Staying in Bounds: Straight Talk on Boundaries for Effective Ministry

by Eileen Schmitz. Chalice Press, 2010.

Healthy boundaries clarify “where I end and you begin” and protect clergy and laity alike. As a licensed counselor, Eileen Schmitz’s goal is to define, explain, and offer suggestions for clergy and lay-leaders to embrace healthy boundaries for ministry. Schmitz provides real-life stories, addresses the dangers of inappropriate boundaries, and covers the theological and psychological aspects of boundary-keeping. Misconduct, power, intimacy, “role confusion,” and communal boundaries are all part of Schmitz’s discussion. While Schmitz says that her work is not exhaustive, she offers additional helps, such as boundary assessment tools for self-awareness, reflection questions for enhancing self-awareness, and suggests practical applications for ministry. The detailed table of contents can quickly lead readers to reach for this book whenever they find themselves in a bit of a quandary with respect to boundaries and boundary-keeping. This book is written from a Christian perspective, and Christians will be most comfortable with it.