I recently wrote an email to a bunch of Christian friends of mine on the tpoic of "gospel tracts." Perhaps it's because I'm so long-winded, but it ended up being quite a long email! I thought it might be helpful to provide a copy of that email here.
I hope and pray this is a blessing to you!
Mark Edward Sohmer
I'm writing because I have been so blessed lately by giving out gospel tracts, and I want to encourage all my Christian friends to make it a habit to give out tracts regularly.
That prospect scared the bajeebers out of me when I first became convicted that I should do this, but God has blessed me so much through it and it's gotten so much easier to do! :)
When I first became a Christian, I looked down upon tracts as a witnessing tool. I thought they were "hokey" or "cheesy" (and some are.)
But over the last few years God has turned my opinion around 180 degrees!
Here's a couple of quick stories of how God has used tracts recently:
I was in Vermont last weekend with my family and we were at a Memorial Day fireworks display. While it was still light out and we were waiting for dusk, I had this feeling that it would honor God to hand out tracts. Normally I wouldn't do that, but I faced my fears and I praise God that He gave me boldness. I went around and gave out about 100 "Millions Dollar Bills" tracts. People LOVED them and asked me for more!
Then I walked up to a group of teens who were dressed provocatively and smoking. I gave out some millions, which they loved. Then I did the "pink card/blue card" illusion. Then I followed up showing them a photo of my family, asking if the kids look like me or my wife, and then showed them a photo of my big head. Then I followed it up with "My pride and joy" tract They were all laughing so hard, one of them said "Who are you?" to me. I felt like saying, "I'm Batman!"
Anyhow, that was yet another lesson for me on how easy it is to plant a gospel seed that God can water if He chooses to. I share this story, not to show how great I am, but to show how great God is. If He can use me, then He can use anyone.
Yesterday I was at Stop and Shop (a grocery store in my area) and I gave a Million Dollar Bill to the guy at the Deli counter who was helping me. Then I walked away. I was literally 2 aisles over when he came up to me and said, "Hey, I like the Scripture on the back of this. Are you a Christian?" I said I was and he opened his heart to me about what a tough time he is having and how he's so tempted and prays regularly but needs help. He really opened up to me! His name is Rei and I promised I'd pray for him. I gave him my email address, so I hope he contacts me. I also suggested he read the excellent essay, "Save Yourself Some Pain". So please pray for Rei.
Then while I was paying for my groceries, the kid bagging my stuff had so many piercings in his face, I thought he lost a fight with a porcupine!
Normally I'd just ignore it, but I had to say something. I said, "Does that stuff hurt your face?"
He said, "No." Then he told me he did all the piercings himself.
So I said, "That settles it, I'm not taking a nap at YOUR house!"
He told me that all his piercings would have cost over $200 if someone else did it.
So I showed him my family photo, and he cracked up, and the big head, and he cracked up, and the "pride and joy" and he said, "you're a real character, aren't you?" So then I gave him a million and said, "Thanks a million!" He loved it! So easy to give out tracts sometimes.
I gave out a tract to a woman at Walmart and she told me she was a student at Moody Bible Institute and receiving this tract was really great and encouraging!
We can and should all be doing this!
Why is it that most people are far more likely to receive literature from Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses than from Bible-believing Christians?
Kirk Cameron wrote:
"I used to cringe at the thought of giving someone a gospel tract. I didn't want to appear as a religious fruitcake. But the sobering thought that every unsaved person will be spending eternity in hell compels me to do something. If I don't have the opportunity to speak with someone about the Lord, a well-written tract can do the speaking for me. A tract may not be as good as a personal conversation, but a sincere gospel tract is better than no gospel at all."
I say, "here! here!" and "Amen!"
Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron outline a few reasons why we should use tracts regularly:
Here's a GREAT short audio recording about the use of tracts: http://www.sohmer.net/media/George_Street.mp3.
It's just over 8 minutes and WELL WORTH IT! (This is the recording that God used to change my mind about tracts!)
Also, Living Waters has some of the best gospel tracts I have ever seen.
There's a short video of Ray Comfort illustrating how to use some of his favorites, which you can view by clicking here.
Also, the creative guys over at Custom Tract Source have some great gospel tracts too, including the Ticket to Heaven/Ticket to Hell. Please check out what they have to offer at http://www.customtractsource.com.
I'm sorry for writing such a long email, but I'm very passionate about this subject. Please please please make a commitment to REGULARLY give out tracts. It's not easy. It's fearful. I still get afraid, but I know God wants me to do it, and I know He wants you to do it too.
You can put tracts in your envelopes when you mail your bills. You can give them to the clerks at the deli, at the checkout, to people at public gatherings... anywhere!
I can't recommend highly enough the ministry of Living Waters for evangelism resources. You can buy tracts inexpensively there, or they have ones you can print out for free.
For what it's worth, some of my favorites are:
Now with all this said, these are MY FAVORITES, and one thing I learned is that some people like tracts that I don't, so everyone has their own preferences.
Maybe it's worth buying a "sample pack" - $5.00. This contains one of each tract they make, about 70 tracts. Then you can go through and see what you like.
Please let me know what you thought of this, and let me know if you're going to start giving out tracts as part of your regular routine. I will pray for you and I'd love to hear what God does.
in Christ and for His glory,
P.S. I was planning on sending this email out for over a week, and just this morning a godly man at my church, John Ziemba, sent me an essay on tracts. (God's timing!) Here are some excerpts from that excellent email:
BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE MESSAGE
The first consideration in the use of Gospel tracts is to be certain that the content is scriptural.
There are three problems with many gospel tracts:
- Many tracts do not contain a clear and biblical presentation of the gospel. Many refer to salvation in an unscriptural and confusing manner, such as "asking Jesus into my heart" or "giving my life to Christ." Salvation is not to give one's life to Christ, but is to trust the finished atonement of Christ. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see the Lord Jesus or the Apostles telling people to give their lives to Christ or to ask Jesus into their hearts. We need to follow the Bible very carefully in the terminology we use so that people are not confused and so they do not make> false professions of faith.
- The second serious drawback is that most tracts do not deal with repentance. Most don't even mention the word or even hint at the concept, yet the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles preached repentance plainly and demanded it from those who would be saved. Salvation only comes by "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Any presentation of the gospel should include the fact that God "now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). Whether or not the word "repentance" is used in a gospel tract, the idea should be. What is repentance? It is a turning, a change of direction (1 Thess. 1:9). When I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I am turning my back to the old life.
- Another problem is that many simply do not give enough information. Large numbers of people in North America today are as ignorant of the true God of the Bible and of the basics of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as any Hindu in darkest Asia. It is crucial that we begin with the basics with these people, and that we explain biblical terms thoroughly, otherwise, when they hear terms such as "saved," "believe," "Christ," "God," "sin," they won't have the proper idea of what we are talking about, and any "profession" they make will be empty.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PASSING OUT TRACTS
Giving out tracts is something every born again believer can do, young or old.
- Remember that it is each believer's responsibility to give out the gospel (see Mat. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:45-48; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:5).
- Remember that by giving out the gospel you are offering the greatest gift in the world. When we give out the gospel we are offering dead people life; we are offering poor people riches; we are offering sick people healing; We are offering lost people salvation.
- It is wise to read the tracts first yourself before giving them out to others. This way you will know exactly what it says and you can refer to it when you talk to people. Also, by first reading tracts before giving them away you can see if the tract contains something that is not true or leaves out something important such as repentance.
- Make a commitment to give out so many tracts each week.
- Always be pleasant and polite. Remember that you are a complete stranger to the people you are approaching. Ask kindly, "May I give you something special to read?" or "I have some Good News for You" or "May I give you something that has been a blessing in my own life?" If they are busy ask them to put it in their pocket and read at home.
- Keep in mind that the goal is not merely to give out tracts but to find opportunities to witness to people about the Lord Jesus Christ with the goal of leading them to salvation. Use the tracts to open the conversation, and when you find someone who is interested take the time to talk further with him and see if he or she is willing to meet again. We must remember that it is not enough to give out tracts; the objective is to see people come to Christ and baptized and discipled (Matt. 28:19-20).
- Don't get upset or discouraged if someone says something against Jesus and the Bible or they mock you and what you are doing. "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Mat. 5:11-12; Jn. 15:20; Lk. 9:26; Phil. 1:29).
- Give out tracts to those who look like they might be interested and to those who don't. We cannot look upon the hearts of men and we cannot know who God might be dealing with. Jesus said preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good" (Ecc. 11:6). Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." This refers to the custom of casting seed on the marshy ground after a river such as the Nile had overflowed its banks, trusting that the seed will take root and bring forth a crop. "When the waters receded, the grain in the alluvial soil sprang up. 'Waters' express the seemingly hopeless character of the recipients of the charity; but it shall prove at last to have been not thrown away" (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown).
- Be sure there is a name and address stamped on each tract so that if someone is interested they have a contact for further help. A gospel correspondence course is a good way to follow up on tract distribution.
- One of the most important things about tract distribution is faithfulness and persistence. Some may be thrown away but others may find them. We have a man in our church who first got interested in Christ by reading a tract that was given to his friend. This has happened many times. God wants faithful workers. Don't get discouraged if nothing seems to be happening. We must do this work by faith, not by sight. Keep your eyes on the Lord and trust Him to accomplish His will and to give fruit and just continue to give out the gospel. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Cor. 9:6). "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2).
- Remember that our real enemy in tract distribution is not people but the devil. He is the god of this world who is blinding the minds of the unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4). Thus we must have on the whole armor of God as we go about this important work (Eph. 6:11-12).
- Pray much for your tract distribution, both before and after. Pray that God will open the eyes of the people so that they desire to know Him and that they will read and understand the tracts.
© 2017, the Sohmer family