Legal

Christian Distinctives focuses on providing resources that assist organisations with the practical outworking of legislation. CD is not a legal advice service - if you are uncertain whether you meet the requirements of the new legislation, we recommend that you seek country specific legal advice on the recruitment of Christians. The information in this section aims to (a) give answers to questions we are often asked in relation to the recruitment of Christians in the UK, and (b) discuss the notion of "ethos".

Q: "You've mentioned Ethos a number of times, but what is it about?"

A: Ethos is not so much about what organisations do; it's much more about the way people behave in organisations and, as a result, the way organisations are. For Christian organisations, developing a relational ethos that reflects the love of God is essential for creating the culture and community we should be striving for. Further information about Ethos is given below.

Q: "Is it true that Christian organisations can no longer choose to just employ Christians?"

A: Since 2004 it has been illegal in the UK to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief in regards to employment. However, when the organisation concerned has an ethos based on religion or belief, there may be an Occupational Requirement for some of their post-holders to be of that faith. This, however, does not mean there can be a "blanket policy" on employing only Christians in a Christian organisation or church. For further details on the current UK law you may want to read our briefing on the Equality Act 2010.

Q: "Do Christian organisations need an Ethos Statement?"

A: It is not essential, but it is highly recommended. As English legislation requires any discrimination in employing a person of a particular faith to have regard to the organisation's ethos, it is important for organisations to be able to articulate that ethos. Some have found this exercise of writing down their ethos in a statement difficult, but really helpful. For more information on writing ethos statements click here.

Q: "What kind of values should Christian organisations be displaying?"

A: The values that CD have considered as essential to any Christian organisation are being individual-aware (valuing each person), inclusive (fairness and belonging), interdependent (shown in working together), and showing integrity (in who we are and what we do). Foundational to all these values is being Christ-Centred. To read more about these click on "Organisational Values - a Biblical Basis".