No matter how many times I hear it, it still shocks me: A pastor announces his resignation because of adultery. Often it’s with someone within his church, sometimes even someone actively involved in ministry, such as a choir member or Sunday school teacher.
It’s such an incredible waste of God’s resources that it not only grieves me, it angers me. I have told my staff that if any of them even flirt with temptation, I will come after them with a baseball bat, and I’ve told them to do the same with me.
As Christian leaders, we need to be above reproach. Paul wrote, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence” (1 Corinthians 10:12 MSG).
That’s why I established these Saddleback Staff Standards for maintaining moral integrity:
- Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex. *
- Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you. *
- Thou shalt not kiss any attendee of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned. *
- Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.
- Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex alone at the office, and thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex more than once without that person’s mate. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attendee of the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards, or letters from the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt make your secretary your protective ally.
- Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.
* The first three do not apply to unmarried staff.
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3 NIV).