On November 6, 2023, I posted an article about the possibility (I emphasize “possibility”) that the rapture of the church is imminent followed by the “great tribulation.” Link: We are in the “Days of Noah” and the “Great Tribulation” Seems Imminent: Repent and Trust in Jesus Christ | Steve Belsheim.
If the time if short, believers need to be proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ with more intensity than ever before. One way to carry out evangelism is via gospel tracts.
This article does two things. First, it summaries what I have written in a couple of earlier posts: “Handing Out Gospel Tracts with the Saving Gospel of Jesus Christ” (May 27, 2022) (link: Handing Out Tracts with the Saving Gospel of Jesus Christ | Steve Belsheim ) and “Handing Out Gospel Tracts can Make a Difference” (June 2, 2021 (Handing Out Gospel Tracts Can Make a Difference | Steve Belsheim). Second, this article adds content I discovered in two other articles at the crossencountermin.com website at the links below: https://crossencountersmin.com/featured-article/gospel-tracts-best-one/ and Gospel Tracts: How to Effectively & Joyfully Distribute Paper Missionaries (crossencountersmin.com).
Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” had this to say about gospel tracts:
“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.”
According to the first article from the crossencountersmin.com, Pastor Jeff Pollard referred to gospel tracts as “paper missionaries.”
2. Scriptural Grounds for Handing Out Tracts
The Bible calls all believers to spread the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. The best-known passage is Matthew 28:16–20 (NASB95), which reads:
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The second best-known passage is Acts 1:8 (NASB95):
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
These passages give the Scriptural warrant to hand out tract or send out “paper missionaries.”
3. Techniques for Handing Out Gospel Tracts
A. Look Like You Want to Spread the Gospel
Just like with any activity, to do your best job you must enjoy it. While it could cause some folks to be uneasy, every believer ought to want to tell the lost about salvation through Jesus Christ. When you hand out tracts, your countenance should reflect the joy in your heart. Keep a smile on your face!!
B. Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is critical for effective face-to-face communication. Look the person in the eyes when you hand out a tract. It can all the difference in the world by adding credibility to your efforts.
C. Say Something! You May Need to Explain What It Is
Many people have no idea what a gospel tract contains or talks about. Consequently, you’ve got to say something about what you are trying to give them. Typically, it is okay if you describe it as a tract that explains God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Further, keep in mind the person to whom you hand it may ask questions. That does not happen often, but you need to be ready to explain what the tract says. You should be able to explain in full the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
D. Possibly Use Introductory Language Relevant to the Circumstances
Oftentimes, the circumstances will give rise to small talk that helps “break the ice” so the person will be more willing to accept the tract. I wrote a tract that gives some tips about how to deal with a mean customer. Before I hand out that tract, I ask the person if they have to deal with mean customers. Every time they answer in the affirmative. I believe that makes it easier for them to accept the tract.
E. Look for a Moving Line of People
According to Tony Miano, look for a line of people. Typically, try to hand a tract to the first one, and if they take a tract, so will the others. If this is not the case, wait a while and try it again. Eventually someone will accept the tract and that may lead to others accepting the tract.
F. Show Them Your Hands
Even though you are not pulling out a gun, to pull quickly a tract out of your pocket may startle some people. Make sure the person you intend to hand the tract to sees your hands and that you are carrying the tract. No surprises.
G. How to Respond to “No Thanks. I’m Good.”
Sometimes a person will refuse a tract with the statement that “I’m good.” One way to respond is to say that no one is good except God. Another way is to hand them a tract that asks “Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?” If they refuse that tract, at least you’ve tried.
H. Be Kind – May God Bless You Today!
Always be kind when you hand out tracts. Even if a person is mean, show kindness. You may want to say “God bless your day” or something along that line. You can never tell what a little bit of kindness may produce.
4. Advantages of Handing Out Gospel Tracts
A. Any Person Can Do It
Many, if not most, Christ-followers have some reluctance about witnessing to strangers for two basic reasons. First, a Christ-follower may not be confident in their ability to present the gospel or they fear being asked questions they cannot answer. Second, they comprehend the inherent resistance by a stranger to a gospel presentation. Typically, a stranger is going about their business and is not necessarily interested in being interrupted by a gospel presentation.
The advantage to handing out a tract is that all you do is hand out a tract with a brief explanation like “I’d like to give this to you. It is an explanation of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have questions, my contact information is on the tract.”
You can watch their reaction to see there is a chance to talk further. It may give you the chance to verbally present the gospel. If not, that’s okay.
Handing out a tract is sowing the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ with essentially no confrontation.
B. A Tract Sticks to the Point
Most gospel tracts are the product of careful study, writing, and prayer. They are short and to the point so that they stay on topic. Tracts do not “rabbit trail.” Brevity can be an advantage in this busy, microwave kind of world in which people are always in a hurry.
C. A Tract Does Not Lose Its Temper
Hopefully, a gospel presentation to a stranger will not result in someone losing their temper, but it can happen. Some Christ followers think it is their job to convict a lost person of their need for Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When there is resistance or no response to their presentation they can sometimes get frustrated and lose their temper. Losing one’s temper is a terrible witness. A tract just sits there and cannot lose its temper.
D. People Will Read a Tract When No One Else is Looking
For some lost people there is peer pressure that discourages them from reading tract or talking about spiritual issues. Such a person can read a tract when no one is looking. They can absorb the content of the gospel without the negative bias of peer or societal pressure.
E. People Will Read a Tract When No One Else is Around
It is the Holy Spirit who convicts a lost person of their need for Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Oftentimes, that happens in the quiet that comes with reading the tract when no one else is around. A lost person may better hear God’s voice in silence and solitude than in a public setting where they have many other things on their mind.
F. A Tract Always Stays with a Person
Yes, some folks throw away a tract, but many do not. A tract can make its way into a person’s home when we cannot do so. A tract can also find its way to someone to whom you did not hand it out like a family member or friend.
G. A Tract Leads Many People to Christ
As mentioned in my earlier post, the Conrad article reports instances where tracts led a person to Christ.
Chick Publications website (see the link at Chick.com: Information on evangelism) presents the following testimonies:
“I gave a man a Chick tract at a train station. Several hours later he rang our doorbell. After talking awhile, he got saved.”
“HI THERE! Was read by my son as a joke —scared him silly— he belongs to Jesus now.”
“A friend got saved due to THIS WAS YOUR LIFE. He had been a Satanist.”
“I found a Chick tract in the restroom in high school. I was saved from reading it.”
If you hand out tracts I hope this article has been an encouragement. If you don’t hand out tracts I hope you consider doing so.
The seed of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ can be sown in many different ways and distributing gospel tracts is one way.
If you are not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to get ready!! Please (1) read through “God’s Plan of Salvation” so you can understand what God did for you through His only unique Son, Jesus Christ, and (2), from the bottom of your heart, pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” meaning every word. If you do, you will be reconciled to God – saved – through Jesus Christ.
God’s Plan of Salvation
In the beginning, God, who is holy, created the entire universe. As a part of His creative actions, He made humans (male and female) in His image to know Him. For a while, everything was right between God and our ancestors, Adam and Eve. But Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, whereby Adam’s sin was passed down to all of humanity, creating a separation between God and humanity. We cannot do anything to bridge that separation so that without God’s intervention, hell is our eternal destination. Fortunately for us, in His great love and mercy, God provided us with the only means of salvation through Abraham’s lineage by sending the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, God’s only unique Son. While retaining His deity, God the Son became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, thereby fulfilling the Law, and died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all people. Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, thereby exhausting God’s wrath against humanity. God now calls on every unbeliever to repent of their sins and completely trust in Christ alone that Jesus died for their sins and rose to life from the dead. Every unbeliever who repents and trusts in Jesus Christ will be forgiven of all their sins (past, present, and future) and born again as a new creation in Christ, possessing guaranteed eternal life with God.
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1, 26, 31; Habakkuk 1:13; Genesis 2:7-25; Genesis 3:1-7, 22-24; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:19-20, 23; 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Colossians 1:15; 2:9; Matthew 1:18, 20, 24-25; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 2:17; 9:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 John 4:10; John 3:16-18; Mark 1:15; Acts 17:30; 26:20; Romans 1:4; 4:25; John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3.
Lord, Jesus Christ, the only unique Son of God, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner who cannot save myself no matter what I do, and I deserve to spend eternity in hell. But, I know that because You loved me so much, You voluntarily died on the cross for me taking my sins upon Yourself, and You physically bodily rose from the grave showing that Your sacrificial death was sufficient payment to give me eternal life in Heaven. I now repent of my sins and completely trust alone in what You did for my eternal salvation. Please take control of my life as I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You so much for saving me. I am now Yours forever!
(Scripture references: John 1:1-4, 11-14; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26; Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 1:15; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; John 10:27-29).
NOTICE OF PERMISSIONS
I am mindful of and respect the rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. I thus try my best to not violate any copyright rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works. The below copyright permission statement is the result of my best efforts to understand that limited usage or “fair use” is available and/or to secure direct permission for specific works. The quotations from commentaries are considered to be “fair use.”
Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”
Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.