From my earliest memories I can recall "going to church." As a kid, it was always the ladies who took care of me. They taught me Sunday School, gave me snacks, played games with me, etc. As I grew older, I continued to see much of the actual service in the church performed by the ladies. When someone was sick, the ladies brought the food. When someone was dying, it was usually the women who came by to visit. When a task needed done, the females in the body stepped up.
From what I could see, the ladies carried more than their fair share of the burden of serving others. However, when I attended worship services, it was the men who took the lead role. Men preached. Men led the singing. Men took up the offering. Men prayed. While the women served in the background, the men took center stage. It should not be so.
Paul tells us clearly in I Corinthians 12 that every member of the body is critical to the health of the church. No one member is more important than any other. And yet, women have been relegated to the background for much of the life of the church. It's not right. We should recognize and appreciate the ladies in the body for the work they do. As a man, I need to be certain that I don't make the women feel like second-class citizens in the church. I realize that men and women have different, complementary roles to play. However, this doesn't suggest for a second that either role is more important than the other. Simply put, women matter in the life of the church.
I do not write this post for reasons of political correctness (I couldn't care less about that). I don't write it out of some sort of latent guilt feelings. Rather, I write it because the women in the church are absolutely critical to the life and health of the body. We should recognize them as such. Regardless of where we fall on the institutional-organic spectrum of church life, let's make sure the ladies know how important and cherished they are.
In light of this, I'm going to write a series of short posts highlighting some of the women in the New Testament church. Again and again, we read of their exemplary service to the New Covenant community. As the women served back then, they continue to serve today. The church would not function without them. We men must ensure that our sisters in Christ know how important they are to the church family as a whole.