The term armorbearer is a Bible word, of course, but some leaders have grossly exaggerated the metaphoric meaning. Most of the problem lies in the fundamental comic book commitment of contemporary churchism to spiritual warfare.
A mighty warrior of the caliber needed to walk with a kingdom champion might be asked to care for the weapons, but he is not a slave asked to wash his socks.
The idea that an armorbearer is a little boy privileged to receive a scrap of bread dropped from the mighty hero at lunch, ask to lug a shield he cannot wield into battle, where he stands around hoping no arrows pierce him while exposed as a piece of trash, is too ridiculous to consider in a Biblical context.
That sounds like Attila the Hun, not Jesus of Nazareth.
Armorbearer in Churchism or Kingdom Culture?
First, let’s dispense with the current definitions and operations of churchism as a basis for the role of any and all alignments and assignments in ministry.
Most armorbearer discussions and training focus their attention on a local church’s organizational context. They use church-growth or churchism administration as an operational model and “pastor” by that model as the leader. They study corporate models to improve churchism efficiency.
Armorbearer is more of a helps ministry for churchism. In some instances, It is a personal butler or maid, sometimes a chattel slavery role for weird, weak, and narcissistic leaders.
Here’s one churchism statement: “Armor Bearers greet First Lady on arrival, escort to and from the sanctuary, in attendance during service, and attends to her administrative needs as directed. Also, serves and assists with all visiting First Ladies.”
Now, that is one of the oddest things I have ever read. A leader needs someone to greet her upon arrival, escort her to and from the sanctuary, sit by her in the service, and attend to her administrative need as directed? Then, if visiting dignitaries show up, the same services are provided to them?
How did we get from “carries a warrior’s weapons in battle and fights from his backside” to “Oh my, I dropped my hankie. Pick it up, slave?”
That model is wrong no matter how we look at the role of armorbearer in the new covenant sense.
Kingdom and the Metaphor
Second, let’s get the metaphor correct in its meaning for kingdom leadership. We cannot have armorbearers serving alongside us who are not experts in the same ministry we do. That expertise is about what we do in the spirit as spiritual leaders with the same application of that priority to our natural obedience and implementation of spiritual assignments.
Great leaders who are great followers can sometimes come alongside kingdom leaders without diminishing their specific personal assignments because assignments overlap. It is the overlap that matches a leader with armorbearers.
There is not “mow my yard” for free in armorbearer. A deacon might do if that service allowed a kingdom leader time for priorities of the kingdom.
Personally, I pay someone to do my lawn simply because I travel, and I’m really particular about the quality of the lawn service.
So, I would never allow a volunteer to determine the quality of my lawn care. I did that once, and the guy almost killed my prized palm tree, whacking away at it like it was a raspberry shrub.
The idea that we need to train someone to sit with my wife in service is about as Biblical as using chocolate, and peanut butter fudge for communion served with a strawberry shake. The idea is so foreign to the Scriptures that one wonders who in the universe of God’s order, a person could arrive on that distant shore of delusion.
Spiritual Battle and Armorbearers
So, the metaphor of natural battlefields is correctly applied to spiritual battlefields.
While we might discuss the care of a warrior’s weapons, we are not discussing the use of another warrior capable of covering his back against fierce enemies to wash his socks. We might see how churchism, void of spiritual warfare, landed upon the idea that an armorbearer polishes the brass on a warrior’s fake trophies.
We cannot see how that applies to an active general or mighty warrior in the spiritual battle. If we suppose there is any context of comparison for armorbearers. In that case, they must be capable of facing the same enemies as their leader.
To say an armorbearer carries my Bible is just plain silly. It reveals a level of silliness in the leaders who abuse people with this kind of nonsense. If you can’t even carry your own Bible because you are too stupid to organize your life, giving a living, breathing adult that task, so you can look superior, is a mockery. Then, screaming at them if your glasses aren’t in front of you reveals you are a narcissistic bozo, not a great general.
Kingdom Center Armorbearers
Here at the Kingdom Center, I train leaders to deal with the “carry your own Bible” aspects of ministry by having them in charge of setting up the room. I never do that because I’m too lazy to do it myself. Sigh. I do it for training, so they learn how to do it with faithfulness lest they think just showing up is all that is needed.
If you are the preacher, you should understand how to set up your preaching. Don’t become the victim of the weakest link in the context of your preaching.
On the other hand, don’t become a dictator among men showing some superior “I be ‘god on earth’ because I carry the anointing superiority. Serve me. Kiss the ring. Honor me as a slave.”
The armorbearer must train in the same ministry the leader with whom he ministers is doing while developing his own ministry as he followed fresh orders from the Supreme Commander.
See the role of an armorbearer as a champion in battle with the level of expertise and experience to stand right next to a champion in the same conflict.
The armorbearer isn’t in the position of a sacrificial lamb. The armorbearer’s health and welfare are of great importance to the strategic battleplan he is joined.
I wouldn’t include someone in my battles that was untrained or ready for the warfare so they could suffer for me, draw fire, and die to protect me.
The armorbearer does not cover up my sins and protects me from bad press. The armorbearer is free to see my life and say I am unworthy of his warfare if I am a fraud. He will see my weakness, and I will see his. He and I understand how his strength and my strength work together. I remain his leader, but he is not dispensable.
If I am a champion, I don’t need a goffer. Remember how David poured out the water his champions risked their lives to bring him. David was saying, “I’m not going to drink something worth the lives of my fellow warriors. They should invest that daring in the battle, not my personal comforts and whims.”
If I were afraid of wounds and death, I would stay at home! I’m not asking someone to take a bullet for me. An armorbearer isn’t my source of protection! I don’t ask an armorbearer to protect me when I have angels of heaven and the Son of God on my side!
The strategic positioning of an armorbearer provides for greater boldness in battle. It is empowering to the champion leader to know someone with his heart, assigned by God to his assignment, stands with him.