When I was a kid I read a few evangelistic tracts. I prayed the prayer on the back. I expected lighting or something cool! It was written it such way that I was sure of something miraculous. But…nothing!
I hear of people dropping tracts in McDonald bathrooms or leaving them at restaurants. I get it.
I think I am like others. I question their effectiveness but I am excited when someone wants to do it. They want to reach people and that is good. It is cool and needs to be encouraged.
I have heard of people “accepting” Jesus by a tract. From there they went to church and the rest is history. Of course this isn’t typical but at minimum it gets people to think. Trusting Jesus is a process for most. They are introduced to the concepts of Heaven, Hell and forgiveness. Excellent!
But we can do better. We need to revise how we do it and what to expect.
I was in Wisconsin a few weeks ago to support Scott Walker in the recall election. We were at a rally with 4,000 people. A man was giving out tracts as we left the event. He boldly invited people to follow Jesus. There were a lot of Christians there and many sympathetic to Christians. But everyone flowed around him like water around a rock in a stream. I’m sure this was disappointing.
His message was typical. Confess you are a sinner, accept His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sin, read your Bible and go to a Bible believing church…etc.
He left with a lot of tracts, possibly disappointed. He may have thought people are resistant to Jesus.
It doesn’t have to go this way.
He needs to understand his culture. There are flyers people will receive and others they will reject. He needs to study what people will take and avoid.
At this event there were a lot of patriots. These people are pro-America. They love this country. So he could have made a tract with a flag on the front. He could have said “God bless America” and hand it to people. They would have received them gladly and he would have given out all his tracts.
Also the message needed to be reformed. But how?
He needs to know what his goal was. Was it to get one person saved? Was it to inform people?
I think a reasonable goal would be to inform individuals of their need for Jesus. Maybe some would get saved but given this is generally a process it is unlikely.
The message needs to be designed for the audience. Are you at a biker conference or a Little League baseball field? The design and message can be tailored for those people. If it is a motorcycle conference it should have a biker or Harley on the front of the tract. If it is a Little League game it may have a kid playing ball with his dad on the front.
Then to hand it out you need to say something suited for the event. It may take a couple of tries to figure it out. To a biker you might hand it to them and say “Hey check this bike out!” or “Do you ride a Harley!” At the game you can say “Support the kids!” You won’t have a problem giving out the tract.
Now that it is in their hand, what should it say? We bridge from the event-Harleys or Little League-to the message we want to send. For example if it is a group of bikers the bridge might look like the following:
“The Harley represents freedom, no helmet just you and miles of road. This freedom is preserved by people that have learned the more we take responsibility for ourselves and care for others, the less we need law to regulate our lives. Absolute freedom comes only when you and others continue to do what is right. In the life of Jesus we find He gave up His life for the freedom of others. This is it! We must do as He has done to be free. Read His words in the Bible and act them out. You will truly ride free.”
This is unpolished but you get the idea. It is short and we bridge from their interest and values to the importance of Jesus.
I recently gave out 120 tracts in five minutes with four friends. We went to the 4th of July parade in our town. It worked perfectly. No one resisted receiving our tracts and we encouraged 120 people to obey Jesus in a culturally appropriate way. Easy breezy!
These tracts are cool, fit culturally, are easy to give out, short and easy to read, and we communicate an essential truth. Try it with some friends. It is very satisfying! Then write a blog on how it went.