My name is Tim Burt. I’ve been married for 39 years to my wife, Renee, and we have four married children and seven beautiful grandchildren. We’ve pastored together in a church for the past 35 years; however, we recently resigned in May to have more time to pursue sharing the Lord in a variety of ways through our ministry, Tim and Renee Burt Ministries. We both felt God leading us to take a brave step into this next season of life, and we’re very excited to reach as many people around the world as possible.
I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was one of 10 children, and I grew up in the most wonderful family imaginable. My parents loved God and raised us to know, love, and live for God to the best of their ability. They were absolutely committed, selfless, and tireless in loving us and helping us achieve our best in life. They were also great disciplinarians, teaching us how to love and respect each other and instilling a strong work ethic in us. They also loved people, including our friends, and so our mom let us have our friends over all the time. Dinner time was like sitting down to a banquet, and we had more than just our own family of 12 at most meals. Consequently, I grew up in a family of extroverts who all love people! I praise God for the wonderful family I grew up in.
I was educated in private Catholic schools. After graduating from high school, I took college-level classes and pursued an education in Radio/Television Broadcasting. After giving my life to Christ, I continued my Christian education at two Bible colleges. I have a Bachelor of Theology degree from Maranatha College.
At the age of 23 years old, I became a flight attendant for a major airline. It was a job I absolutely loved for 13 years. I loved serving people, constantly meeting new people, and having the opportunity to travel all over the world. But as much as I loved this season of life, it was a difficult time for me spiritually. I had drifted away from the Lord around the age of 18, questioning my faith because I had too many questions I could not answer. In the Catholic faith at that time, Bible reading was not suggested or encouraged, and so I had never read a Bible. I felt spiritually dry, and so I decided, like many other young people, to get the most fun out of life that I could.
One day I met another flight attendant who seemed different from every other coworker I had previously met. She was kind, fun, outgoing, and really seemed confident in the good life she was living. I felt compelled to find out what made her such a happy person. I thought I was that person until I met her. She was more than happy. My happy life was filled with carnal worldly fun – alcohol, smoking pot, drugs, sex, and partying. There was something pure and warm about her personality. She did none of that, yet was sincerely loving, kind, fun, and happy. I felt compelled to find out what made her “tick!” So I asked her, “Sharon, what makes you such a happy person?” She was kindly blunt and simple. She said, “I love God, and I know I am going to Heaven… life doesn’t get any better than that!”
We talked later that night, and she asked me what I believed regarding my faith. For 45 minutes, I spilt out my philosophical garbage, and she intently listened. I finally asked her, “What do you believe?” She got out her Bible, and she walked me through scripture after scripture, answering questions I did not know there were answers to. I was deeply moved. She finally asked me, “Tim, don’t you want to go to Heaven when you die?” I said, “Sharon, of course, I do! Who doesn’t want to go to Heaven?” She asked me if I’d like to ask Jesus into my heart as Lord and Savior. She then explained what salvation was and how Jesus would forgive me for all my sins. I asked her if she would help me pray, and she did. I asked Jesus to be my Lord right then and there. I ended that night feeling different but without words to explain it. Sharon suggested a great Bible-teaching church for me to go to, and I went. My life was never the same. I have lived for the Lord with a great passion ever since! That day praying with Sharon was the greatest day of my life.
The challenges I faced from that day forward were different from anything prior. I wanted to live this new life in Christ more than anything. But I felt painfully ignorant as to how to do that. I had never read a Bible, and it was a struggle to learn fast enough. I must have prayed for God to help me hundreds of times. And He did, again, and again, and again. It was painful to learn that my old friends did not want to give up their worldly lifestyle and live for Jesus, just because I had made that decision. And I didn’t have Christian friends yet. I felt lonely, and when I was lonely, the temptation was harder to deal with.
I prayed and asked God to give me Christian friends. He answered my prayer quickly. I met Renee. She grew up knowing the Lord and was such a gift to me in so many ways, including helping me grow in the knowledge of the Lord! The more I moved away from worldly friends and worldly living and more towards church friends and serving God at church, the better my life became. I joined a Bible study and loved it. Then I began teaching the Bible to young children. Over time, God dealt with my heart about becoming a pastor. Renee and I went to Bible school while working for the airlines. Eventually, I was hired as a pastor, resigned from the airlines, and worked at that church as an associate pastor for my entire career in ministry.
Over my 34 years of ministry, I watched our church grow from 600 people to over 10,000. I oversaw our ministry volunteers, taught Leadership Development, ran our Bible school, created our Small Group ministry, headed up our Pastoral Care department and New Members department, and I often preached at church services. I was also the Minnesota State Director for Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
God’s word proclaimed that the second I gave my life to Christ, even though I was biblically ignorant, I was an ambassador for Him. I took that seriously. I read David’s words from Psalm 90:12 (NKJV), “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The Lord spoke to my heart through those words and said, “Tim, life is short and will speed by. Compared to eternity, it’s like a blink of time. Live your life wholeheartedly for me and serve me, and it will bring you rewards that will last for all eternity.” I recommitted my life to God at another level that day and have pursued God with all my heart ever since. I do not regret a single day!
In parting, I would like to leave you with this wisdom. We live in a day of great innovation and technological advancement. These bring greater opportunities to reach people for Christ. They also bring greater opportunities to engage in sinful activity that will drag you away from Christ. No matter what generation someone has lived in, the challenge to choose between good and evil has always existed. Being a life-long ambassador of Christ in the way the Lord leads you, will shape you and fill your life with life-long purpose. It is the greatest purpose that exists – being an ambassador for Christ. God created you and saved you for this purpose. Live a purpose-filled life for the Lord and make your life about that – not about your career, talents, or anything else. Your gifting in life is given to you by God to help create a platform of godly influence. So whatever the Lord has blessed you with, use it for Him and if you do, eternal rewards along with the blessing of this life will be yours. It’s a no-brainer! Choose Jesus every time! God bless you!
Follow on Twitter: @TimBurt