Ministerial ethics are a set of guidelines that dictate how ministers should conduct themselves both inside and outside of the church. These are not necessarily laws, but they are expected to be followed by all clergy members. If a minister violates ministerial ethics, he or she may face disciplinary action from their denomination or religious organization.
Ministerial ethics include:
Conflict of interest — Ministers should not use their position as clergy to further their own personal interests over those of others. This means they should not give preferential treatment to friends or family members, nor should they use their position in any way that would benefit themselves financially at the expense of others.
Confidentiality — Ministers must always keep confidences shared with them by parishioners or other members of the congregation. This includes information about marital problems, financial difficulties and other sensitive issues discussed during counseling sessions or other pastoral activities.
Sexual conduct — Ministers must always conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs as well as applicable laws regarding sexual conduct. They must never engage in sexual relations with anyone under their spiritual care (including members of their congregation).