A number of years ago, while leading a Bible study for high school youth group, I was discussing what goes into developing maturity and character. As a way to get my point across, I suggested that it would be interesting if someone were to invent a special spray that would provide the user with “Instant Maturity.” That must have grabbed the attention of the youth, because to this day I have a spray bottle in my office labeled “Instant Maturity.” Unfortunately, the spray bottle is simply filled with water and no real help in developing character.
In Romans 5, Paul states that:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Character development is a slow process. Learning what it means to handle ministry ethically, is not always completely understood when we first begin. Additionally, even as grow in the years of our ministry, we can lose sight of the standards and ideals that we ought to hold ourselves to.
There are expectations that are particular to every profession. These are the ethical standards that ought to guide the work done as a member of that profession. In a prior era, master craftsmen passed along both knowledge and skills of their guild, but more than that was passed from one generation to the next. A sense of professional quality and a set of ethical standards, both good and bad, where transmitted.
Ethical codes ground themselves ethos of what it means to be a member of a profession. The shape of these may change in response to arising needs of the culture and the dynamics of the profession as it seeks to finds its place within said culture.
There are unique challenges as well as expectations placed upon workers depending on whether their calling is as a pastor, teacher, DCE, etc. Some ethical guidelines have been developed for some of the groups of callled workers in the LCMS. Below you will find links to some of those that we would like to recommend to aid you in your ministry. Whether you are new to ministry or a seasoned veteran, reviewing guides like these sharpen our conceptions of what it means to conduct our ministry in a manner that is above reproach.
Commitments of the Shepherd - Principles of Conduct for Ordained Ministers of the Gospel
DCE Code of Ethics
ECE Code of Ethics