Women have an indispensable, invaluable, and irreplaceable role to play in the ministry of the church and of the home. Just as an important and necessary one as men do. Without women, there would be no human population as they are the ones who bear and give birth to the next generation. A child would be deprived without the nurture and influence of his or her mother (and some unfortunately have been through circumstances which they had no control over). And where would we be without women missionaries such as Elizabeth Elliot and the numerous areas in the church in which women faithfully serve for its edification and to bring glory to God? How many younger women in the church would be hurting without those older ones teaching them what it means to be a godly wife and mother (Titus 2:3-5)? The home and the church need faithful men and women serving within them to flourish and to fulfill God's calling for both.
However, while God has an important place for men and women to serve in the home and in His church, Scripture is clear that He has not designed them to serve in the same way but has called them to different roles in both. God in His good wisdom, for the glory of His name, has determined for men to serve as leaders in their homes and in His household, the church, and for women to serve as the men's helpers in these areas. This is evident form God's very creation of man and woman. He explicitly said to Adam that He was designing this woman that He was going to make to be a helper corresponding to him (Genesis 2:18). And when they both disobeyed God in the Garden, it is significant to note that God approaches Adam first instead of Eve, even though she had taken the first bite (Genesis 3:9). The man was summoned to give an account for his family as a leader is to give an account for those who submit to and follow his leadership.
We see these differing roles play out in both the home and the church. As a husband and father, man has been called to be the head and leader of his home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). If you will, we could say that the man is to be the pastor, protector, and provider of and for his family. (You can't tell that I'm a preacher who likes to alliterate, can you?) And the wife and mother is called to submit to and respect her husband's leadership (Ephesians 5:24, 33). This in no way makes the wife and mother less important or inferior to her husband. No more than it does the husband and father to the wife and mother due to him not being designed to bear and give birth to his own children. He has a very crucial indispensable role himself to play in the process of that child being formed but certainly not the same role that the woman has. Both are needed with their distinct roles and a family as God has designed is not possible without one or the other. The different roles that God has designed for men and women to have in the home are equally important and needed, although the roles themselves are not equal.
The same thing is true in the church. And here is where I am about to get even more controversial because this flies flat in the face of our current culture. We can always expect the values of God's kingdom to run counter cultural to those of man's kingdom. In fact, I think that we should find it problematic whenever any of our views line up with the way the world is heading. Though unpopular, even within some areas of the church today, I see no way of getting around the clear and plain teaching of Scripture that God has intended men to occupy the primary leadership roles in the church. We notice this prescribed with the office of pastor or elder limited to qualified men (1 Timothy 2:12-15; 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 14:34-36) and the practice of Jesus and the early church in the appointing of 12 men to serve as apostles (Luke 6:12-16) and 7 men to lead in the distribution of the food for the widows (Acts 6:3). Just as women submit to the leadership of their husbands at home and valuably contribute with their own work, so women do in the church under the leadership of the elders or pastors.
Now, the only way that this could be seen to be degrading of women or devaluing of them would be for the pastorate to be elevated to a greater status than other areas of service in the church, which Scripture does not do. Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 12 that every member of the church has an important, indispensable, and distinct role to play in the work of the church. Hence why, in the analogy of the body that he uses, the ear cannot say to the eye that it has no need of it. If the body consisted of nothing but eyes, it could never hear or walk. The body cannot function as it has been designed without all of its parts. It would be lacking in some sense if it was missing just one part as anyone who has ever lost the use of an arm, leg, or eye can attest to. And if one of the parts decided that it would serve as a different part than designed, the body also would be hurting and not able to function fully.
Likewise, in the church, every member is needed with whatever role that they have been graciously given to play. If all would be pastors, the church would severely be lacking and much work would not get done. Which is why we need women to come alongside to teach other women how to faithfully serve their families at home (Titus 2:3-5 again). Something no pastor or elder can do since they do not have that experience. And the same can be said for so many other areas in the church women have been called to serve as well.
So, don't let anyone ever tell you that women do not have an indispensable role to play in the home or in the church because they have not been called to lead in these areas. The fact of the matter is that they have an invaluable role to play in contributing to God's work as helpers and we would not be able to function without them. I am so thankful for the women who currently are faithfully serving with the role that God has designed for them to have and pray that He would raise up more since our families and churches greatly need them!
Soli Deo Gloria!!!