Firstly, thank you for taking the time to log on and read this post. I am honoured to share with you my experience serving as an assistant youth pastor and hope that you will receive something from it.
1 Samuel 14:7 New International Version
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armour bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
I absolutely love this passage about Jonathan and his armour bearer. It is my go-to phrase when I am asked what I do; rather than just responding that I’m an assistant youth pastor, I respond that I am an armour bearer.
Assistant youth pastors can look like a lot different things depending on your role requirements and who you are. You could be the admin beast of your youth ministry or the young gun that is primed up to be the next lead youth pastor. Regardless, I believe there are many keys that can be applied to any assistant leader to unlock personal growth and potential. So, in this post, I’m going to focus on three of them.
I love that in this passage the armour-bearer says, “Do all that you have in your mind” and that he followed Jonathan and his God given plan. We need to understand that as assistants we follow our leader – their vision and plan for the youth ministry. Our responsibility is to take their vision and ideas, to run with them and to implement them. Yes, we are leaders in our own right and our styles or approach may be different, but we don’t steer the ship. We gather leaders and a team to outwork the goal that has been spoken over the youth ministry by our leader.
As leaders in general we are all under authority, just like I am to my youth pastor as well as the youth pastor is to the senior pastor. We will always have people above us and people that will follow us as well. I would put this to you: you want to follow your leader in the way you would want your leaders to follow you.
Being a servant leader is one of the fundamental principles of leadership. I would say that in this particular role, as the assistant youth pastor, serving your youth pastor and church should be a priority. In the case of the armour-bearer, he says that he is with him “heart and soul”. So like him, we should be serving our pastor and ministry so we can get the job done.
Sometimes as leaders we think that we’ve made it or that we’ve settled in a position, but I believe that when we humble ourselves to serve someone else’s vision, helping it come to fruition, that one day someone will serve our own God vision too.
Practically, this might look like being alert and observant, paying attention to detail or being well organised to help serve the person above you. Sometimes it could be something as simple as being a sounding board or co-strategist when brainstorming ideas, other times it could be assisting with an area that they need help. Whatever it looks like, we are called to serve.
I believe that honouring our leaders is a very biblical and central way we should act as assistant youth pastors. No matter who our leader is (if they’ve been great or challenging) honour is always due to them.
One of the roles of the armour bearer is to shoulder some of the weight that the leader is carrying. We need to be prepared to take a bullet for them, back them up, speak highly of them to the team and defend in times of battle.
Honour is something that unlocks spiritual favour – God honours you when you honour others.
I would have loved to share examples and experiences of my journey as an assistant youth pastor, but I think that this post would go for days if I did! I hope that you still got something out of these three keys that are core to effective ministry as an assistant youth pastor. If you’re in this sort of role in this season, can I encourage you to follow, serve and honour your leaders as well as your youth ministry. God will give you the grace, wisdom and favour to see you through to what He has called you to.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be fair for me to finish this post without honouring my own leader, Ps Dave Edgar, who has taught me an incredible amount. I honour you for the leader that you are and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your armour bearer. I’m really humbled that I get to do this role.
Ps Ramon Raux
Assistant Youth Pastor
Faith Christian Church