I get chills when I see the picture below… Assistants are an extension of the pastor’s arm, or at least they were, in my time. Both, the pastor and the assistants shared the responsibility of keeping the church in order; of warmly greeting and welcoming those who came into the church.
Before the meeting started, the assistants stood at the door greeting people as they came in, they formed close relationships with some and they followed-up with new members to ensure their spiritual growth.
The assistants knew when and why members stopped coming to church, and whenever someone missed an important meeting, the assistant would go looking for them.
After the meeting, they’d stand in front of the altar, waiting for those who wanted to receive prayer; some still felt burdened, some still felt pain and others requested prayers for their family.
Everyone highly respected the Assistants; they were confident in God and their uniform exuded power, causing the devil to tremble. In fact, even I trembled whenever I approached an assistant to talk to them, because I had so much respect for them.
Back then, not everyone was called to serve as an assistant. Oh no, they weren’t… It was an arduous process. I don’t want to belittle today’s assistants, but it was quite different back then.
In the late 80s and early 90s, assistants were definitely the pastor’s “right-hand person”.
Just so you have an idea, I’m going to state some examples you might not have heard before. Picture this:
It’s Sunday, 7:25am and the service should have begun at 7am, but for some unexpected reason, the pastor hasn’t shown up yet to start the service. An assistant picks up the microphone, kneels down, prays, gets back up, looks out into the congregation and says, “Good morning, please stand in the name of our Lord Jesus. The pastor hasn’t arrived yet, but let’s starts the service by seeking God’s presence. Sing with me: In this place of adoration, I came to seek You wholeheartedly, All of my life I want to offer You ….”
I’ve only seen two assistants start the service for the pastor, ask for tithes and offering, and “preach”, until the pastor arrived and took it from there.
I believe that what crossed those assistants’ minds must have been something like: “Thank you Lord for this opportunity”.
By: Assistant Alexandre Fernandes
(Read more on Part II next week)