Went to pick up my dress from the alteration shop, and when I was leaving the lovely owner carried Shiloh out for me in her car seat and even clipped it in the car. I finally put some tracts in the car so I have them on me, and when I was about to drive off I remembered that I wanted to give him a tract. Instantly prideful thoughts of doubt, inconvenience and reputation flooded my mind. The main thought was that I would look foolish going back inside after I had already paid, nevermind the awkwardness of giving him a tract at that point. I missed my natural window of giving it after I paid.
While I was having this debate with my flesh, he was probably wondering why I was sitting in my car for so long. That made it seem all the more awkward. Nevertheless I grabbed a tract, got out of the car and gave it to him in the shop. He was so excited that he gave me a hug, and with a huge smile on his face said he wanted to talk about it when he got back from his vacation.
I was so stunned that I just nodded and left, as this is not a normal response to a tract, especially here in the South ie people loathe them. The few times I offered one at the Starbucks drive-thru (after I got my coffee to avoid spit in it) I got an eye roll and the “tracts aren’t effective” speech. But if we believe God’s Word and Spirit are the power unto salvation and good tracts contain his Word, why wouldn’t they be effective?
The fact is they are very effective whether we like them or not. Granted, I often hear people say that tracts are generally corny along with other excuses so they don’t have to hand them out. While the corny one is true, there are some great tracts out there. I’ll provide links after the article of where to get them. That same argument can be applied to the Bible. “There are corny/bad translations of the Bible, therefore I won’t read it or share about God’s Word.” Case in point, ‘nuff said.
So what does one mean when they say tracts aren’t “effective” anyway? That no one wants to read them, and God has never used tracts as a means to get his Word across unto salvation? Besides, whether someone gets saved isn’t an indicator of evangelism effectiveness. It’s a hardened or softened heart in response to hearing or reading the Word that shines the spotlight on this blighty E-word, because either response means conviction of sin has taken place.
If there’s no conviction, then yes, the tract is most likely watered down and not effective. I think I need to write an article on all the unhelpful words and definitions Christians throw around when speaking of evangelism. Though I’m a bit worried there are not many that even talk about evangelism anymore. I find you bring it up and people look at you funny or listen but don’t respond. With a baby, I’m even finding it hard to keep evangelism at the forefront of my mind. It’s a battle for sure, because satan would love nothing more than for the Church to remain quiet and stagnant.
If we believe God’s Word and Spirit are the power unto salvation and good tracts contain his Word, why wouldn’t they be effective?
Anywho, two examples stand out in my memory of God’s work with tracts. Ever heard of a tactic of filling a huge balloon-type thing up with tracts that proceeds to rain them over a place hostile to the gospel? Talk about faith in God’s providence and Word for him to get those tracts in the exact hands he wants them in without the sender ever knowing most likely! That is the main thing that makes tracts challenging I believe. I’ve noticed in convos re evangelism people tend to think that having one-on-one conversations is way more effective than tracts, because you’ve formed some sort of “relationship” with that person—another evangelism term I hate. See my rant on friendship evangelism.
In this ranking of evangelism methods, tracts always end up in last place. Rather than focus on the fact that at any given time you can whip out 50–100 of these babies in the time it takes to have one conversation (not that I’m de-ranking convos), we tend to focus on our “control” and “emotion” of the situation. If someone has a good emotional connection via a gospel conversation, it’s going to make them more open to the gospel (we think) than a piece of paper with God’s Word on it. Again, see my rant on friendship evangelism. This is the farthest thing from the truth, because news flash, we are not in control of the outcome of any evangelism encounter, God is. Whether he wants to use a tract, conversation or preaching, each method is equally effective as the other.
The second example comes from my own life. So I’m in highschool, not saved and happy going my own way. Actually I was miserable but I thought I was happy. Cue tract hander-outers. I noticed them from time to time when I would walk home from school but I never took one. Well one day God didn’t give me a choice. You see, my friends were walking home and took some back to one of their homes. I didn’t walk home that day, but I ended up at the friend’s house with a tract in my lap. It was poorly designed as it was literally just a full sheet of paper with blue words on the front and red on the back. But I still read it, had the eureka-lightbulb gospel moment where it all made sense (ie God changing my heart first, enabling me to choose him), and as I felt the flames of hell nipping at my heels, I asked Christ to forgive me while thanking him for his death and resurrection on the cross for my sin.
To this day, I’ll never know who it was that handed that tract to my friend, and they’ll never know this situation ever took place. Maybe in heaven, but certainly not on earth. And this is why EVERY Christian should carry tracts and hand them out throughout various encounters in their life. We can never be certain about the “results”, and all those fools who try and play the numbers game about how many people they’ve led to the Lord, are just that, fools. But we can be certain that God is faithful to his Word, and he will illicit glory one way or another from every tract, and THAT is what it’s all about. Who cares what method is used, as long as God was glorified through the verbal or written sharing of his gospel.
I shared my personal experience, in a rushed 30-seconds if that, to the Starbucks guy in the drive-thru who said tracts aren’t effective. I think it just further agitated him, since his point was shot down, and he may have jumped to the corny strawman argument, but the convo quickly ended as it was time for me to drive off so I didn’t hold up traffic.
Ok I have to quickly share two more experiences that were just classic. One was when I handed a girl in a tract, and she put it in her mouth, chewed it and spit it back out. I just stood there and clapped for her performance. Another was when a friend of mine handed a tract to a guy outside of a Clemson football game, and the recipient ripped it up in his face. Two seconds later, a state trooper angrily marched over, barked at the guy at the top of his lungs for littering and that he didn’t care if the guy agreed with the tract, at which point EVERYONE was looking at him, lol, and then made him pick it up. As he walked by me with his head down, I quickly gave him another tract which he surprisingly took. That is one of my all-time favorite memories. There’s your emotional experience that guy was sure to not forget.
So are these often ill-designed pieces of paper effective in bringing about conviction of sin and repentance and faith in Christ unto salvation? I’ll admit some of them are not lookers. I have an eye for layout and I’m married to a graphic designer, so I can’t help it. But yes indeedy Mr Starbucks man, and yes to you reader they are biblically effective, as long as they properly contain the whole of the gospel as the Word of God would have it. These things can go a ton of places we can’t. My story is one in a world of a lot of people. Imagine what God does with thousands of tracts going out at one festival, or floating through the sky in enemy territory. When God says in Isaiah 55 that his Word will not return void he means it. 🐘
Here are some links to good, effective biblical tracts. It’s always fun to make your own as well. My husband designed the ones in the pic 🙂
My hubby and I run a graphic design biz, so if you would like help in designing a tract contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out our website at owlbranchco.com