Keeping Our Sacred Trust: Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age

Protect your congregation and your ministry with online sexual ethics training for pastors.

The prevalence of electronic communication and social media raises new ethical challenges for church leaders today. Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age, an online course from the Keeping Our Sacred Trust ethics training series, explores issues of clergy ethics and responsibility in an era of instantaneous, electronic communication. It helps spiritual leaders stay healthy and attentive to appropriate boundaries in the midst of new challenges. It builds on the course Keeping Our Sacred Trust: Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics, which is a primer on preventing clergy sexual misconduct.

Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age considers new risks and concerns related to sexual ethics in the rapidly changing landscape of electronic media and social media, such as online pornography, internet relationships, and questionable behavior on social media. It also addresses the risks and the opportunities in using electronic communication as a ministry tool.

Respond to these challenges and protect your congregation with Keeping Our Sacred Trust: Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age. Enroll now.

Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age addresses real concerns and questions from the perspective of those in pastoral ministry.

  • Why are boundaries important to effective ministry?
  • How is self-care critical to maintaining appropriate boundaries?
  • When is it appropriate to use different forms of social and electronic media?
  • How can privacy be maintained?
  • Why are clergy particularly at risk for pornography use?
  • How can clergy escape the lure of pornography?

Course structure

Keeping Our Sacred Trust: Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age is organized into three parts, each of which include a number of subsections designed to address real concerns and questions from the perspective of those in the practice of ministry.

  • Part I focuses on the importance boundaries and how to maintain appropriate boundaries.
  • Part II examines some of the challenges of ministry in an electronic age.
  • Part III considers sexual ethics in the digital age.

Ensures thorough engagement

To ensure that clergy have thoroughly learned the materials, Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age is capped with a 20-question test. Clergy must correctly answer at least 18 of the 20 questions to prove that they have a thorough command of the materials. Pastors who do not pass the test are required to retake it until they have exhibited the appropriate knowledge of the materials. Additionally, several short-answer questions are included throughout the course.

Convenient online format

  • Learn via written instruction, video presentations, and personal reflection exercises.
  • Work at your own pace, taking the time necessary to process information and reflect.
  • Engage in honest self-reflection with an online system that is completely confidential.
  • Study when and where it fits your schedule.
  • Avoid the time and expense of travel to workshops or seminars.

Key features of Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age and other courses in the Keeping Our Sacred Trust ethics training series

  • $49 to enroll
  • .5 CEU issued within minutes by the Lewis Center upon completion
  • Certificate of successful completion issued
  • Individual and group registration available
  • Open to clergy and church leaders of any denomination and non-denominational pastors
  • Online format ensures full engagement of the study materials through built-in accountability mechanisms and allows you to study at your own pace, when and where you choose

Built on credible expertise

Principal direction in developing this course was provided by the late Dr. Rob Vaughn, former lead pastor of Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia. Rob earned a Ph.D. in sexuality education at University of Pennsylvania in a joint program in the School of Education, Marriage & Family Counseling, and the Medical School. He taught widely throughout the church on ethics. Many other experts — from the Lewis Center, Wesley Theological Seminary, and beyond — have also contributed to this course.

For more information, or to learn how denominations or judicatories can set up enrollment for groups, please contact the Lewis Center at (202) 664-5700 or

Other courses in the Keeping Our Trust ethics training series:

Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics
This course helps prevent clergy sexual misconduct by creating awareness of what constitutes misconduct, how it arises, and how to prevent it. It addresses relational dynamics as well as internal motivations and vulnerabilities. Learn more now.
Assuring Financial Integrity
This course explores issues of maintaining financial integrity and preventing fraud in congregational settings. It is designed for pastors, church staff, finance committee members, and all others with responsibility for handling church funds. Learn more now.