Editor’s Note: At the beginning of my first pastorate in the early 1990s, I developed a simple Communication Covenant with my church board. In the late 1990s, a version of this covenant was published in Leadership Journal (1999). Since then, this covenant has been used in many churches and districts inside and outside of the Church of the Nazarene. In 24 years of pastoral ministry, I have continued to use modified versions of this covenant. We wanted to share it with Grace & Peace readers for use as you see fit. ~ Charles W. Christian, Managing Editor, G&P
1. If you have a problem with me, come to me privately.
2. If I have a problem with you, I will come to you privately.
3. If someone has a problem with me and comes to you, send them to me. I will do the same for you.
4. If someone consistently will not come to me, say, “Let’s go to the pastor/staff member together. I am sure he/she will see us about this.” I will do the same for you.
5. Be careful how you interpret me—I would rather do that. On matters that are unclear, do not feel pressured to interpret my feelings or thoughts. It is easy to misinterpret intentions.
6. I will be careful how I interpret you.
7. If it is confidential, don’t tell. If you or anyone else comes to me in confidence, I will not tell unless (a) the person poses immediate and imminent harm or danger to him/herself or others, or (b) a child, teen, or elderly person has been physically or sexually abused. I expect the same standards from you.
8. I do not read unsigned letters or notes.
9. I do not manipulate, and I will not be manipulated. Do not let others manipulate you. Do not let others try to manipulate me through you. I will keep the same standards. This means, for instance, that I will not preach “at” you in my sermons. I will leave conviction to the Holy Spirit.
10. When it doubt, just ask. We are a family here, and we care about each other. So, if you have a concern, pray. Then, if led, speak up. If I can answer your question without misrepresenting something or breaking a confidence, I will.
Adapted from Charles W. Christian, Ethics in Christian Ministry: A Guide for Pastors and Mentors
(Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2017), Appendix A3.