How To Define Sexual Boundaries
Learning Sexual Boundary Choices
Sexual boundaries… especially related to teenage sexuality in Christian youth ministry… have not been defined.
Ministry itself - until now - lacks a universal definition to which all ministries must conform if every ministry activity is to have a divine purpose.
This site is your resource for defining ministry carefully so that you do not...
- Undermine your ministry...
- Undermine your diocese...
- Undermine your religious congregation...
- Undermine the people to whom you were sent.
Ministry... The Common Denominator
A Google search on "Christian ministry" brings back nearly five million pages with different examples of ministry...you might ask..."What do thousands of examples of ministry have in common that makes them all ministry...and different from secular activity?"
- How is ministry to the poor different from secular social work?
- How does clown ministry differ from clowning around?
- What is youth ministry? The prevalence of teenage sexual abuse makes this a pressing question.
How Do You Define Ministry?
How do you create a universal definition for the most overused undefined term in Christendom...ministry?
It's simple to define an authentic ministry that has a Godly purpose...and religious effect...so you can tell it from dubious 'ministries' (Mt 7:21ff)...that have caused great scandal and great pain to the church and to the People of God.
There's no need to reinvent the wheel. Aristotle's rule...gave the world a simple formula still used today for defining and differentiating things in science...law...philosophy and art.
Applying the rule to Ministry then...
Religious Activity... that brings both minister and people closer to God
There you have it! In just eleven power packed words we have separated ministry from non-ministry activity.
And separated religious activity that is ministry from religious activity that is not ministry (private devotions for example).
And so, from this definition we see that any authentic ministry activity has three indispensable qualities...
- Ministry activity must be religious activity
- Ministry activity must be relational activity that involves both the minister and the people
- Ministry activity must bring both minister and people closer to God
the clinical record shows that there are many ministers who believe "everything is ministry"...and sincerely pursue secular -- and even sinful -- activities as real ministries (Mt 7:21ff) with disastrous results.
- teenage sexual abuse as a ministry of sexual awakening...
- embezzlement as a ministry of charitable giving…
- a romantic date as a ministry of spiritual direction...
- a romp in a hot tub as a ministry of priestly counseling...
- spiritual abuse given as spiritual direction
All are boundary violations...which come about because...ministers who think ministry is any activity they are involved in...leave out the first part of the definition...(religious activity)...and the third part...(closeness to God).
Usually...they only concentrate on the relational part and say something vague like they are "ministering" to others. So we need another important definition...
Behavioral rules...that set limits on what can and cannot be done...and what must be done...in different types of relationships
For boundaries in ministry to be meaningful...you first have to know you are involved in religious activity that is authentic ministry.
Only then can you decide on the rules, rubics, and requirements for an authentic religious activity that will get you and the people safely to God.
And by using these simple ministry evaluation guides ministers can avoid boundary violations that have cost the church billions of dollars and tarnished its moral authority.
So with the universal definitions of ministry and boundaries...a minister will never confuse ministry with non-ministry.
From here may want to visit the Covenants page because covenants specify the boundaries...the requirements and limitations...that keep minister and people close to God.
And much of your ministry work will be helping people to stay in...or get back into...their covenant with God.
Or you may have questions or comments. (We especially like comments about how we can do things better.) If so...contact us. However...before you go...
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