My high school algebra teacher was a muscular man who wore a large, rather intimidating ring on his right hand. Whenever he wrote on the chalkboard or motioned using his right hand, this ring demanded your attention.

One day, a classmate spoke up to ask the teacher about his ring. The smile stretching across my teacher’s face indicated he had been waiting for someone to comment on his particularly conspicuous piece of jewelry.

We learned that day that our teacher played football at the University of Oklahoma. The ring was a trophy of sorts, reminding him of the days he proudly wore crimson and cream. The same classmate who asked about the ring quipped that he did not remember our teacher ever playing. Without skipping a beat, the teacher patiently replied, “I said I was on the team. I did not say that I played.”

Every championship team has players on the second string who play an important role in the team’s success. You may not know their name, and you may not buy their jersey, but the second string play an important role in helping the team prepare for each opponent they face.

The hard work and dedication of many players who never shine in the spotlight is a vital part of a championship team’s winning ways. The all-stars all benefit from the hard work of the second string. When the team wins a ring, the second string get a ring too, and some of them wear their rings proudly for their algebra class to notice.

The church is a lot like a winning football team in this way. Just as each member on a football team plays an important role in the team’s success, each member of the local church plays an important role the Body of Christ.

However, unlike a football team, the church has no second string. In Rom. 12:5, Paul writes about the importance of every member of the body stating, “We who are many are one Body in Christ and individually members of one another.

Every member of the church matters. By God’s design, we each contribute something unique to the Body of Christ, making it stronger.

The goal for every one of us is to make our membership matter the most it can for the good of the body and the glory of Jesus Christ. The question you must consider is how you will do this—how will you make the most of your membership? I believe you make your membership matter by loving and serving others according to the example set by Jesus Christ.

You see, a commitment to Christ is also a commitment to His church. A commitment to the church is a commitment to the members of the church. It is not merely a commitment to an institution or a program, but to ministry.

A commitment to the church is a commitment to people. It is a commitment to know and to be known. It is not about what we demand from others, but rather what we will do for others. Commitment to the church is not just about what we believe, but what we become as we grow closer to Jesus and closer to each other.

There is no second string in the church. In Christ, we are each empowered with spiritual gifts in order that we might encourage one another and advance the Gospel.

You will never fulfill your ministry from the sidelines. Jesus has called you to be part of the action through committing to the local church to partner with others in loving people to faith in Christ and multiplying disciples.

If you are not actively serving in your church, I want to encourage you that it is time to get off the sidelines and to get in the game!