5 second thought experiment – what would you do?

  • You are invited out to dinner at a restaurant by a parishioner and they reach across the table to pick up the check, insisting, “This one’s on me!” It’s the third time they’ve done this in the past two months.
  • You want to buy a house and a parishioner approaches you after Sunday service, “Pastor, I’d like to give you the down payment and provide an interest free loan to cover the rest.”
  • You and your spouse become very close to another couple in the church and they invite you over to their house. As the evening unwinds, they suggest that you all go skinny dipping in the hot tub. You and your spouse make eye contact across the water, and the steam begins to rise.

We can hear you laughing as you read these scenarios, perhaps even thinking, “These would never happen to me!” The truth is each one happened to one or more pastors with whom we’ve met at LeaderWise over the years. Yes, even the hot tub story – or a variation thereof involving steam rooms, saunas, lakes, swimming pools, and the like. Several acted on impulse – saying yes in the moment – and later coming to regret it as stories spread or photos emerged.

Welcome to LeaderWise’s Not Your Usual Boundaries Training!

Our experience at LeaderWise is that pastors, church staff, and other leaders who transgress boundaries by-and-large are not predators. In fact, not even close. Most people in ministry who violate boundaries are individuals who know and follow the rules most of the time, but whose judgment may be impaired due to an unusually stressful time in their lives. With that in mind, we tailor our boundaries training to focus on strategies to foster mental health, emotional resiliency, and well-being. While we still cover the essentials, “Don’t sleep with a parishioner unless you’re married to them” and “Don’t borrow money from the church board president,” we believe the best prevention is to encourage clergy to take steps to manage their stress in order to maintain balance and perspective when temptation arises. We further teach a 3-step strategy to help stop them in their tracks before they commit a boundary violation.

And, here’s the final question. Does boundaries training need to be boring? Absolutely not! Our 5-hour program is lively and highly interactive, full of lots of reflection and conversation – and even laughter. Attendees have given us the feedback our boundaries training was a great experience, AND caused them to re-evaluate some of their own practices.

Join us! The Synod of the Covenant is sponsoring 3 boundaries trainings over the course of this year. Each training will be 5 hours online via zoom, 2.5 hours each day for 2 consecutive days. Sign up for whichever one fits best into your schedule. (5 CEUs will be granted upon completion of the program.)

  • May 18 and 19, 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern each day (Registration Deadline 5/5/21)
  • August 18 and 19, 6:00 – 8:30 PM Eastern each day (Registration Deadline 8/5/21)
  • November 9 and 10, 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern each day (Registration Deadline 10/27/21)

To register for this workshop, or others offered through LeaderWise in 2021, visit Leaderwise Registration – Synod of the Covenant.  You’ll receive the zoom information after you register.

There is no cost for these trainings.  Your presbytery and synod are investing in your leadership by providing these workshops for free.

Questions about whether you are required to participate in this training?  Contact your presbytery’s Stated Clerk.

Questions about the training content?  Contact Synod Interim Executive Chip Hardwick at chip@synodofthecovenant.org.

Questions about registration or technology?  Contact Synod Office Manager Heather Johnston Deeb at heather@synodofthecovenant.org