Boundary Tending for Pastors and Church Leaders


Recently, I was at St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan, sitting around a table with others representing various denominations: Methodist, Lutheran, and others. We were gathered to design a healthy boundary training workshop for pastors as part of an SPE (Sustaining Pastoral Excellence) initiative.

We went around the table, each sharing our denomination’s requirements for pastors around the issue of boundaries. Several denominations shared a code of ethical conduct for pastors. Several require ongoing training in healthy boundaries, every three to five years. The CRC has no such requirements. As I looked over the information, I thought of the devastating situations that may have been prevented if the CRC had similar standards in place.

Pastoral boundaries are not easy. Boundaries are not a list of rules, but more about a way of thinking of one's own position and influence in relating to others. Boundaries provide a container for healthy, transformative ministry to take place. To find out more about the upcoming workshop, visit our Event page.

I wonder ... should regular boundary training be required for CRC pastors? Should the CRC adopt a code of ethical conduct for its pastors? What do you think?

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Community Builder

Would you consider coming out to the West Coast, say Abbotsford BC to do a similar workshop?

Community Builder

This is an ecumenical group of trainers and I'm not sure that the group would be willing to travel to BC. However, there are plans to publish the training materials that are being developed! I'm very excited about this possibility and how those materials might be used (it's a wonderful group of people working together on this, lots of valuable wisdom). I believe that it's difficult for seminary training to prepare pastors for all that they will face. Therefore, ongoing training is needed, especially in this area of boundaries, which can often be the source of conflict in churches.