WHAT IS A GOSPEL TRACT, AND WHY ARE THEY HELPFUL?
A gospel tract is simply a small handout that can be in the form of a brochure or booklet that has a gospel presentation on it. They are definitely one of the staples of evangelism. Gospel tracts are great for several reasons. Here are just a few:
1) If you are new, or just getting started with sharing your faith, gospel tracts are a great way to get your “feet wet”. It’s much easier to hand out a gospel tract than it is to start up a conversation. Also, when you’re new at sharing your faith, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to say. A good gospel tract gives you a clear, concise gospel message that you can memorize and use in a one on one conversation.
2) They’re cheap! You can make your own tracts at home (see how to make your own gospel tracts here), or you can get download them for free from the Evangelism Toolbox page, or you can even order free tracts from several tract distribution ministries online. It typically only costs a couple of cents per one tract; therefore you can get the gospel out in massive quantities for a low cost.
3) They’re great conversation starters. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to start a one on one conversation by handing out gospel tracts than without them. You simply hand out the tracts, and wait for the first person to ask, “What is this?” Obviously, it’s helpful to prepare what you’re going to say in response.
4) It leaves the recipient with a clear gospel message that they can read on their own. A lot of times when speaking with someone in a one on one setting, they can only retain so much information. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. He said that preaching the word of God to some people is like sowing seed on a dirt path – it’s so hard that whenever the word of God is planted on their hearts, the enemy can snatch it up before it takes root. When you are in a one on one conversation, you may be talking with the “path”, and the enemy may snatch up the word off of their hearts when you leave. However, God could be using you to till their hearts, so that the seed in the gospel tract might be planted later on.
A COUPLE OF DO’S AND DON’TS
Now that we know what gospel tracts are and what they’re good for, here are a couple of helpful tips to keep in mind when handing them out.
- Be awkward or scary. When you are about to hand out a tract, don’t have a straight, serious face that someone may confuse as a villain – remember, they don’t know you!
- Do the last-minute-handout. That’s when you wait until someone is right next to you before you stick your hand out right in their face with a tract… you’ll freak people out!
- Whisper or look at the ground – it gives the image of a lack of confidence; and if you have the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have much to be confident about.
- Say, “would you like one of these?” or “can I give you one?” These type of weak yes-or-no questions will give you more “NO’s” than if you were to use a more assertive approach.
- Be normal – be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t; it comes out awkward for everyone.
- Present yourself with confidence and joy. Keep your head up, make eye contact, smile. Not only is this going to make people more likely to receive something from you, it also portrays the image of confidence in whatever you’re handing out.
- Hand them out with assertive, friendly one-liners like, “did you get one of these?” or “this is for you”. When you say it like that, it makes the recipient feel like they’re missing out on something they didn’t previously have.
WHERE DO I HAND THEM OUT?
As a rule of thumb, I ALWAYS keep at least a couple of tracts on me: in my wallet, in my jacket, in my business card holder… I always try to keep a few handy. If you always have a tract on you, you are constantly reminded of the many opportunities you have throughout a day to witness.
Handing out tracts doesn’t have to be a set event in your schedule. It can happen organically throughout your day. I have a few “regular” places I hand out tracts. Parks, bus-stops, movie theatres, malls, farmers markets, etc. Those are some places I go for the purpose of handing out tracts and witnessing to people.
However, I also leave tracts in ATM machines and credit card slots. I’ve found that when you fold a tract in half, it fits perfectly in a credit card slot. That way, the next person who uses the gas pump after me will have some good reading material while they’re waiting for their car to fill up.
Any time I check out at a grocery store, department store, fast food, movie theatre line, etc… basically any time I talk to a checkout clerk, I leave them with a gospel tract. They give me the receipt, and I say, “thank you! This is for you!” and they usually say, “Oh, wow… thanks!”
Community boards, business card tables, bus stop benches, cases of soda at the store, shirt pockets in department stores, etc… these are all good places to make gospel tract drops.
I have found that by far, the best time to handout tracts is Halloween night, and December. On Halloween night, I get a big bag of all of the good candy, and I pre-package sandwich bags with two pieces of candy and a gospel tract or gospel of John. You can easily hand out 100 tracts with a 100% success rate (meaning 100% of the people take them) in a couple hours just by answering the door. I tell all the kids to read it, and then give it to their parents. During the Christmas season in December, we have a few places where people walk around and look at Christmas lights. I went out with a bag of miniature candy canes and gospel tracts, and had a HUGE success rate (I believe I only got one turn-down).
There are a million ways and places to hand out tracts; but the important thing is to simply do it. Keep some tracts with you in your purse or wallet, and make a deal with yourself that they have to be gone within the next couple of days. Once you make yourself available to hand out tracts a few times, it can eventually become like second nature.