Tips on Tract Terminology
I Steven G. commented on 02 Ways To Use Gospel Tracts…
“when handing out gospel tracts, I have learned never to ask a question like, “May I share something with you?” That just doesn’t seem interesting or compelling. Here is a much better one-liner to use when handing out a tract: “I have a little gift for you!” Simple and to the point. Rarely will anyone refuse a gift if it’s handed out to them with a smile.
Also one that has proven to be 95% successful to a master tract-giver is this one: “Did you get one of these?” and hand it to them with only the edge showing, and not the face of the tract. Why? This question raises curiosity, and they can’t see what it is unless they take it. Secondly, it hints at the fact that they might be missing out on something, so they take it. Clever. Cute. Effective.”
Steven G. made some excellent comments on tract distribution. When we distribution Gospel literature, we want it to be received. People receive or reject tracts for various reasons which we may not know. They may be busy, distracted in thought, overloaded with other issues, or plainly not responsive to spiritual matters. Remember in most cases they are not rejecting you! You should almost never feel like you are being rejected when someone doesn’t receive a tract. They may be rejecting God but in most cases they are not rejecting you or what you are doing.
Many Christians are fearful of being rejected and/or looking weird. However, there are somethings that make tracts more attractive and receivable.
Thank you Steven G. for provoking me to write on this subject. I have a saying which I believe to not only be true but important. Perception is everything. A person’s perception may not be correct, but it is his reality. Obviously, we have many incorrect perceptions. We are sinners so we continually make inappropriate evaluations. The primary way to correct our perception is to get a good grasp of Holy Scripture.
Why was the Apostle John called the Apostle whom Jesus loved. That was the perception of the Apostle John. All of the disciples were loved by Jesus but apparently the Apostle John truly had the perception that Jesus loved him. If we do not believe that God and Jesus Christ love us, we simply have an incorrect perception of God’s love.
Also, we may have an incorrect definition of love. The Greek language has four different words for love. Only two of these are used in the New Testament: 1) philos, and 2) agape.
The Greek word “philos” refers to a warm brotherly type love, affection. This is the type love that brothers and sisters should have. This word is included in the city of Philadelpha which literally means “city of brotherly love”. This word clearly implies emotional affection.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:44-48 (KJV)
However, the word “agape” does not necessarily imply emotional affection. We in the Western culture tend to consider love to be primarily emotional affection. But the word “agape” is more of an intellectual will type love. We can will to love someone in the “agape” sense, but not in the “philos” sense. When Jesus commands us to love our enemies he surly doesn’t expect us to feel warm and fuzzy about them. No, He expects us to make the determination to do the best thing by and for that person. How can we love a person that is our enemy. We can “agape” that person by treating then in a way that will be beneficial to them. Many times enemies are turned into friends when they truly understand that we are interest in their best welfare. But we do not do this just because we want to change them, we do it because of God’s love (agape) for us and them. Many times our good will will be misunderstood. But we should be like God who “… maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”.
When people say spiteful things we should simply ignore then or we should ask ourselves if there is any truth in what they say. They may be correct in their assessment of us. They may not have spoken it in a polite way but it still may be the truth. God can even use this spiteful thing to make us better if we take it as possibly from God.
One of the primary obstacles to tract distribution and witnessing is the fear of man.
25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Another obstacle is Apathy. Many Christians never endeavor to win the lost either through tract distribution or personal witnessing. Tract distribution is a good way to start. Sometimes tracts are good conversation starters. If you are wise you will determine to go witnessing or distributing tracts with someone who already does it.
A third obstacle is fear of not being successful in tract distribution and witnessing.
Most of these obstacles can be cleared up by a proper understanding of what we are to do.
Like any other task, progress comes by learning and on the job training. You never learn only in the classroom. The best way is to go with someone that has been doing witnessing and tract distribution.
We must always be tactful when we distribute tracts or have conversations with unbelievers or for that matter with fellow Christians. We need to be tactful as well as making contact.
If you are a Christian and someone offers you a tract, do not refuse it. Even though your motive may be to save that tract for some other needy person, when others see you reject a tract, the five or ten people behind them will follow your lead and reject the tract.
Another hint which should be obvious is to be clean and neatly dressed. Usually common normal clothing is acceptable, but let the occasion dictate the manner of dress. In tract distribution of witnessing it is important to go two by two: two men together or two women together. There are a number of reasons for this. First this was the method Jesus chose for his disciples. Also, it is a safety measure for prevent false accusations or physical harm. The Bible states that everything should be established in the mouth of two or more witnesses. This is a wise principle even in secular world. At my work when I encountered what I believed to be a difficult person that might lie about what I said, I either called a fellow worker or the security guard to be a witness of the contents of the conversation. Also in some crucial matters of business I like to take a second person with me as a witness.
The words and terminology that you use may be crucial. Also, I would like to note that colorful and attractive tracts are 11 times more likely to be read than common ordinary looking tracts. These tracts may be more costly, but if tracts are not read they are not useful. The content of the tract must also be good. A tract that does not clearly present the gospel of salvation is not a tract to be handed out. I rarely hand out Christian growth type tracts because many unsaved people might falsely believe that salvation is by being good enough.
My observation is that there is a great lack and dearth of tract distribution today. There are many who ignorantly discount the value of tract distribution. Unfortunately, they many times are arm chair theologians and Seminary professors that have never won a person to Jesus Christ.
Also, do not expect a response from every person you witness to or who you give a tract. Both witnessing and tract distribution is a work of faith. The person to whom you gave tract may not be saved at that point but many years in the future. Paul stated that some plant, others water, but God gives the increase. There must be planting and sowing before there can be increase. Are you willing to trust God to do His work. If so you must do your work of planting and watering.
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 1 Cor 3:6-8 (KJV)
God has commanded us as Christians to evangelize the world. What does evangelize mean? It simply means to declare the Gospel. Let people know that eternal life is the free gift of God to all who believe. Your obligation is not to actually convert or save them, but simply make sure that they know and understand the Good News.
God has not commanded us to do something that is not in our ability.
Jesus said, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 (KJV)
The word preach is the Greek word “kēryssō” which simply means to proclaim or publish the Gospel (good news – euangelion). So we are simply commanded to let all people know about the good news that Jesus has paid for their sins and that they can receive eternal life simply by believing in this truth.
If you any questions regarding witnessing or tract distribution contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-934-0592 . Leave a message.
Thanks again Steven G. for your excellent comments!
May God bless your today and forever.
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14