My Personal Code of Ethics

eHaving the opportunity to take a Professional Christian Ethics course from Andrews University Theological Seminary in the Spring of 2017, I was challenged with the task of writing my own personal code of ethics. Below is my prayerful attempt at defining my ethical responsibility as a servant of God, husband and pastor. [1]


 

Responsibilities to God

  1. I will seek to develop a close walk with Jesus in my daily life (Col 2:6-7) through
    1. a commitment to daily, early morning devotional time that is spent reading my Bible for personal development (Josh 1:8),
    2. keeping a daily journal of scripture passages I read, different thoughts I may encounter, and significant events that occur in my life (Deut 6:12),
    3. passionate, committed prayer that begins with my first breath in the morning, is strongly nurtured during my morning devotional, and runs the entire day as a dialogue with my Friend and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:17).
  2. I will remain faithful to my calling in ministry never seeking to accomplish a task for personal gain or prestige (Eph 4:1, Matt 16:26).
  3. I will always recognize that any leadership position I hold is subservient and in submission to Jesus Christ, who is the head and ruler over all (Col 2:10).
  4. I will faithfully return the full tithe of the income God has blessed me with and also give offering to further God’s work in His church (2 Cor 9:6-8; Mal 3:10).


Responsibilities to My Family

  1. I will understand my responsibilities as leader (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:22-24), lover (Eph 5:25-33; SoS 3:4; 8:6) and laborer (John 13; Phil 2:5-8) toward my wife, Melissa, and seek to execute them to the best of my ability under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  2. I resolve to keep my marriage pure by not allowing any sexual or emotional gratification to be found in anyone or anything but in my wife Melissa by establishing and maintaining boundaries of defense with my eyes, in my mind, and in my heart so that I make every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5).[2]
  3. I will understand the unique role of my wife, Melissa, recognizing that her primary responsibility is to be a servant of God, martial partner, and parent to our future children (2 Peter 3:1-9), and secondarily to be a church worker and my support as a pastor.[3]

 

Responsibilities to Self

  1. I will maintain and better my physical and emotional health through regular exercise, proper sleep, healthful eating habits and proper care of my body because my body is a temple of God (1 Cor 6:19).[4]
  2. I will challenge myself to grow intellectually through personal and professional study (Eph 1:17) of (1) the Bible, (2) denominationally published works, & (3) other-denominationally and pertinent secularly published works.
  3. I will manage my time well by committing my plans to the Lord (Ps 37:23; Prov 16:3) and properly balancing my personal time with God, responsibility to my family, my personal obligations, my pastoral and church duties, by taking regular time off once per week, and observing at least one non-business related vacation per year (Ps 37:3; Luke 16:10).

Responsibilities to the Congregation

  1. I will seek to be a servant-minister of the Church by following and modeling the example of Christ in faith, love, wisdom, courage, and integrity (1 Cor 11:1).[5]
  2. I will faithfully and unashamedly preach the word of God giving much effort and preparation in prayer and study so that I might present the convictions God has placed upon my heart in a biblically based, theologically balanced, and clearly communicated manner (2 Tim 4:1-4).
  3. I will hold the highest ethical standard of pastoral ministry by leading people without manipulation, never break strict confidentiality (whereby it is required by law), and by never placing myself in a position of complete control or disclosure of the financial resources of the church or persons (2 Cor 8:21; Prov 4:25-27).

     To the churched

  1. I will seek to empower to the members of the church to be effective communicators of the gospel, hospitable and compassionate welcomers of the unchurched, and diligent ministers to those around them by deeply investing in church members through evangelistic training, ride-a-long visitation, and ministry-oriented preaching (Acts 1:8; Num 11:16-23).

           To the unchurched

  1. I will mingle among those in my community who have not been churched, demonstrating that I am a friend who desires their good by showing sympathy and ministering to their needs. After winning their confidence, I will call them to follow Christ (MH 143).

Responsibilities to Fellow Ministers

  1. I will recognize the calling of other ministers and not view our relationships as competitive but as colleagues or teammates on the same team (1 Cor 3:9).
  2. I will seek to learn from colleagues as well as be willing to teach when necessary and appropriate (Prov 27:17).
  3. I will hold my ministerial colleagues to a high ethical standard of pastoral practice and seek to enter relationships of accountability. I will contact the appropriate entities if serious misconduct has occurred (Gal 6:1-5).

Responsibilities to the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church

  1. I will remain faithful to the spirit, the mission, and theological understanding of the SDA Church as long as they are congruent with my own convictions and understandings as revealed to me by God through prayer, Scripture, and the church (1 Peter 2:17).

I will recognize the leadership organization God has established in the conference, union, division and general conference levels and seek to submit myself to the established authority as long as it does not act against biblical authority (Rom 13:1-7; Heb 13:17).

 

Over time, as I encounter different circumstances and more life experience, I am sure I will modify these words to better encapsulate the calling God has placed upon my life. If you have not yet taken the time to consider your own personal code of ethics, I challenge you write your own. You will find blessings in the articulation of what you know is right from Scripture.

 

mg

 


[1] Adapted from Ministerial Ethics, Appendix E, (Trull & Carter) & Christian Professional Ethics Class

[2] Adapted from Every Man’s Battle, Arteburn & Stoeker 104-105

[3] Adapted from Ministerial Ethics, Appendix E, Trull & Carter 260

[4] Ibid., 259

[5] Ibid., 260

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The “Creation” of Church Growth

In the Garden of Eden, at the very beginning of hImage result for church growthuman life, God gave a simple instruction to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). With this simple command, I believe God gave the most powerful theological and rational basis for evangelism and church growth. The prescriptive and normative interpretation of the command to procreate aside, God challenges humanity with the incredible task and blessing of passing on faith and relationship with God to subsequent generations.

Being fruitful is the act of an individual. In John 15, Jesus says that it is the glory of the Father that we bear much fruit. Paul lists nine fruit to born in the life of Christians in Galatians 5:22-23. As individuals, we are walking with Christ, allowing our hearts to be changed, bearing fruit that is evident to the world around us. Bearing fruit is the call to all people to exemplify Christ in the minute of human life.  Christ-followers are on display to the world so much so that the fruit born by a Christian can win souls to Christ or stray them farther away.

Multiplying requires two people and is not simply adding people to the holding tank of church. Multiplying in the Christian walk means leading someone to Christ and discipling and equipping them to the extent that they themselves can lead someone else to Christ and pass on the equipping they received. Acts 2:41, 2:47, 5:14 and 11:24 all speak of dynamic addition to the church because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostles. God’s church is meant to grow! Like nuclear mitosis, multiplying Christians produce an exponential amount of fully-functioning, balanced, discipling, mission-drive, soul-seeking Christians that carry out the process even further.

Filling the earth is the act of the community. Left alone, a single firefighter cannot quench a roaring wildfire. Yet, with help from his or her firefighter pals, the fire can be subdued fairly quickly. As we come together in communities, churches, and institutions, resources are made available and the gospel work is allowed to exponentially grow throughout the whole world because we are united together in mission work. This filling of the earth erupts into subduing the whole earth, not in a coercive manner but in a way that brings everyone into the multiplication of disciples that produce kingdom people.

Church growth and evangelism require all three components to pay dividends in the kingdom. For a church to grow, you need sold-out Christians who are bearing the gospel fruit. For a church to grow, you need multiplying Christians who are ready to disciple and train others to multiply results. For a church to grow, you need a community that is willing to come together, accepting new sheep into the fold and providing resources for those bringing in new sheep.

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From Visitor to Resident in God’s Kingdom

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Ephesians 1:5, NASB

Such a beautiful text. Paul speaks of the children of God being adopted as sons. The word Paul uses for adoption is one with deep meaning and paints a wonderful picture of the love of God. The Greek word for adoption is huiothesia. From two roots, huios, meaning son, and tithemi, meaning to set or place, huiothesia can be literally translated as “son-placing.”

υἱοθεσία

During the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, the known world was heavily influenced by Rome. In Roman culture, children had no rights and no possessions. They could be considered as visitors in their father’s household. During a childs teenage years there would be a public ceremony declaring a child to be an official member of the family. At this time the child would be acknowledged as a full member of the family. After his huiothesia, or “son placing”, he had full privileges and responsibilities. He would be sure of any inheritance the father had planned for him.

Now, this was not a change in relationship. Since the moment a child was born, the father could still have a deep, loving relationship with his child. Rather, huiothesia was a change in position. The child was elevated in status, having been given rights, privileges and possessions, transforming the child from visitor into son or daughter of the father. There was a difference between being a child and being a son or daughter because of that change in position.

The Choice

In the Christian life, we have the choice between two fathers, two masters.

John 8:34 says that we are slaves to sin. In verses 42-44, Jesus says that those who do not obey God are of their father the devil. Under the devil, we are slaves to sin, sentenced to death forever. When we obey God, surrendering our will to Him, we can claim God as our Father. However, when we disobey God, we surrender our will to the opposition, claiming to be a part of the sinful household, making the devil our father, our master.

Adoption

The beauty of it is that God wants to adopt us. He wants to take us into his household, out of slavery. He doesn’t want to change our relationship with him. He always wants to be our Father. He always wants us to be a part of His household. Rather, He wants to change our position. He wants to adopt us into his family. He wants to change us from being only visitors in His household into sons and daughters that will inherit His kingdom. When God adopts us, He changes our status not only on Facebook, but for eternity.

The choice, however, is up to you. Which father will you choose?

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