It is difficult to maintain a healthy community when some local church members or friends seem incapable of self regulation. We all need to exercise healthy boundaries inside our communities of faith. One local church worked for 3 and one half hours to develop the following Covenant of Respect (as recorded in the book 10 Temptations of Church; Why Churches decline and what to do about it) It changed their culture. It changed their life together. 1-Trust in the best intentions of those around you. Seek to understand and provide a positive environment for healthy discussion and conflict.
2-Be a truth and reconciliation person for whom every meeting, every utterance, every gesture is about truth and reconciliation in the best interests of the Church.
3-Create in yourself an openness to change as part of God's creation, an opportunity for growth and revelation. Embrace others and create an open and inviting atmosphere for others to participate.
4-Open your heart and mind to God,s love, as incarnate in Jesus, reducing your anxiety and drawing you toward reconciliation and being a reconciler.
5-Trust that God is present in all parties in the midst of a disagreement. Seek common ground and options to reach consensus.
6-Provide the same courtesy, respect, and understanding to others as you would have offered to you.
7-Do not gossip about the church, the members, or its leaders.
Every Church for Tomorrow must develop a covenant of respect. No need to use this one, develop your own. For this local church, everyone in the ruling body signed it and pledged to live by it, modeling healthy behavior for others. Leaders will hold each other accountable for these healthy behaviors. My favorite is # 7. Which one is your favorite?