Pastors -- well, all Christians -- need to have mental walls separating themselves and sin. But James McDonald has eloquently written about the need for moral fences which serve as early-warning barriers before temptation arrives at the wall. Here they are:
1) I will not, under any circumstances, ride alone in a car with a female other than my wife or an immediate family member.
2) I do not counsel women in a closed room or more than once.
3) I do not stay alone in a hotel over night.
4) I speak often and publicly of my affection for my wife, when she is present and when she is not.
5) Compliment the character or the conduct - not the coiffure or the clothing.
Very sensible. I have stayed alone in a hotel room, such as at MethoBlogCon, but it's pretty rare that I travel anywhere other than to relatives, so it's not a regular event.
One of McDonald's points is that these fences need to exist in public, even though clergy misconduct is not something that we like to talk about:
When the message came to the "how to prevent" part, I simply downloaded the five moral fences to everyone. At the staff level we require a more detailed list of moral fences. From pastors to ministry leaders, to custodians and bookstore staff, every paid staff member is regularly held accountable for this moral code. A former singles pastor found it very difficult not to have lunch alone with women in his ministry, and often "forgot." That is, until we told him we would "forget" to pay him if he "forgot" again.
These fences are handy to not only avoid temptation, but false accusation. A pastor should avoid not only impropriety, but even the appearance of it.
Not that gossiping ever occurs in the Church, of course.
Hat tip: Jason Woolever