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Part 5: Tough Questions from a Colleague

Having read the first parts of this blog, I think I have understood that a mission has some options for moving forward. 

1. It can set standards for the job description that are related to mental and emotional health.

2. It can decline a person’s offer of service, due to the risk of endangering the person’s health and wellbeing. (Would this be only after accepting the person initially?)

3. It can try and make a reasonable accommodation for a person, provided the accommodation is sustainable and affordable and stands a good chance of enabling the person to be successful in his or her ministry.

Are these the three options? In these options, I’ve mentioned the danger to the person herself. But I also need to ask how to assess the risk of damage a person might do to others, including the wider community.

Let me propose a hypothetical case:

A person applies to work with a school that is part of a mission centre. The person’s references indicate that the applicant isn't good with personal boundaries. In fact, there have been a number of instances where the applicant has given poor advice to teens about their lifestyle. The applicant has also given outspoken (and unwelcome) advice to parents about how there are setting boundaries with their younger children. BUT the applicant is a good teacher, just struggles with being under authority and in setting and maintaining good boundaries. The mission leader knows this looks like trouble, but desperately needs teachers. How can the mission cope with this situation? What are the legal constraints?

Let me post a different hypothetical.

A candidate desires to serve in a country that is known to have serious porn and adult sex trade issues. The candidate has revealed an addiction to porn in his application, but says he has been "free and clear" for 3 years. The mission knows that "free and clear" in a home country with lots of help and support and accountability is different from "free and clear" in a country with lots of temptation and little, if any, support. How does this fit into the options discussed above?

Could the mission require a certain absolute standard of sexual purity? Would a mission need to make an accommodation of additional support? Would it be fair to decline the person’s service on the grounds of endangering his moral wellbeing?

More Blogs in the "Accommodation Issues" Series: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8

Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion

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