Staff and volunteers are responsible for maintaining a professional role at the church, establishing and maintaining clear boundaries that serve to protect everyone.
This Code of Conduct sets out the behaviour which Southern Cross Community Church (SCCC) expects from all people associated with service to the church or representing it in any capacity.
Staff and volunteers are representatives of the church when acting on behalf of the church as well as within the greater community and in private settings.
Adherence to this code will help to protect all people from abuse and inappropriate behaviour from others. It will also guide staff and volunteers to maintain the standard of behaviour expected of them and will reduce the possibility of allegations of abuse being made against them.
For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, any reference to ‘all people’ or ‘any person’ shall be taken to include children, young people, vulnerable adults, and all others.
Code Of Conduct
The following Leaders Code of Conduct outlines commitments for involvement in the SCCC ministry that we expect any current or future volunteers or paid staff members to uphold.
1. A commitment to making my personal relationship with Jesus a priority by:
- Regularly attending SCCC church services and/or being involved in an SCCC small group.
- Seeking to grow in personal devotion to Jesus through prayer and Bible reading.
- Affirming and conducting myself in a manner that is consistent with the values of SCCC.
2. A Commitment to those close to me by:
- Ensuring I love and care for my family, paying attention to the effect of ministry on them.
- Not engaging in sexual misconduct.
- Being accountable as a leader or team member volunteer by being open, honest and transparent as these keys lead to a protective emotional environment.
- Attempting to model a Spirit-led faithfulness that enables those in my care to grow in understanding and embrace their faith in order that their own gifts may be developed.
3. A commitment to team involvement by:
- Respecting the authority of the staff, Council and leadership team.
- Making team events and meetings a priority.
4. A commitment to promoting the safety and wellbeing of all people by:
- Providing a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all people, respecting cultural, gender and sexuality differences and recognising the needs of those with disabilities or special needs.
- Taking all reasonable steps to protect all people from abuse and harm.
- Reporting any observations or concerns of child abuse or breaches of this Code of Conduct in accordance with SCCC’s Safe Church policy and procedures.
- Respecting privacy and only disclosing sensitive information on a need-to-know basis in accordance with SCCC’s Safe Church procedures, ensuring all private information is kept confidential for all other purposes.
- Having a zero tolerance for any forms of discrimination.
- Ensuring I am accountable and transparent in all my actions as a leader.
- Not professionally counselling people with whom I have a personal relationship.
- Not disclosing to anyone (including my spouse) any confidential information without the consent of the person providing the information (except where legal obligations override confidentiality).
5. A commitment to appropriate relationships by:
- Ensuring all contact with any person is appropriate and within the parameters of the program or ministry.
- Maintaining appropriate emotional and physical boundaries, including not conducting any form of inappropriate physical contact with any person.
- Ensuring language is appropriate and could not be deemed as offensive or discriminatory.
- Not acting in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive towards others.
6. A commitment to conducting myself online appropriately by:
- Ensuring any comments, written pieces or photos of me (both uploaded and tagged) are appropriate in nature and consistent with the values of SCCC.
- Always protecting my privacy and the privacy and safety of others, particularly in regards to photos or other content I post or contribute to/comment on, ensuring I always have permission of anyone represented within photos or content prior to posting or commenting.
- Posting and commenting on social media thoughtfully and responsibly, avoiding any form of discrimination against people of all races, genders and belief systems, and avoiding the use of explicit language.
- Ensuring any private messaging or other types of social media posting are appropriate and in-line with the expectations outlined in this Code of Conduct. No minor will be directly messaged without a third party inclusion.
- Not using any computer, mobile phone, video or digital camera to exploit or harass any person, either inside and outside of the church.
7. A commitment to responsible behaviours regarding substances by:
- Avoiding the use of alcohol or gambling at any church related event.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation (where allowed) and abiding by laws related to the consumption of alcohol, including road laws.
- Not engaging in the handling or use of illicit drugs in any form.
What happens when the Code of Conduct is damaged?
In accordance with Baptist Union of Victoria recommendations, the following procedures should be followed if the Code of Conduct is broken:
A. Occasional/Minor Infringements
Everyone sins and is forgiven (1 John 1:8-9). It stands to reason then, that everyone will breach the Code of Conduct. When this happens in an area that is not a breach of civil or criminal law, simply cease the conduct. If this is difficult, the person should see their Ministry Leader, or the Council, about receiving help (eg. counselling). If a person is unaware they have breached the Code of Conduct, a leader will approach them and remind them of their responsibility. In some cases it may be necessary to step a person aside from their duties whilst this takes place.
B. Constant Infringement
There are breaches that are not a breach of civil or criminal law. Where a leader/volunteer has been made aware of their behaviours yet refuses to change:
i) A behaviour review meeting will be instituted in order to communicate required behaviour changes: up to 3 meetings. If this person is a Ministry Leader, Southern’s Council will meet with the person. In the event of the person being a volunteer, the Ministry Team Leader will be responsible for the meetings.
ii) If the behaviour continues, a small group of church leaders (ie. Southern’s Council), will arrange a meeting to address the behaviour. Stepping aside is appropriate at this point.
iii) If the behaviour/s continue/s beyond this meeting, then respectfully, and upholding confidentially, the person will be stood down for a set period. They will be offered help in changing their behaviour via counselling if they are willing.
Written notes of all meetings are to be carefully taken and a copy given to all parties.
C. Breaches of the Law or Allegations of Abuse
Serious breaches may also result in a report being made to authorities such as the police, child protection authorities, the Church’s Professional Standards Unit, and/or the Reportable Conduct Scheme. Breaches may also be reported to other external agencies and organisations where a staff member or volunteer is actively serving or involved.
Southern Cross also has in place a policy should a worker prove to be emotionally or spiritually unsuitable for their particular duty. In this instance, the Council will endeavour to support and guide that person while also finding another person to undertake the ministry position.