(By J. Lee Grady) My friend Charles wanted a mentor. He was eager to learn the ropes of ministry, so he asked an older pastor for training. The pastor agreed—but Charles soon realized the man wanted a valet, not an apprentice. Charles became the man’s “armor bearer.”  The man never took Charles on hospital visits, involved him in ministry assignments or prayed with him. Instead, Charles was expected to carry the guy’s briefcase, fetch coffee and take suits to the cleaners—with no salary offered. In this case, “armor bearer” was a hyper-spiritualized term for “slave.”

The bizarre armor-bearer trend became popular in churches more than 20 years ago, but unfortunately, it’s still practiced in some circles. It appeals to insecure leaders who need an entourage to make them feel important. Some pastors have even assigned trainees to serve as bodyguards—complete with dark glasses and concealed weapons. They are instructed to keep people away from the pastor so he doesn’t have to talk to anyone after a church service (because the poor preacher might be “drained of his anointing” if he fraternizes with common folks).  READ MORE