Introduction to Ethical Ministry Practice

This unit examines the critical ethical, legal and professional issues faced by various ministry professionals such as chaplains, pastors, priests, missionaries and counsellors in a wide variety of ministry contexts. It studies the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence, confidentiality, trust and informed consent. It addresses the management of the multiple relationships found in pastoral and professional settings, boundaries and boundary violations, the duty of care and fiduciary responsibilities, power imbalance in relationships, mandatory reporting obligations, and ethical decision making within a complex working environment.

Study Level



Christian Life and Ministry

Sub Discipline

Pastoral Theology

Credit Points




Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of this unit the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the principles involved in ethical ministry practice.
  2. Display an understanding of ethical dilemmas present in a variety of ministry and community settings including the local church, diocese, mission field, aged care centres, schools, defence force, police force, counselling practice, welfare ministry, and/or emergency services.
  3. Show a critical appreciation of the importance of how an ethical and legal understanding (particularly as it relates to privacy, confidentiality, reporting, boundaries, and advocacy) enhances effective professional and pastoral practice.
  4. Articulate a personal approach to professional boundaries that: (1) meets community expectations; (2) complies with all national and state legislation; and (3) reflects ministry best practice.
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