As I was preparing to be commissioned by my former church to herald the Gospel out in the streets here in West Virginia and beyond, I had to address several questions as they sought to better understand my intentions. One question that came up, and often does from time to time, is along the lines of, “How effective are Gospel tracts?” or “Do Gospel tracts really work?” I too pondered that same question. Heartwarming stories like that of the George Street Evangelist Frank Jenner stirred up something inside me to make tracts a regular part of my daily life and street evangelism.
(Don’t forget to browse our Gospel tracts you can download for FREE!)
Recently, I ran across a list of benefits from handing Gospel tracts out from Pastor Geoffrey Kirkland of Christ Fellowship Bible Church located in St. Louis, MO. He was kind enough to allow us to reprint the list here for our readers in the Mountain State. My hope and prayer is that it will encourage you to take advantage of this evangelism technique to reach fellow Mountaineers with the Gospel.
By Pastor Geoffrey Kirkland
The Word of God reminds believers to always be ready to give a defense for the faith (1 Pet 3:15). Christians long for the unsaved to hear the gospel and to be converted. The gospel of God’s saving grace revealed in Christ goes forth in a myriad of ways. But one such way in which believers can proclaim the gospel and evangelize the lost is through the distribution of gospel tracts. A gospel tract is a printed piece of literature that presents the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ and calls the sinner to repent of sin, trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and to follow Him.
In this short write-up, I endeavor to present some reasons why Christians should hand out gospel tracts. That is to say, there are many benefits in the handing out of gospel tracts. I will list fifteen of them.
1. A good gospel tract faithfully proclaims the biblical gospel. A good gospel tract is a piece of literature that faithfully presents the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. It will present man and his sin condition and urgent need for divine grace to rescue him from eternal punishment. It will show forth the person and work of Jesus Christ, His substitutionary work on the cross, and His bodily resurrection from the dead. It will call the sinner to repent of sin, trust in Christ alone, forsake all self-righteousness and follow Christ alone for salvation! Thus, a faithful gospel tract presents the gospel in print and imparts the gospel to people to take with them wherever they go.
2. A gospel tract can go places that you can’t go. In the absolute sovereignty of God and in the glorious providence of God, gospel tracts end up in places that we just can’t go. Sometimes they end up in bathrooms, on an employee’s desk, even in a trash can in an office, or in a box of goods that someone purchases and finds when they get home and open that box. Gospel tracts are small and they travel where we often can’t. We can’t travel with people and go from person to person, but tracts can, and they often do. And God sovereignly uses this for His glory.
3. A gospel tract can clearly present the gospel in a cogent way. A well-written gospel tract is a concise and cogent presentation of the gospel that people can read. Sometimes we may forget a Bible verse or not quite remember the exact quotation of a text but a gospel tract never gets nervous and forgets what to say. It has one message and one purpose: to present the gospel in a clear, compelling, cogent and concise manner. And this, a good gospel tract always does!
4. A gospel tract doesn’t take much effort to pass out. Going on missions trips around the world can take a tremendous deal of effort in preparation and traveling (and rightly so!). Gospel tracts don’t take much effort to pass out. They are small, simple, easy to distribute and anyone can hand it out. A small child can hand out a gospel tract and a bedridden person in a hospital can distribute it. Almost anyone can hand out a gospel tract!
5. A gospel tract is often politely received by people (or, politely rejected). There is not anything too offensive about handing someone a piece of paper and often people will accept it. But if not, typically they will kindly refuse. Even still, it’s a diligent, faithful, and wise way to get the biblical gospel into people’s hands.
6. A gospel tract can find its way into people’s homes when we can’t. Someone may receive a gospel tract and put it in their purse or their pocket. Then, when they arrive home that night or perhaps the next morning they may find it and read it. We can’t proclaim the gospel in all the homes of the people that we see, but we can give out gospel literature that people can receive and perhaps they’ll find it and read it when they get home.
7. A gospel tract doesn’t argue; it merely states the Truth & calls the reader to repent & believe. Quite simply, gospel tracts don’t share truth. They proclaim truth! They don’t argue. They announce the gospel! If people object to the gospel, the tract doesn’t argue, get rattled, veer off course or engage in silly arguments. Rather, the tract sticks to its message and continues to give gospel truth and to urge sinners to repent!
8. A gospel tract can be handed to anyone, at any place, at any time, with a smile.Anyone can distribute gospel tracts. The youngest of children to the eldest of adults and nearly everyone in between can take a piece of paper and hand it out to others. One can hand it out in a grocery store, to a cashier, to a stranger, to a passer-by, to someone sitting on a bench, to a law-enforcement officer, to someone in need, to a co-worker, to someone walking in a park, or an endless myriad of other possibilities. And, Christians can have a smile of warmth and a smile of brotherly-love in handing out the greatest message ever given to man to sinners in need of grace!
9. A gospel tract can allow the reader to refer to it again for Bible references and follow up. A good gospel tract has Scripture references and proves what it says with the Bible. Someone, then, can look up Scriptures that are printed on the gospel tract. And furthermore, ideally, a gospel tract would list a church or a ministry where a person could attend or contact for follow-up. It is simply stated so that follow-up can be had.
10. A gospel tract can be used by God to convert the lost and encourage the redeemed. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The power is in the message. This message on a piece of paper can be used by God to convert a dead sinner’s soul or, perhaps, God may use the tract to encourage believers in the faith. Perhaps it may stimulate other Christians to get some tracts so that they themselves may proclaim the gospel!
11. A gospel tract sticks to the point and never gets sidetracked with silly arguments. The gospel tract that a Christian hands out does not get deterred by foolish arguments and endless speculations. It always sticks to the point because its message does not change. It presents the gospel and it keeps presenting that same gospel.
12. A gospel tract might be read by a person too arrogant to talk but too curious to let the literature pass him by. Perhaps someone with friends may be unwilling, or too arrogant/self-righteous, to talk with a Christian about eternal matters. But they may receive a piece of paper which they may read later on their own time. Perhaps someone next to them may be curious to see what a friend received that they’ll stick out their hand to receive the piece of paper so they don’t feel left out. Those who observe Christians handing out literature may be unwilling to talk (in public) but they may be too curious simply to feel ‘left out’. And so, they may receive one.
13. A gospel tract may be providentially used by God at the right time to sow gospel seeds in someone’s soul. The harvest is plentiful, Jesus said. He also asserted that the laborers are few. Believers sow gospel seeds and some plant seeds, some water those seeds, and some see the sinner converted by God’s grace. But it always is God who produces the growth. But God uses His Word at the right time to sow gospel seeds in people’s hearts.
14. A gospel tract is a loving way to present the gospel to sinners in need of salvation from God’s judgment. There really is nothing all that confrontational about handing out a pamphlet to another person. No one forces it upon another. It’s a simple, loving, compassionate, brotherly, and kind thing to do. It can be very warm and affectionate especially when the Christian may give a short statement when handing the tract to another: “Here, my friend, did you receive this yet? It changed my whole life! And I want you to have it!”
15. A gospel tract is an easy way to proclaim the gospel with a smile of brotherly love toward your neighbor. The gospel can be proclaimed with urgency, with passion, with fidelity and with earnestness and yet with a gentle, compassionate smile of brotherly-love. A friend can hand a gospel tract to a co-worker with a smile and express his loving care for his friend. A neighbor can hand out a gospel tract to someone living next door and verbalize his appreciation of him. And endless other possibilities may exist. So then, by handing out a tract a Christian engages in the proclamation of the gospel in a simple, easy, fervent, faithful, and loving manner.
“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.”
— Charles Spurgeon
“The very first service which my youthful heart rendered to Christ was the placing of tracts in envelopes, and then sealing them up, that I might send them… I used to write texts on little scraps of paper, and drop them anywhere, that some poor creatures might pick them up, and receive them as messages of mercy to their souls.”
— Charles Spurgeon