“I have a greater understanding of the gospel after being trained on how to share it in a way that feels natural. I see my husband in a new light after watching him serve the homeless and others on a regular basis. God has used all of this to make our marriage better.” – Monica Burt
On a scale of one to 10, how certain are you that if you died tonight you would spend eternity in Heaven? It’s a question that Jeff and Monica Burt now answer (and ask) with confidence. But that wasn’t always the case.
“Neither of us had really read the Bible,” said Monica. “So we didn’t know how to answer. I think we said six or seven. But after thinking about that question, Jeff and I both wanted to study God’s Word and get to know Christ for the first time. We wanted to be sure.”
Faith in Christ moved to the back burner once Jeff and Monica married and began building careers in Dallas. “I was finding my worth in my success, the amount of money I made, the things I bought and the places I went,” said Monica. “Jeff was traveling and working hard, and there wasn’t much communication between us. As we drifted farther apart, I turned to infidelity. I knew there was something going on with him as well.”
The environment at home became so tense, they knew it was unsustainable. “I still loved Jeff, and I wanted the validation that he loved me,” said Monica. “We finally decided to slow down our hectic lives and make the marriage work. We hadn’t begun to resolve all of our conflict, but we committed to go back to church, and that was a start.”
A friend invited Jeff and Monica to Watermark, and that’s where they were asked about their relationship with Christ. “Learning that we are saved by faith in Christ alone was life-changing,” said Monica, “and we both wanted to know more.”
What continued to change their lives was involvement in biblical community. “When we were placed in a community group, I was the first one to open up,” said Jeff. “I talked about my past drug use, pornography and other things that had hurt our marriage. Monica had already forgiven me, but after talking to others about it, I felt like a burden had been lifted. It was great to share my life with them, and ultimately, it’s that transparency with others that led me to want to take part in Unashamed.”
Unashamed is a weekend-long urban discipleship trip. The goal is to help Watermark members be more effective at living out their faith every day, wherever they are. The weekend includes a prayer tour, worship, serving, and sharing Christ with people around the city.
The idea of moving away from their comfort zone and reaching out to people in their community was both intriguing and intimidating to Jeff and Monica. After three weeks of training in how to share the gospel and their own story, the Burts spent the weekend in South Dallas serving people in the community.
At Unashamed, the goal is to engage and care for the people God brings you into contact with over the weekend. Initially, Jeff was worried about finding the right words to say. “I had to rely on the Lord and the training I received from Unashamed to give me the right words,” said Jeff. “God was so good to keep me calm, and also allow me to appreciate the character of the other believers around me as they spoke to the people we met.”
Going into the weekend, it was hard for Monica not to worry about people rejecting her when she engaged them in a spiritual conversation. But as they met more people out in the community, Monica discovered the opposite was true. “Some people were willing to talk about their faith, and others were reluctant,” said Monica. “But almost everyone was happy to be asked how we could pray for them.”
“We started talking with two officers who were working at Klyde Warren Park,” said Monica. “At first, the officers were silent, but then one of the officers nudged her partner and encouraged her to speak. She was having some health problems and was waiting on the results of her bloodwork. She had not told anyone except her partner about her concerns. As we prayed together, her eyes filled with tears. I left feeling challenged to engage with people around me every day and ask how I can pray for them.”
Through the Unashamed weekend, the Lord strengthened the Burt’s faith and inspired them to have intentional conversations with the people they meet every day. The Burts regularly volunteer at a church downtown that offers worship for the homeless. They remain active in their Watermark community group, studying God’s Word and having honest conversations about where they are in their individual relationships with Christ.
“God has realigned my priorities and given me the desire to know Christ for who He really is,” said Monica. “I have a greater understanding of the gospel after being trained on how to share it in a way that feels natural. I see my husband in a new light after watching him serve the homeless and others on a regular basis. God has used all of this to make our marriage better.”