What is an Armorbearer / Adjutant?
Copyrighted Material from the book “Called Alongside – Ministering in the Spirit of an Armorbearer” by Pamela R Smith
And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. ~1 Samuel 16:21
Armorbearer is one of the most misunderstood, cause for tension among fellow members, and unfortunately abused role in some churches. Why? Because we don't understand that armorbearing is an attitude of the heart. In some churches I have seen people in the title of an "armorbearer" being abused and treated as houseboys/girls, frequently humiliated and taken advantage of to the point that it was clear we have failed to understand "ministering in the spirit of an armorbearer."
Coming soon we will launch our armorbearer blog so we can bring clarity and restore what it means to minister in the spirit of an armorbearer.
In the natural sense, an adjutant is one who helps a commanding officer with administrative affairs. The Online Etymology Dictionary defines an adjutant as a “military officer who assists superior officers.” It also defines it as, “one who helps, a helper, to give help, give strength, support.” According to Easton Bible Dictionary:
An armorbearer was an officer selected by generals and kings because of his bravery, not only to bear their armor but also to stand by them in the time of danger. They were the adjutants of our modern armies.
In the religious realm, an adjutant is one who helps, assists, and gives strength and support to pastoral leadership, his or her delegates, visiting ministers, and the vision and mission of the church. It is one who is able to consistently, willingly, be in place to be an aid to leadership and the vision of the church. This applies to all those serving in any ministerial capacity, from the parking attendant to the associate minister.
When we understand what it means to minister in the spirit of an armorbearer, we will no longer just throw people into positions in the church, but we will place them where there strengths and callings lie and we will wait on God to direct us. Many churches endure strife and church splits because they appoint talented, but spiritually and emotionally immature people to serve in leadership roles.
For example, did you know that ushers are leaders? In many churches they are the first contact your guests and members have upon entering the church on Sunday morning? They represent your church. When I see your usher, I see your church. Are your ushers skilled in their role and emotionally and spiritually mature enough to handle the role? Ushering can be challenging and it is not for everyone. How many potential members have you lost because of an usher with a bad disposition?
In order to flow effectively, an adjutant should not be a babe in the faith. Look at the original definition. It defines an adjutant as a “military officer who assists superior officers.” To qualify to be an adjutant, you must have a firm foundation. Officers are leaders and are trusted with assignments. Before I can sing in the choir, usher, work in the kitchen, serve in the nursery, etc., I must have firm biblical foundation. There are more fallouts in the choir, kitchen, and other departments where we place talent above calling and knowledge of God. Why? Often because we allow talented people to serve who have little root in the Word and they become easily offended (Mark 4:16–17). It takes more than talent to serve as an adjutant. You must also be called and have a biblical foundation before being released to serve.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. ~ Mark 4:16-17
An adjutant must also have a loving relationship with God. He must be the center of attention and the motivating factor as to why one is serving. God alone is to be worshipped. Your love for God will help restrain you when you want to go off on someone. Your love for God will keep you committed to the assignment when you feel mistreated. Your love for God will help you stay focused on ministry.
Duties of an Adjutant/Armorbearer
You may ask, “What are my responsibilities and how do I fulfill them?” I am aware that churches have different roles for their armorbearers; however, it is important to be aware that I believe we all should possess the spirit of an armorbearer; therefore, my book addresses different roles and responsibilities from the church secretary to the minister of music and more.
Duties of Those with the Official Title of Armorbearer / Adjutant
- Be available – If your church leadership has officially appointed you to the position of armorbearer / adjutant and you have accepted that role, then you must be available to serve in that capacity. You must understand the level of commitment that is required and follow through on your commitment.
- Be in position – Being in position is more than just showing up. It entails being present spiritually, mentally and emotionally. You must show up alert, spiritually in tune, emotionally stable and intact.
- Be willing – Your willingness to serve goes a long way. There are people in various roles but their heart is not willing and their attitude reflects it. Skill is great but when service comes out of a begrudging (resenting having to serve) heart it taints the gift even when coming from the most skillful (Exodus 35; 2 Corinthians 8:10-12).
- 1 Chronicles 28:21 And, behold, the courses
of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be
with thee for all the service of the house of God:
and there shall be with thee for all manner of
workmanship every willing skillful man, for any
manner of service: also the princes and all the
people will be wholly at thy commandment.
- Understand and respect boundaries – Your pastoral leadership is not to be seen as your “running buddy.” Relationship must be established, but you are not to call every night just to “chat.” Do not try to become too familiar with leadership. Do not overload leadership with your day-to-day personal life experiences.
- When in the car traveling to ministry
engagements, do not assume that is your
opportunity to receive personal counsel,
prophecies, etcetera from your pastor. You are
there to be an aid and give strength. You want
your pastor to be focused on the assignment at
hand. Use wisdom and do not allow the enemy to
use you to distract or aid in draining strength
- There are times when it is appropriate to share things and to seek prayer and advice from leadership and as you grow in your role as an armorbearer you will become more keenly aware of those occasions.
- Do not try to get to know your pastoral leadership or guest ministers in the flesh—do not seek to make fleshly connections. There are times armorbearers pick a guest minister up from the airport and try to develop a personal relationship so they can say, “I know him.”
- You should not be offended if the pastor does not call you daily. Keep the relationship in the correct perspective. There is an armorbearer and pastor I know where the pastor does not make a move without the armorbearer. This includes making decisions, etcetera. Their relationship is so out order that it has halted this pastor’s growth in ministry. You are not there to fill emotional needs that God has not ordained for you to do. Know your role and function within the parameters in which God has ordained. Any emotional needs you have or your pastor has, should be submitted to God, allowing him to provide direction, but do not develop a “soul tie” with your leadership. It is dangerous and it will blind your perception and may hinder you from fully serving effectively.
- There are times when people seek
notoriety; therefore, they may look for it
through fleshly connections. However, as an
adjutant you should be keenly aware that
there is immense spiritual warfare that goes
on when a minister comes to your church to
minister. He or she is on an assignment from
God. Some ministers may desire to go out to
dinner with you, but do not take it personal
if a minister does not.
- Transport individuals to and from airport and ministry locations.
- Serve water, food, etc.
- Distribute handkerchiefs, etc.
- Intercede before, during, and after services for leadership.
- Be alert of surroundings.
- Where are the exits?
- Where are the restrooms, water fountains, etc?
- What microphone do they have available for your leader to use?
- Do they have a beverage for your
leader and is it at the appropriate
temperature for your leader? (Many
are unaware that drinking ice cold water
before and immediately following preaching
is not good for your vocal cords, it chills the mucous membrane
causing you to be more susceptible to
viruses, and it fatigues your voice;
also speakers should not
drink anything with caffeine in it, as
it acts as a diuretic.)
- Will they be recording the service and if so, is your leader aware of any special requirements (such as time limits, etc)? If it is a training workshop developed by your leader, has appropriate approval been received from your leader to record the training?
- Who is in charge of the event and where is that person or designated representative?
- What are the seating arrangements?
- Is there designated parking for your leader? If not, where is the appropriate place to park?
- Who is the pastor or ministry leader of where your pastor will be ministering? Is he/she present?
- If your pastor has teaching materials available on CDs, etc, are you permitted to set up a table? If so, where, when and if you are charging a price for the materials, has it been approved by the pastoral leadership of that church?
- If your pastor permits you to sit in the pulpit (ministerial platform), is there a space available for you?
- Be sensitive to the flowing of the Holy Spirit during service.
- Watch your pastor and quickly make any necessary adjustments.
- Be ready to move at all times by staying focused to what is taking place as the Holy Spirit ministers to the people.
- Stand with leadership during altar call (this normally applies to those serving in the role of elder, associate minister, etc and it varies based on pastoral leadership preferences).
- Be a warrior in the spirit (you must know how to do spiritual warfare without being taken out yourself and without drawing attention to yourself during service).
- Be approachable (Romans 12:3).
- Be courteous to others (Romans 12:9-10).
- Be honest in the representation of your leader (never use your pastor’s name carte blanche). In other words, do not take advantage of your position by falsely insinuating your pastor has said something that he has not or that your pastor has made a request or has a need for something and it is not true. Avoid the Gehazi spirit (Chapter 6 of the book).
- Jesus is the star—not your pastor, not the guest minister, and not you. Always remain humble, flexible, and approachable.
- Do ministry and never get into idolatry (worshipping pastoral leadership).
- All of us should minister in the spirit of an armorbearer
Some churches have their armorbearers serving as “security guards.” Some even carry weapons. This book does not address “security-type armorbearers”, as it is my belief that security should fall under an established “Security Ministry” for the church. Security means risk management. It involves doing background checks on anyone who will be working with children or your church office and finances. It entails verifying references to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits.
The Security Ministry is well-trained, equipped, and endeavors to provide the congregation with a safe place to worship. “Safe Place” encompasses many things including your parking lot and other areas being well-lit, your entire facility being well-maintained, broken chairs thrown away, maintaining working fire-extinguishers, etc. Your Security Ministry must be knowledgeable of emergency procedures, accident prevention, facility management, etc. In biblical times, there were varying levels of ushers and some served as gatekeepers (equivalent to a Security Ministry). Even today, a number of churches have some of their ushers trained to serve within the “Security Ministry.” We believe it is best to tap into any police or trained security guards, military you have as members of your church to serve on your Security Ministry. In addition, ensure you are abiding by local and federal laws, so always seek professional advice prior to implementing a security team.