Church family,

Over the course of the last several months, newsfeeds, timelines, and social media “walls” have filled with reports about leaders failing. Seemingly, one of the reasons for their fall was a lack of boundaries to help hold them accountable.

Therefore, we are instituting, in partnership with the Personnel Committee, a modified version of the “Billy Graham” rules to help guard our pastors (including me) from being in situations where our character or reputation could be compromised.

To be crystal clear, the reason why we are putting “Billy Graham” rules in place is not because of something that one of our pastors has done wrong. Instead, these rules are a proactive and preventative measure.

In no way, shape or form, do we want this to inhibit the ability of women to do the ministry God has called them to as leadership in our church.

Sisters in Christ – you can help us by honoring our pastors by texting us in group messages and by not messaging us alone on social media. If you are in need of communicating something privately, please call or send us an email (as we have set in place a measure to cache five years worth of all of our emails).

If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at mspence@mabc.us or 303-344-0226.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

[1]MABC Adoption of the “Billy Graham Rules” for Pastoral Staff

 

As a Pastor/Minister at Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church (MABC), I make a covenant to faithfully implement the following standards in my life:

  1. I will strive to live a life that is above reproach. In so doing, I will abstain from any behavior that would in any way compromise my personal witness of the Gospel of Christ, discredit the ministry of MABC, or prove to be an obstacle in my personal relationship with God.
  2. Each member of the pastoral staff commits to never be alone with a member of the opposite sex unless it is a member of his/her family or spouse.[2] We will not eat, travel, or meet with a woman other than our spouse or family member unless other people are present. In the event a pastor counsels someone of the opposite gender, the counseling must occur in the office with a door with a window and with someone else present in the office at the time.[3]
  3. Each member of the pastoral staff commits to keep their hands to themselves. They will not engage in playful touching of a member of the opposite gender or sexual touching of anyone who is not his or her spouse.
  4. Each member of the pastoral staff commits to never text someone of the opposite gender in a one-on-one text. This policy extends to private messaging on social media platforms.[4]
  5. In no way do we want this to hinder the ability for women to serve God’s Kingdom. Therefore, if a member of the pastoral staff needs to meet with a person of the opposite gender or who is known to be homosexual of the same gender for ministry purposes, a member of the staff will make himself or herself available to accommodate this meeting.

 

[1] An exemption to this rule is Pastor Bill Ingram’s “Thought for Today.”

[2] Each of these rules will be applied if the person is known to be homosexual and of the same gender as the pastor or minister involved.

[3] In the event of a pastoral care visit to a hospital, mental illness facility, nursing home, rehab center, etc., the pastor is allowed to be alone with someone of the opposite sex.

[4] Two caveats: there will be a grace period when this policy is set in place initially and when a new pastor is hired. The grace period to adjust to this policy will be three months long. Second, if there is an accidental one-on-one text with a person of the opposite sex, the text must be kept, either by not deleting the message or by a screen-capture picture.  If the text is deleted and a screen capture is not taken, the mistake will be treated as intentional.

[5] If a staff member is reported, investigated, and proven to have sexually touched someone other than his or her spouse, termination of employment will be immediate.

 

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