This Can Get You Fired…Or Worse

It was an awesome game in theory.  The idea was students had to chug a bottle of soda and then eat 5 saltines, first one to whistle won the prize.  

It was my first year of ministry so immediately my thought was, “I’m going to get fired.”  Fortunately, the parent was forgiving, so was my pastor and I learned to avoid food games that had choking hazards.  

But there are things we do in our ministry that seem innocent enough; however, if we aren’t careful could lead to our termination or worse ruin our reputation, even our marriage.  They are:

  • Online Habits – I’m not just talking about porn or shady Facebook interactions, but how much time we spend on the Internet.  I don’t have a number of how long is too long.  We need to be careful that we aren’t spending too much time online because it can be a distraction to work, family and even our sleep.  Just because your a youth worker doesn’t mean you have to be online 90% of your work day.  You might feel your being productive, but others will disagree.
  • Leisure Time Habits –  Whether it’s playing a friendly game of poker, grabbing a beer at a barbecue or going to see a “questionable movie”, whatever you decide to do you have to understand how you perceive it will be different than what others might think.  Alcohol is the big one and while I find no problem with it, if you are posting pictures of yourself on Facebook at bars and parties it’s going to raise questions.  You can avoid them all together, or you can learn how to address the commentary and feedback when it comes to you.
  • Opposite Sex Relationships – This is a big one because it affects us all.  For the protection of our church and our families we need to avoid being in situations that can either lead us down the wrong path or suggest a negative situation.  Putting yourself in a situation where you are alone with the opposite sex can get you in trouble.  It is imperative that you communicate with your spouse (even your pastor) the relationships you have with your ministers and staff members.  I never want my wife wondering, “Why did Chris have that lunch meeting with that woman at that nice restaurant?”  I know it might create more hassle (i.e. driving in separate cars), but it’ll be less than battling the rumors that follow.

This is a lot of gray area and it’s a challenge to stay within the limits no matter who you are, but we need to hold onto our integrity, not so much for our sake, but for the church’s stake.  I’m by no means perfect, but I value communication with my pastor and my wife, because in the end if I have their back I know I’m good.
What other areas do you feel we need wisdom and good judgement?