Matt Forte is a former NFL running back, first drafted into the NFL in 2008 by the Chicago Bears. Outside of football, Matt is a devoted follower of Christ, husband, and father. He and his wife have established the foundation, “What’s Your Forte?” for underprivileged youth in Chicago.
Five Increase Questions
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
My faith in Christ keeps me humble, calm, and grounded. I know that my talent in football is given by God for a purpose. My faith in Him keeps me focused on what’s important—focused on Jesus Christ and not my own success or failures.
Describe how your Journey with Christ began.
I was brought up in the Christian faith my entire life. My grandfather was a pastor and my family has always been active in and faithful to the church. I didn’t always understand everything about the faith at an early age, but I did have a good foundation. I admit that living the Christian life became routine for me. I got up and went to church on Sunday in the same way that I got up to go to school every weekday. It was routine. I wasn’t fully sold out or pursuing Christ on my own—I had a shallow relationship with Christ. But as I went through high school, I discovered that faith in Christ was about so much more than that. In my senior year of high school I renewed my relationship with Christ at an altar call during one Sunday service. And that certainly wasn’t the end of the process; I continue to transform and grow closer to Christ every day. In college specifically, I learned that if you don’t stay connected, you can fall away. As my hectic football schedule kept me from being able to attend church, I had to really pursue my faith on my own and in Christian community so that I could stay grounded and connected.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
My roommate in college, Michael Parenton, who I met my freshman year, has been a great Christian brother and mentor to me. As we started growing deeper in our own faith walks, we were able to hold each other accountable and challenge each other. Because of our friendship, I’ve grown a lot in my walk with Christ. When I was drafted by the Bears, our chaplain Ray McElroy was able to really encourage me in my faith and keep me grounded. He showed me that life is about more than football; it’s about giving glory to God in all that you do. My father, Gene Forte, has always been there for me, given me great advice, and supported me in all I’ve done. When I was younger I remember that he told me that many people think that when you give your life to Christ that everything will be easy and peaceful. But life with Christ doesn’t mean nothing bad ever happens; in a fallen world, sickness and hurt are realities. My father also told me that if the devil is not messing with you, it probably means he already has you. That really stuck with me. . . .
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
The Increase of Christ means that I will decrease and He will increase. As I decrease myself, I will become more like Him. Whenever we step aside to let Christ shine through our lives, He is glorified and we’re filled with His purpose and joy.
What is your life verse and why?
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” —Psalm 27:1 This is a verse that I’ve really been able to rest in because I know that the Lord is my stronghold—the light of my life—and I have no reason to fear.