However...the ordinary definition of a professional describes most ministers with great precision. They are...like other professionals...members of a learned profession.
After all...isn't it true that most ministers have some sort of formal credential like...Master or Doctor of Divinity...Doctor of Pastoral Counseling...Doctor of Ministry...Doctor of Canon Law...or some other formal certification such as Spiritual Director...or Youth Minister?
Are these not members of learned professions? Of course they are.
Trouble is the code of ethics that define boundaries in the other learned professions is often lacking in ministry.
(Click on the tabs below to open a panel. Reclick to close to minimize scrolling.)
And so...the minister is held to a higher standard than the typical learned professional.
The context of ministry activity can give a whole new meaning to the
situation. It is romance if it takes place in
a restaurant over a candle lit dinner. Or if it
takes place in
a hot tub using a theraphy technique like reparenting. Or if it is outside
of normal administrative procedures as happens in church embezzlement. Or if it is a
public sacramental ritual like anointing the sick turned
into a private intimate ritual. Or
if it is a private correspondence through email that results in profesional boundaries email violations.
Ministry boundaries should include both time and location boundaries because...the clinical records of ministers sent for evaluation and treatment show that...violating those boundaries often leads to violating the ones imposed by God.
You can refresh your memory about those divine boundaries...which form the basis of all interpersonal boundaries if you go from this professional boundaries page to moses and the Ten Commandments page.
You may also see how the hierarchical boundaries of catholic ministry enabled sexual abuse and helped it to remain secret.
Do your own ministry evaluation by noting how many situations call for good professional boundaries.