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Is the Gospel Being Hindered by Unethical Clergy?

“First, the church must demand the integration of principles, values and ethics in the lives of those who minister. Ethics is concrete; every Christian is responsible for character.

Second, the church should focus on and demand accountability for the task of ministry rather than the results. Churches must be prepared to support ministry and to help set reasonable expectations for accomplishment.

Third, churches must strive to develop an open atmosphere that encourages honesty and vulnerability among all Christians, including those who minister, allowing all to be human. Ethical ministry demands that members and ministers go into the world guided by Christian ethics.

Fourth, we must develop better support systems within the church for those who minister.

Fifth, churches must develop a better understanding of ministry. Each fall, I preach at least one sermon on the nature of ministry. My church needs to understand ministry and to understand my ministry. I am accountable to them; they are my support system.

Sixth, the church must develop a fellowship that allows the minister to become an authentic part of the local congregation.

Finally, the church must ever be ethical in its treatment of ministers, members, one another and the world.”

These ideas might not be shared by everyone, but its apparent inaction won’t turn the numbers around, and that hurts all churches and their efforts to spread the gospel. As H.B. London pointed out, “When a minister behaves unethically it represents failure. Not unforgivable failure, but failure that reflects on all other clergy and on the body of Christ. It damages one’s influence and reputation.”


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Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.