Conduct & Code of Ethics

The American Chaplains Association purposes:

To represent the ideals, challenges, accomplishments, and needs of all chaplains to religious communities, civilian leaders, Veterans Service Organizations, and news media.

Promote cooperative ministry in order to advance and safeguard the religious rights and spiritual welfare of all personnel whom chaplains are called to serve.

Enhance local and state government and community efforts to support all our citizens.

Support and participate in service organizations that represent people all over our country.

Promote the concept, calling, and commitment of “Chaplains for Life.”

Maintain a Joint service and inter-agency forum for ministry analysis and development.

Provide pastoral services wherever requested.

Code of Ethics for the American Chaplains Association

Conflicts, difficulties, power struggles, trials, and tribulations are normal and to be expected, whether one is a Christian or not. (John 16:33; Psalm 37:7; Romans 2:9)

We are to grow and mature through these things that we experience. (James 1: 2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5: 18)

We are to encourage and support each other (John 15:17; Ephesians 4:32; John 13:35).

We are to demonstrate the lordship o£ Christ in our lives by servant-like leadership, a sense of community, and a lifestyle that reflects the will of God (Matthew 20;25-28; 3:12-17; John 12: 26).

We are to reach out to others in love and concern (Hebrews 13:16; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

We are to admonish each other, especially those in positions of leadership and trust. We must always be mindful of our own shortcomings. (Matthew 18;15, 17; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Galatians 6:1).

As representatives of Jesus Christ, you are responsible to demonstrate a lifestyle consistent with His character and are expected to be men and women of high moral character and whose sexual conduct is consistent with the standards of Scripture. This includes abstaining from any pattern of addiction and from homosexual, premarital, and extramarital sexual conduct.

Articles of the Code of Ethics

1. Personal Commitment as a chaplain

A. I commit my service, as a chaplain to God as a special calling.
B. I pledge to integrate all that I do in service with Christian values, principles, and guidelines.
C. I commit myself to Christ the Lord as well as Savior. In doing this, I will seek direction and wisdom in God while accepting responsibility for my own statements and actions.
D. I view my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and, treat it lovingly and respectfully. Through prayer, I will seek balance in setting my priorities.

2. Loving Concern for People

A. I will accept people regardless of race, religion, gender, income, education, or ethnic background.
B. I value human life and see it as beginning with conception. I also value personal freedom and responsibility. and the privilege of free choice in matters of belief and action.
C. I will avoid exploiting or manipulating anyone to satisfy my own needs.
D. I will refrain from an undue invasion of privacy.
E. I will take appropriate actions to help and protect those who are dependent on other persons for their survival.
F. Sexual intimacy with any person will be avoided at all times.

3. Confidentiality

A. I will demonstrate the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the person and other persons in the helping relationship.
B. I will explain to people the limits of confidentiality set by civil laws, regulations and judicial precedent.
C. I will carefully protect people and their identity and problems. And will not divulge information about them, unless given express written permission in an informed consent document.
D. All records will be handled in a manner that protects the clients and their problems from disclosure.

4. Competency

A. I pledge to be well-trained and competent in the services I provide. I will not imply that I have qualifications, experiences, and capabilities which I do not have.
B. I will comply with all state and local laws and regulations.
C. I will not use any legal exemptions given in some states to churches and other nonprofit organizations to provide services that are beyond my training and competency.
D. I will pursue additional education, experience, professional consultation, and spiritual growth to improve my effectiveness in my ministry of service.

5. Human Limitations

A. I will refer people whom I am not capable of assisting, whether by lack of time, expertise, or personal reasons.
B. I will resist efforts by people or colleagues to place demands for service on me that exceed my qualifications and available time, thus leaving no time to minister to and build relationships with my own family.

6. Advertising and Promotional Activities

A. I will advertise and promote my services by professional standards.
B. Personal aggrandizement will not be used in advertising and promotional activities.
C. Certification
a. If a certification has been revoked or suspended for unethical conduct, the Ethics Committee will maintain loving and concerned liaison with the person and others involved, as appropriate, and will attempt to bring about actions for repentance, forgiveness, and restoration of certification.

7. Consultation

ACA will also provide consultation to the Board as an organization and/or to an individual chaplain who may be confronting ethical dilemmas or want some guidance.
a. Since ethical concerns may be complex and/or have legal implications, the consultation provided will be primarily in helping think through a situation, without assuming responsibility for the case.
b. The value of malpractice insurance should be carefully considered, especially if a lawsuit– whether justified or not– would possibly drain the financial resources of the organization with which I am associated, or my family.