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Ethics for Christian Ministry

Moral Formation for Twenty-First-Century Leaders

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This one-of-a-kind resource in professional ethics helps Christian leaders maintain a high moral character and lifestyle and sharpen their personal and professional decision-making skills amid the rapidly changing landscape of the contemporary church.

Joe Trull and Robert Creech bring together their experience as teachers and pastors to address both current and perennial ethical issues and offer guidance for developing a personal code of ethics to maintain integrity in the work of ministry. The authors address the nature of ethical decision making as well as practical areas where integrity can be compromised, including issues raised by the use of smartphones and social media.

Ethics for Christian Ministry will be useful for professors and students in practical ministry, pastoral care, and ministerial ethics classes as well as pastors involved in local church ministry.

1. Walking with Integrity: A Profession or a Calling?
2. Being Good and Doing Good: Moral Formation for Ministry
3. Looking in the Mirror: Integrity in Your Personal Life
4. Looking at the Church: Integrity in Your Ministry
5. Looking at Fellow Ministers: Integrity with Your Colleagues
6. Promoting Peace and Justice: Integrity in the Community
7. Facing Clergy Sexual Abuse: The Cost of Lost Integrity
8. Developing a Personal Code of Ethics: A Plan for Integrity in Ministry
Ministerial Code of Ethics Worksheet
Appendix A: A Procedure for Responding to Charges of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Appendix B: Early Denominational Codes of Ethics
Appendix C: Contemporary Denominational Codes of Ethics
Appendix D: Sample Codes of Ethics


"Two experienced, inspired pastoral theologians have given us a thorough, judicious book that is sure to become the standard text on pastoral ethics. Trull and Creech not only show a deep understanding of the particular challenges faced by those called to be clergy but also offer sound, practical guidance that helps pastors make better decisions as we engage in ministry. Here's a book that enables contemporary clergy to hold to the highest standards of our high and noble calling. What a wonderful contribution to the field of pastoral theology and ethics."

Will Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School; United Methodist bishop, retired; author of Calling and Character: Virtues of the Ordained Life

"Few things harm a congregation or ministry more than the profound moral failure of a trusted leader. Trull and Creech understand this reality, and they have created a comprehensive resource for pastors and congregations that addresses the importance of ethics in ministry. This book is both theological and practical, exploring essential codes of professional conduct for pastoral work. From ministers in training to seasoned pastors, all who read this book will benefit from the opportunity to think through the real temptations ministers face, the meaning of leading with integrity, and the absolute necessity of peer support and accountability. It is possible to create healthful boundaries for long-term ministry, and this book is an excellent guide for getting started."

Angela Reed, associate professor of practical theology and director of spiritual formation, Truett Seminary, Baylor University

"Trull and Creech offer an excellent work in ministerial ethics. They give the reader a historical and theological foundation for the ministerial calling and profession that serves as the springboard into ministerial ethics. The authors believe that ministers are professionals, and as such they should follow a code of ethics. The book balances theory and practice. The reader is given a reason for ministerial ethics, a route to accomplish professional ethics, and a challenge to create a professional code of ethics with colleagues. Ethics for Christian Ministry should be read by anyone called to vocational ministry, and it should be required reading by seminary students at the onset of their training. Church planting movements would do well to make this book required reading for church planters."

Ira E. Antoine Jr., director, Bivocational Pastors Ministry, Baptist General Convention of Texas

The Authors

  1. Joe E. Trull

    Joe E. Trull

    Joe E. Trull (ThD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), now retired, previously served as professor of Christian ethics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as a pastor for over twenty years, is the former editor of Christian Ethics...

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  2. R. Robert Creech
    Rachel Halloran

    R. Robert Creech

    R. Robert Creech (PhD, Baylor University) is Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Professor of Pastoral Leadership and director of pastoral ministries at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He formerly taught...

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"An excellent resource for young and soon-to-be ministers, as well as a healthy reminder to pastoral veterans. . . . The book covers a variety of ethical issues impacting pastoral ministry, from calling and integrity to avoiding sexual sin."

Michael Duduit,