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Code of ethics for pastors

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By Dr. Francis Akin-John

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited (II Corinth-ians 6:3).

Whatever happens, con-duct yourselves in a man-ner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).

The two scriptures and many more of such give us standards of ethics expected of every min-ister of the gospel, esp-ecially pastors.

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Every trade, profession and vocation have rules of dos and don’ts. Here are ethical rules that sincere and genuine pastors must abide by as they carry out their onerous responsi-bilities.

All who are called by God to the ministry of the gos-pel solemnly commit to a life of joyful obedience and selfless service in order to glorify God and enrich his people. There-fore, a minister must:


I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent (I Chronicles 29:17).

  1. In Personal Character: Exalt Christ, not self. Be honest, not exaggerating or over-promising; peace-loving, not contentious; patient, not volatile; dili-gent, not slothful. Avoid and, when necessary, report conflicts of inter-est and seek counsel.
  2. In Personal Care: Care for the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical dimen-sions of your person, for “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 6:-19)
  3. In Preaching and Teach-ing: Interpret the Bible accurately and apply it dis-cerningly: “In your teaching show integrity, serious-ness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7-8). Speak the truth in love. Give due credit when using the words or ideas of others.
  4. “If you are not ready to hear the truth, don’t come to my palace!”

It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (I Corinthians 4:2).

  1. In leadership: Model the trustworthiness of God in leadership to encourage and develop trustworthi-ness in others. Use power and influence prudently and humbly. Foster loyalty. Demonstrate a commit-ment to the well-being of the entire congregation. Keep promises. Respond sensitively and approp-riately to ministry req-uests and needs: “Who-ever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dis-honest with much” (Luke 16:10).
  2. With information: Guard confidences carefully. In-form a person in advance, if possible, when an adm-ission is about to be made that might legally require the disclosure of that information.

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