Interacting with the Opposite Sex as a Pastor

I often get asked about the boundaries that Katie and I have for our relationships with the opposite sex in our church. In fact, it has caused some people to not understand and to get upset at me. But as a pastor, I have seen too many church leaders who did not have boundaries or discretion fall in ministry, lose their wife and kids and lose the call God had on their life. I refuse for that to happen, all of those things are way to important for me.

When we were in Wisconsin, it was winter and probably about 5 degrees outside. We were having some of our leaders over and a single woman was the first one there and Katie was at the store. I was alone with Ava. So I gave Ava to this leader to hold, grabbed my jacket and went outside to wait for someone else to get there. Some people scratch their heads at this, but it shows to Katie and to my church, my integrity, my marriage is really important.

Pastors, your integrity is more important than anything. I have never read a book on leadership that didn’t say something to this effect, “Lose your integrity, lose your leadership and following.” (Usually, more elegant than that)

Saddleback Church in California has what they call their 10 Commandments and it has been incredibly helpful for me over the years. Now as a Lead Pastor with people under me, this is how all pastors at Revolution (now and in the future) will interact with the opposite sex. Here they are:

  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.*
  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.*
  3. Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.*
  4. Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.*
  5. 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.
  6. Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.
  7. Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attender of the opposite sex.
  8. Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards or letters from the opposite sex.
  9. Thou shalt make your co-worker your protective ally.
  10. Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.

(*The first four do not apply to unmarried staff.)

Thanks for the link Ed.

4 thoughts on “Interacting with the Opposite Sex as a Pastor

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