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We will explain why gospel tracts are used, show you some of our favorites and give you opening lines you might use when handing one to someone. We've even included short video clips to watch that will explain passing them out further.
Please watch the 8 minute video below. This incredible true story of how God worked in a little place called George Street will show what “just one person” using gospel tracts can do.
Why Use Gospel Tracts?
In writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul explains the lengths to which he would go to share the gospel: “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). If Paul meant “by all means,” he no doubt would have used gospel tracts as one means to reach the lost.
Never underestimate the power of a gospel tract. After George Whitefield read one called “The Life of God in the Soul of a Man,” he said, “God showed me I must be born again or be damned.” He went on to pray, “Lord, if I am not a Christian, or if I am not a real one, for Jesus Christ’s sake show me what Christianity is, that I may not be damned at last!” Then his journal tells us “from that moment . . . did I know that I must become a new creature.”
A Christian book relates the true story of a diver who saw a piece of paper clutched in the shell of an oyster. The man grabbed it, found that it was a gospel tract and said, “I can’t hold out any longer. His mercy is so great that He has caused His Word to follow me even to the bottom of the ocean.” God used a tract to save the man. He also used a tract to save the great missionary Hudson Taylor, as well as innumerable others.
Why should Christians use tracts? Simply because God uses them. That fact alone should be enough incentive for a Christian to always use tracts to reach the lost, but there are even more reasons why we should use them. Here are a few:
Tracts can provide an opening for us to share our faith.We can watch people’s reaction as we give them a tract, and see if they are open to listening to spiritual things.
Tracts can do the witnessing for us. If we are too timid to speak to others about the things of God, we can at least give them a tract, or leave one lying around so that someone will pick it up.
Tracts speak to the individuals when they are ready; people don’t read it until they want to.
Tracts can find their way into people’s homes when we can’t.
Tracts don’t get into arguments; they just state their case.
Oswald J. Smith said, “The only way to carry out the Great Commission will be by the means of the printed page.” Charles Spurgeon stated, “When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract ready. . . Get good striking tracts, or none at all. But a touching gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts.”
If you want people to accept your literature, try to greet them before offering them a tract. If you can get them to respond to a warm “Good morning,” or “How are you doing?” that will almost always break the ice and they will take it. After the greeting, don’t ask, “Would you like this?” They will probably respond, “What is it?” Instead, say, “Did you get one of these?” That question has a twofold effect. You stir their curiosity and makethem ask, “One of what?” That’s when you hand them a tract. It also makes them feel as though they are missing out on something. So they are.
Perhaps you almost pass out at the thought of passing out a tract. Don’t worry; you are not alone. We all battle fear. The answer to fear is found in the prayer closet. Ask God to give you a compassion that will swallow your fears. Meditate on the fate of the ungodly. Give hell some deep thought. Confront what it is that makes you fearful.
Do you like roller coasters? Some Christians want to try skydiving or bungee-jumping. Isn’t it strange? We are prepared to risk our lives for the love of fear—and yet we are willing to let a sinner go to hell for fear of giving out a tract. Ask yourself how many piles of bloodied stones you can find where Christians have been stoned to death for preaching the gospel. How much singed soil can you find where they have been burned at the stake? Part of our fear is a fear of rejection.We are fearful of looking foolish. That’s a subtle form of pride. The other part of our battle with fear comes directly from the enemy. He knows that fear paralyzes. We must resist the devil and his lies. If God is with us, nothing can be against us.
If you have never given out tracts, why not begin today? If you are fearful when it comes to witnessing, here’s something you can do that doesn’t take much courage. Simply leave a gospel tract at some of the places listed below.
Then each night as you shut your eyes to go to sleep, you will have something very special to pray about—that God will use the tracts you put somewhere. You will also have a deep sense of satisfaction that you played a small part in carrying out the Great Commission to reach this dying world with the gospel of everlasting life. Don’t waste your life. Do something for the kingdom of God while you are able to. Always remember: treat every day as though it were your last—one day you will be right.
I find it hard to understand why every Christian doesn’t carry gospel tracts. Joey Hancock of the American Tract Society said, “Fifty-three percent of all who come to Christ worldwide come through the use of printed gospel literature.” If we really care about the eternal salvation of those around us, how could we not carry tracts everywhere we go?
Look at these words from Charles Spurgeon on the use of tracts:
I well remember distributing them in a town in England where tracts had never been distributed before, and going from house to house, and telling in humble language the things of the kingdom of God. I might have done nothing, if I had not been encouraged by finding myself able to do something . . . [Tracts are] adapted to those persons who have but little power and little ability, but nevertheless, wish to do something for Christ. They may not have the tongue of the eloquent, but they may have the hand of the diligent. They cannot stand and preach, but they can stand and distribute here and there these silent preachers . . . They may buy their thousand tracts, and these they can distribute broadcast.
I look upon the giving away of a religious tract as only the first step for action not to be compared with many another deed done for Christ; but were it not for the first step we might never reach to the second, but that first attained, we are encouraged to take another, and so at the last . . . There is a real service of Christ in the distribution of the gospel in its printed form, a service the result of which heaven alone shall disclose, and the judgment day alone discover. How many thousands have been carried to heaven instrumentally upon the wings of these tracts, none can tell.
I might say, if it were right to quote such a Scripture, “The leaves were for the healing of the nations”—verily they are so. Scattered where the whole tree could scarcely be carried, the very leaves have had a medicinal and a healing virtue in them and the real word of truth, the simple statement of a Savior crucified and of a sinner who shall be saved by simply trusting in the Savior, has been greatly blessed, and many thousand souls have been led into the kingdom of heaven by this simple means. Let each one of us, if we have done nothing for Christ, begin to do something now. The distribution of tracts is the first thing.
If you are wondering where you could leave tracts, here are several suggestions:
In shopping carts
In clothes pockets in store
In letters to loved ones
With a generous tip
On seats in restaurant lobbies
With fast-food employees, cashiers, and gas station workers
At rest areas
On ATM machines and bank counters
In envelopes with bill payments
On hotel dressers for the maid
On ice machines
On newspaper racks
In waiting rooms of doctors’ offices and hospitals
On seats at airports, subways, and bus stations
With flight attendants and cab drivers
In plane seat pockets
Many Christians also give gospel tracts and candy to children who knock on their door during Halloween.What other day do scores of young people come to your door for gospel tracts.
To take advantage of another great opportunity to sow seeds for the gospel, you may want to use our unique “Court Tract.” Over the past four years we have given out more than 40,000 tracts outside the courthouse, about 60 feet from our office. This tract is designed especially for those who line up outside the courtrooms each morning to pay misdemeanor fines. The front, back, and first pages explain courtroom etiquette (the do’s and don’ts when in court); then when the tract is unfolded, the inside explains the gospel (that each of us will face a Judge on Judgment Day). As you go along the line and hand out tracts, you may like to tell people,“Make sure all cell phones and pagers are turned off.” This is true, so you are doing both them and the courts a favor.
Perhaps you might like to consider preaching the gospel outside the court buildings in your area. I did this recently with the forty to sixty people waiting to enter the courthouse. I began by saying, “You are here because you have allegedly violated civil law. The Bible says that each of us have violated God’s Law, the Ten Commandments. I would like to put you on the stand and examine you for a moment to see if you are guilty.”
I went through the Law and the reality of hell, then preached the cross, repentance, and faith. They all seemed to be listening, and no one was offended. It’s an incredible opportunity. The line is made up of different people every day, from all walks of life. As they are waiting to go to court they are no doubt praying for mercy. . . and they can’t get out of line because they will lose their place.
Another tract that is easy to give away is our “Giant Money tract.” When you go to pay in a store or restaurant, ask if the cashier can “break a large bill” as you hand the person this tract. People who have tried this have been practically swarmed by others wanting to have one. One individual said, “These tracts almost give themselves away and they put a smile on the face of the person receiving them!
If, in Spurgeon’s words, you feel you “have but little power and little ability, but nevertheless, wish to do something for Christ,” then begin today to give out tracts. May God give you the zeal of Mark Cahill, our all-time biggest tract customer (6'6"). Just since January 2001, he has ordered 368,500 tracts. You can likewise “distribute here and there these silent preachers.”
The above information is from the School of Biblical Evangelism, which is part of Living Waters ministry.