EFM bases its acceptable standards of behavior on biblical principles as they relate to an individual’s relationship to God, the church, and EFM. Consequently, EFM is committed to the Bible-based lifestyles of morality, marital fidelity, and faith. All EFM missionaries will be held to these high standards of conduct because these standards are based on biblical principles. We also recognize that acceptable behavior for EFM missionaries may differ from behavior that is considered acceptable by different cultures and societies.
A. Believers are commanded to “avoid all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and we are not to “cause a weaker brother to stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:21). The missionary’s conduct must not only be above reproach, but missionaries must exemplify godly living. This principle is lived out through two different approaches: (1) Some behaviors that are clearly prohibited by scripture include drunkenness, immorality, homosexual behavior, greed, dishonesty, and anything that destroys the body. These are just a few examples, but they are not exhaustive. If any of these prohibited behaviors are violated, the EFM Board expects the EFM Director(s) to initiate a disciplinary process that begins with repentance and restitution. This process may include the missionary being placed on a “leave of absence.” After consultation with the EFM Executive Committee, there may be the possibility of immediate dismissal.
(2) EFM’s second approach to missionary conduct may include conduct that is not explicitly forbidden by scripture. There are some behaviors that are practiced by society that may be a detriment to Christian freedom: consumption of alcohol or tobacco, gambling, and various aspects of entertainment that lead to spiritual bondage. The EFM Board absolutely affirms freedom of conscience for those who follow Christ. They also know that Christian leaders must embrace the extraordinary privilege of setting aside some illicit behaviors (including those listed above) as a witness. In doing so, the missionary lives a life that is free from destructive character and eliminates any chance of being a stumbling block to the weak. It should be clear that alcohol consumption, tobacco habits, drug addictions, obsessions to pornography, and gambling often bring devastating consequences on both individuals and society. Since Christian leaders have a responsibility to model an overcoming lifestyle, the EFM Board stands for abstinence from potentially addictive practices. The board also expects the director(s) to counsel missionaries regarding any questionable behavior that would undermine their leadership. If necessary, the director(s) may ask the EFM Executive Board to consider a specific situation and then provide direction to the missionary regarding the behavior in question. The missionary is expected to abide by the EFM Board’s decision or resign.
B. Misuse of mission funds: Any misuse of mission funds for personal purposes or any embezzlement of mission funds will be cause for immediate dismissal, restitution, and possible criminal prosecution in a severe case.
C. Materialism: It is recognized that a difference in the standard of living between missionaries and nationals can be a cause for tension; consequently, money and possessions may nullify a missionary’s effectiveness in ministry. To avoid unnecessary criticism of the ministry, EFM encourages simplicity, balance, and generosity, which will help to avoid barriers between missionaries and nationals.