
  • respecting the different charisms, spiritualities, qualifications, and of others who work to proclaim the Good News of God’s intended world of love and justice;
  • recognizing and avoiding the detrimental effects of clericalism;
  • avoiding the fostering of dependency and submissiveness among those they serve.

Members shall respect the physical and emotional boundaries appropriate to pastoral relationships by:

  • being aware of their legal responsibilities under federal, state, or local law;
  • exercising discretion when providing pastoral ministry to an individual, especially a minor;
  • avoiding over-familiarity, inappropriate language, and inappropriate physical contact;
  • avoiding the provision of pastoral ministry in locations where there is an appearance of impropriety;
  • exercising prudence in giving and receiving gifts and avoiding conflict of interest.

Members shall work for personal and systemic justice for all people, particularly the vulnerable, the poor, and the oppressed by:

  • setting an example of the faithful steward in the workplace and cultivating a society marked by justice;
  • encouraging people to address the social and ethical issues of the day;
  • fulfilling their civic responsibilities, including all just financial obligations.

Members of the Federation of Christian Ministries shall have a duty to develop and maintain competence in pastoral ministry, and to act within the limits of their qualifications and ability, by:

  • giving advice only on matters about which they are competent, and providing formal counseling only with appropriate credentials;
  • maintaining confidentiality with respect to issues arising from pastoral ministry;
  • terminating a pastoral relationship when it is reasonably clear that the person(s) seeking service is(are) not benefiting from the relationship;
  • maintaining appropriate records of their pastoral ministry;
  • representing themselves as acting for the Federation of Christian Ministries and not for any other organization;
  • obtaining and keeping current their professional liability insurance as necessary.

Members are committed to maintaining their spiritual, physical, and emotional health, recognizing that they are precious gifts entrusted to them by a loving God through:

  • seeking spiritual nourishment regularly in prayer and reflection;
  • being committed to a spiritual growth program suited to their individual needs;
  • monitoring their lifestyles to maintain physical and emotional health.
  • striving towards a healthy balance between responsibilities to ministry, family and friends, and self.

July 2017 revision of the original June 1999 Code of Ethics.