In today's ongoing debate over women's leadership in the church, the discussion has focused on God's intention for men and women and which of them can preach, teach, and lead. But we've overlooked another factor: how the pulpit has become a coveted idol of contemporary Christianity.
Many of us have come to believe, consciously or unconsciously, that the man standing up front every Sunday is the only one doing real ministry. Sure, our church might have a "music minister," a "children's minister," and so on, but we see those positions as ancillary. We have made the pastorate and church eldership idolized positions. We have turned preaching into the enviable celebrity focus of ministry. I'm afraid that in this Internet age, mass-media pastors (deserving as they may be of accolades and honor) have often become an ill-fitting archetype for what congregants expect of their local ministry.
Of course, preaching the word remains a central point ...1