At the church I serve in, we’ve carved out some basic guidelines for our staff to encourage purity and to avoid even the appearance of evil. While we want to avoid legalism, we came up with the following parameters. By the way, these are not addressing any specific situations that are taking place right now. Most of these apply to both married and single people, but there’s probably some variation in how they are applied in each case:
- A church leader should not travel alone in a car with a member of the opposite sex, other than a spouse, except in cases of emergency.
- When at a restaurant or coffee joint with a member of the opposite sex, try to make it with at least with three people.
- Counseling members of the opposite sex should be limited to three sessions and should never be done at night or any time that another adult is not in an adjacent room. If the nature of the meeting allows it, keep the door open.
- Never enter the home of a member of the opposite sex when no one else is present. (The very sick or elderly are an exemption.)
- Since most affairs begin with conversation, avoid suggestive comments and any discussion of intimate subjects with members of the opposite sex. This includes email, texting and social media.
- Avoid inappropriate touching or suggestive hugging of members of the opposite sex. Use wise judgment to discern what is proper.
- Avoid suggestive clothing. 1 Timothy 2:9 tells us our clothing should be respectable and modest.
- When traveling out of town, try to avoid going alone, and don’t travel alone with a member of the opposite sex. Stay accountable with at least one other person about your conduct during the trip.
These guidelines may seem rigid, but I can’t help but think of what Paul wrote, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:3-4).