Mark Dever has a striking set of observations on a pastor's colloquium which he (and I) attended in which the issue of complementarianism divided the room. While most of the attendees agreed in substance with the idea that only men should serve as ordained pastors, there was a difference in strategy and presentation. Dever went on to observe that "those older than me who are complementarian generally want to downplay this issue, and those younger than me want to lead with it, or at least be very up front about it."
Let me say first of all that I agree essentially with the complementarian position. Having wrestled at length with the egalitarian exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, I find a great deal of it unconvincing. I believe that Paul argues there that when it comes to the authorative transmission of God's Word in the public worship of God's people, God affirms male leadership. This has nothing to do with the respective value of men and women and everything to do with order, both creational and contemporary order. Further, while I affirm that only men should exercise ordained leadership, Paul (and for that matter, God) places a high value on women's ministry gifts and envisions a large role for them in the church's life together (as in 1 Timothy 5:1-16). So, I affirm the basic complementarian position.
That being said, I disagree with Mark's observation. I think in Southern Baptist circles, where professors, church leaders, and others have made this a huge issue for the church, younger men see this as a dividing line for the gospel (when you have someone as godly and smart as Tom Schriener observing in one book that this is the crucial Gospel issue for this generation, it is hard for younger men to differ). However, as one who is a few years younger than Mark and who serves in different circles, the younger men with whom I serve do not see this as the dividing line issue. And frankly, neither do I.
In fact, I think we make a big mistake when we lead with this issue--unconverted, secular people won't understand issues related to creational, family, and church order until they first understand their own great need for Jesus. Once they have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus, then as they are instructed in God's Word, we can teach them about how God desires his household to be ordered. But to make a matter of family and church order central strikes me as creating unnecessary walls for secular people to leap in order to come to faith in Jesus.
In this regard, J. Gresham Machen is instructive. In his Christianity and Liberalism, he readily admits that inerrancy is not a doctrine required for salvation. That doesn't make it unnecessary; it simply puts it in its proper place. In the same way, complementarianism should not be the issue with which evangelical Protestants lead; rather, the central message of the Gospel of Jesus should be our bond of unity for which we should be zealous. As a 30-something, that doesn't mean that I believe gender issues are unimportant; they are simply not central and essential for being Christian in this world today.