For the past 13 years I’ve been armor bearer and personal assistant to my pastor. Over the years I’ve received lots of questions about what I do and how I do it. This post is for everyone who thinks they have either been called to this ministry or just want to be in this ministry. If you aspire to be an armor bearer or ministry assistant, read through each category below and give some serious thought to what is shared.
This ministry is not for everyone. I have a friend with whom I work very closely in ministry; we are both on staff at our church. She and I have many of the same gifts and skills so I asked her to stand in as an armor bearer for a guest minister one day when we were short handed. By the time we left the church it was after midnight. She looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you do this but it’s not for me.”
This articles is based strictly on my personal experience. Every ministry is different and has its own preferences and expectations.
What’s Your Motive?
Why Do You Want To Be An Armor Bearer? If you seek or accept a ministry position with the wrong motives you probably won’t last long. You may become frustrated or burnout quickly. There is a reason God gave us spiritual gifts and talents to equip us for ministry.
An armor bearer or personal assistant to a senior pastor should have a strong desire to assist the pastor, ministry leaders, and ministry guests. This desire is not to be close to the pastor or others in ministry. It is not a desire to see or be seen; to know or be known. An armor bearer or personal assistant wants to help make ministry easier and less stressful for the people they serve. They want to help their ministry leader focus on ministry and prayer rather than the minutiae associated with ministry.
Friendly But Not Familiar
Armor bearers and personal assistants are called to serve. We are not called to be the pastor’s or ministry leaders’ friend. By all means, we should be friendly and helpful. We should be eager to serve in a pleasant manner with an approachable attitude. However, we must recognize the thin line between friendly and familiar. It is not our job to engage in conversations of a personal nature or try to be buddies with those we serve.
One of the most valuable skills an armor bearer can have is the ability to anticipate. To anticipate the needs of others, we must be observant and alert. Once we begin to serve, we learn our leaders needs. If the person we serve tends to sweat a lot, we should always have a towel or handkerchief for them. If they usually don’t have a pen, keep pens on hand. We can also anticipate needs based on body language and non-verbal signals.
Everything we can think of before it’s needed helps our leaders focus on ministering.
Learn To Be Invisible
When serving, it’s not about us. It’s about ministering to the needs of others without becoming the center of attention. We should not draw attention to ourselves. If you like attention and tend to be the life of the party, this is not the job for you. This is something I took to heart, so much so that when I traveled with my pastor I always wore black, gray or brown so I would not stand out.
If we serve with excellence, we will be noticed for our service.
No gossipers allowed. Serving pastors and ministry leaders sometimes allows armor bearers to be privy to private conversations. This doesn’t mean that you will be privy to your pastor’s deep, dark secrets. But it does mean there will be conversations that aren’t meant to be repeated. When we overhear discussions between our ministry leaders and/or guests those conversations should be treated as confidential.
On occasion, we will be privy to confidential conversations. We don’t discuss them; not even with our spouse.
Don’t Be Like Gehazi
Gehazi served as Elisha’s ministry assistant. He served with honor and distinction for many years until he used Elisha’s name for dishonest gain. Don’t use your association with your pastor or other ministry leaders for selfish gain.
Family and Time Management
If armor bearing or personal assistant is your calling, it will become a priority in your life. If you are married and have children living at home you must find balance. Your spouse and children should not feel like they have to compete for your time and attention.
In a few days I will follow-up this article with one that addresses armor bearer selection and training and full time assistants.