Skip to main content

From Super and Duper to Good and Faithful

By Jon Forrest 

Are you a report card person?

The digital age has ruined the trauma we used to feel with a good ol’ paper report card. Do you remember how the teacher would place that thick-papered official document in your hand at 2:48 on Friday afternoon and say, “Bring this back signed on Monday,” which ruined your entire weekend?

Some of you maniacs love the thought of being evaluated. You like getting an assessment of where you are and how you measure up to expectations.

I am not a report card fan. I’m kind of like Popeye, I am what I am. 

I think my attitude comes from my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Davis. I still have the report card. It has aged like the Declaration of Independence. My teacher’s full name was Constance Davis. By the way, If you name your kid “Constance,” just go ahead and give her a lanyard and readers to wear on a chain because she is going to teach third grade at some point. 

She was a wonderful teacher, but on the back of this report card in the “comments” section she wrote, “I’m afraid that things have been too easy for too long. He’s a bit lazy if he has to do any thinking.”

They don’t make’em like that anymore, do they? I’d like to think I was so smart school got boring, but Mrs. Davis was quick to point out, I’m just lazy. So yeah, I’m not a big report card fan.

But as bad as I despise report cards, it would be kind of nice to get one from the Lord maybe every other semester. I’d like to know how I’m doing as a disciplemaker.

Without a little feedback, how else do you know how you’re doing? Is it a numbers game? Is it ever ok to take my foot off the accelerator a little?

I mean, shouldn’t we all aspire to be the Michael Jordan of disciplemaking?

I’ve always had this dream to disciple every student in my town. My town is not that big. I could see myself walking down main street with a sea of students behind me. As we go, I look toward the gas station by the courthouse and someone steps out who is not a Christian. So I motion in their direction and a wave of disciples breaks off and brings him into the crowd. Then we all rejoice and four people pat me on the back. 

This goes on until one day when I enter Heaven the angels start a slow clap for me. One yells out “Magnificent!” The Lord says, “Magnificent job, you super and duper hero of disciplemaking!”

It’s a beautiful scene. Unfortunately, it’s also wildly unbiblical and counterproductive. 

You know the parable in Matthew 25 where the master leaves his servants with varying numbers of talents? The one with five made five more. The lord said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The servant with two, makes two more. Again Jesus says the exact same thing, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

It’s not a stretch to assume if the servant who had one talent had invested it and made one more, Jesus would’ve said to him, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

It’s not only obvious that Jesus isn’t into a numbers game. It’s also pretty clear that He is not looking for magnificent super and duper heroes. He’s looking for good, faithful, servants. 

I want to encourage you to adjust your pace. What if we focused more on being good and faithful, and less on being super and duper?

A lot of well-meaning disciplemaking machines who want to be super duper for all the right reasons scorch along at a breakneck pace as if they have discovered a new spiritual discipline of perpetual exhaustion and hurry. But when it comes to disciplemaking I’m learning that it is done best when it’s done slow and small.

Pace is vital. God is the author of it. Think about the way God paced creation. He made Adam. He made Eve. Then he walked with them in the cool of the day. If that one couple is a blessing, why not create a billion civilizations with a word and spend every moment with them and not even create the need for sleep? He put them in a garden. Have you WATCHED a plant grow?! That pace is not an accident. If He’s that paced in His relationships, how could I not be?

My friend, Marianne Howard wrote a book about rest, I recommend it. It will bless you. Rest is important, but I’m talking about pacing your work time. 

I can already feel some of you are unconvinced and I love you. You see a world of people hurdling toward Hell and the thought of slowing down makes you sick. You wish you had more hours in a day. Instead of taking your foot off the gas, you are looking for a turbo boost. I get it. 

But I want to share a couple of things that have almost taken me out in my time as a disciplemaker.

Let me tell you the most important one first in case I die.

Because you are not super duper, some good things will go left undone, and one of them cannot be your family.

Every evening, every weekend, every vacation, I had it with me. I carried the guilt of undone church things around like a boat anchor. Sure, I’m there with my family, but there’s also this bag of guilt distracting me. By the way, I’m talking about this like I’ve mastered it, but the last vacation we took, my wife said, “I love coming to Amish country in Ohio because it feels like we have you all to ourselves when we are here.” 

Ouch. My undivided attention should not be a “treat” for my family.

Some things in life are just going to have to remain undone. Do not let your family be one of those things. Jesus healed a lot of people, but He didn’t heal them all. He walked away from crowds at times. This is Jesus. You simply can’t do everything. 

If the disciples in your care can’t survive without you, they are not disciples of Christ. 

The other warning I have for you is, because you’re not super duper, don’t fall into the “Pokemon Go Complex.”

Have you ever seen the Pokemon Go Grandpa? He’s an elderly man in Japan who rides a bike with 64 phones attached to the handlebars because we all know, “You gotta catch ‘em all.” 

When you are striving to be a super duper disciplemaker it is so hard not to look past the person right in front of you and focus on the crowd. 

I feel this every Wednesday night. Kids and volunteers will just be slipping out the door while I talk to someone. I always feel the need to say, “Hey, excuse me a sec, I just need to check on everyone back here.” “Hey everyone, y’all wanna bowl?” “Hey guys, I actually have this new program I need to work… (To the person in my face) I love you, but… you understand.”

Bowling is awesome. Programs can be great, but discipleship is always smaller and slower than I think it should be. 

Being a good, faithful disciplemaker happens most naturally when we live out the fruit of the Spirit with individuals. And listen to this list. It’s like a series of speed bumps made for life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Not a single one of these can be done in a hurry. 

I get it. It’s urgent. Disciplemaking is urgent, but it’s not rushed. True disciples will make disciples. God’s plan to reach the world is better than mine. Mine has been to get after it and dig in. I have to do my best to put in the worry and stress and make it happen. 

God’s plan is to go to all the world and preach the gospel “TO EVERY CREATURE.” Think about this. If I wanted everyone in my town to get a high five, which way is better, for me to run around high-fiving everyone, or for me to give two people a high five and tell them to give two people a high five and for those people to give two people a high five?

Exponential growth just works.

Let me finish with this. You may have heard this interesting quote from  Count Nicolas von Zinzendorf from the 1700s. He said, “Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.” Man, from the very first time I heard that… I just absolutely hated it. I already told y’all I want to be super duper. Be forgotten?! I mean, I don’t have to have a statue of me made or anything, but would it kill you to name the family life center after me? Maybe name a conference after me. JonCon. Everyone could be like, I’m going to the “Jon.” Ok never mind on that one. 

Back to this quote. The reason I have embraced it is it reminds me that the gospel doesn’t ride on my back. It’s not me who carries it along. It’s the gospel that carries me. I’m not the power. It is. I can take the cape off. I’m not the hero of this story.

If at the end of my walk here, the gospel has been furthered and my Lord says “Well done good, faithful servant” that’s enough.

For more from Jon Forrest’s new book, The Super Youth Worker Utility Belt you can go here:

Jon Forrest
Latest posts by Jon Forrest (see all)

Leave a Reply