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Kevin Walden

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By examining ethical issues and current strategies for the prevention of and response to clergy ethical violations in the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska, this paper sets forth a strategy to provide churches and professional church leaders and their families with biblical and systematic responses prior to, during, and following an ethical crisis. The challenge presented here pertains to promoting, maintaining, and sustaining ethical integrity among professional church leaders. The innovative approach imparted in this paper unites congregational and professional church leaders in a covenant relationship to be trained in clergy ethical issues and develops policies and procedures appropriate for their congregational setting.

This discussion is presented in three parts. Part One addresses the contextual issues surrounding leadership and the unique witness of the American Baptist denomination. It explores the concern and need for covenantal ethics training and conducts a contextual analysis of the problem that considers the local church‘s autonomy, the resources available from the regional body, the covenantal relationship with the denomination, and the issues and behaviors that are grounds for discipline. Part Two establishes the theological foundation for the issue and sets forth a theology of the Church as it relates to dependence upon Scripture and upon covenantal relationships. This section also examines theologies of discipline and restoration as well as the need and purpose for both.

Part Three introduces the goals pertinent to implementing the strategy, the strategy itself, and an example of the core element of the plan: the three-day retreat. The three-day retreat is developed in some detail. The chapters in Part Three communicate its purpose and theme, learning goals, pedagogy and learning design, and the contents of the training manual that will be used. This portion of the discussion encompasses the format and content of the sessions, additional resources, and the evaluation methodology.

Content Reader: David Leucke, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Leucke, David

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American Baptist Churches of Nebraska; Christian ethics; Christian leadership; Church discipline; Spiritual retreats for clergy; Covenant theology


Missions and World Christianity


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March 2018

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