Few things are as beautiful to me as watching someone read a gospel tract. A gospel tract is a paper missionary. In order for a gospel tract to fulfill its intended purpose, it only need be distributed and read. The Christian distributes the gospel tract. The recipient reads it. And God determines the spiritual outcome (Psalm 3:8; Jonah 2:9).
Afraid to Give Someone a Gospel Tract?
If the thought of distributing gospel tracts sends chills down your spine, be encouraged. There are many Christians who battle the same sin. That’s right: sin.
Let’s briefly deal with the fear.
I’ve challenged thousands of people to test the above assertion by taking a piece of paper and making a list of all of their fears. In fact, to make things easier on them, I immediately tell them what the results will be.
Dear reader, if you made a list of all of your fears, as they pertain to evangelism, you will find that all of your fears are about you. You won’t find any of your fears are generated by your concern for the souls of lost people. Rather, what you will find is that all of your fears point to self-preservation. All of your fears are symptoms of your sin–the sin of self-love. You’re more concerned about what communicating the gospel to a lost person might cost you instead of what not repenting or believing the gospel will cost them.
So, repent of your fears and let’s get back to our primary topic.
Getting a Gospel Tract into Someone’s Hand
Handing someone a gospel tract is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, forms of evangelism. You don’t have to be an extrovert, witty, clever, well-trained, or gifted. There are only two prerequisites for distributing gospel tracts, and they’re both possessed by every genuine follower of Jesus Christ.
Love God and love people.
“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets'” (Matthew 22:34-40).
Beyond these fruits of regeneration, all you need is a smile and a friendly demeanor.
Here are some simple things to say when offering someone a gospel tract:
“Did you get one of these?” — Never ask a person, “Do you want one of these?” People don’t want things from strangers, especially when they don’t know what the thing is. By asking the person, “Did you get one of these,” you might just raise their curiosity. I wonder what it is? What will I be missing if I don’t take it?
If the person asks, “What is it?” tell them the truth! Say, “It’s a gospel tract.” Don’t be ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16). Don’t be ashamed of distributing the gospel. Be honest. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
But what if the person gets mad? What if they say they don’t want it. What if…..what if…..what if they REJECT ME?
Haters of God are burning and butchering our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world because they dare to lift up the name of Christ and refuse to deny Him. And you’re worried about what a moment of rejection might do to your self-esteem? Get over yourself! Repent! Love God and love people!
If someone rejects your offer of a gospel tract, simply smile and be on your way. Before you walk away, tell the person to have a good or blessed day. Be friendly, kind, and gentle. Be meek (power under control).
Here are some other things you can say as you hand someone a gospel tract, with a smile on your face:
- “Good morning”(“afternoon” or “evening”).
- “God bless you.”
- “Thank you” (if you’re handing a tract to someone who has served you in some way).
- “Do you know if your sins are forgiven?” (Note: this one might get you into a conversation. Be ready.)
- “Have a great day!”
- “Here’s some good news for you.”
- “I hope this encourages you.”
- “This is a gospel tract. The message on this card changed my life. I hope it will be an encouragement to you.” (Note: I learned this from Pastor Geoffrey Kirkland.)
Say whatever you would normally say when you meet and/or greet someone. Be yourself. Use the personality God has given you, just as He used the personalities of the authors of His Word. Smile. Be friendly. That’s all there is to it!
And Watch God Work!
I love distributing gospel tracts. The opportunity to put the gospel into one person’s hand, or into the hands of thousands of people in a matter of hours, brings joy to my heart, and sometimes tears to my eyes.
For me, the best part of fishing (for people) with gospel tracts is when I see someone read the tract I handed him or her. When I see someone reading a gospel tract, I immediately engage in praise and prayer. I praise God for the opportunity to be used by Him to put the gospel in someone’s hand. And I pray for the person reading the gospel tract. I pray the Lord would remove the scales of sin from his or her eyes. I ask God to give the person understanding and to use the gospel–His power for salvation–to bring the person to genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Over the many years I have been on the streets, I’ve grown increasingly fond of watching people as they read gospel tracts. It really is a beautiful thing to see. I watch their facial expressions to see if there is a change in their demeanor. I watch their body language. Do they seem relaxed? Agitated? Do they look up from the tract to see if anyone is watching them.
What do the person’s eyes tell me as I watch him or her read a gospel tract? Is the person glued to every word, or does he or she appear to be skimming the text? Does the person’s eyes get big as if he was just surprised by something he read? Does the person’s eyes narrow as if she was suddenly confronted by her own sin?
Sometimes tears will begin to roll down the person’s face. The person might quickly wipe them away with the hope that no one sees her emotion. Or he might let the tears fall without a care for the world around him.
I watch to see what the person does with the gospel tract after he or she reads it. Does she stick it in her purse? Does he put it in his pocket or in his backpack? Or does the person simply leave it on the seat after they get up and walk away?
There’s so much to see as someone reads a gospel tract. Again, it really is a beautiful thing to watch. Because I know the Bible is true (John 17:17), I know that no matter how the person responds to the offer of a gospel tract or how the person responds to what is written on the tract as he or she reads it, God is working (John 5:17). Whether God hardens the person or extends mercy to the person (Romans 9:18) reading the gospel tract, God is at work. Whether with an angry heart the person crumples the tract inside his clenched fist or with a thoughtful disposition the person carefully tucks the tract into her purse, God is at work. Yes, God is at work. His gospel, whether in spoken or written form, is His power for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).
God works through gospel tracts. God uses gospel tracts to bring people to the knowledge of their sin, to repentance, and to faith in Jesus Christ. And, oh, how beautiful it is to watch Him work!