November 2009

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Volume: 60 - Number: 11

The Lowly Gospel Tract

Earl Ritchie

In this computerized age, the gospel tract has been largely dropped as a means of spreading the gospel. There are, here and there, those who still use them, but the number of tracts must surely be decreasing as time goes on. There was a time when believers always had a tract in their pockets or purses to pass on. Some folks even carried a variety of them - some for the spread of the gospel and some for the benefit of believers. In those days people discussed tracts, they knew where to find them, they knew how to use them and they prayed about the tracts that they were giving out. This article is not a lament over the diminishing role of the gospel tract in the toolbox of the soul-winner, it is intended to be a word of encouragement to the use of the gospel tract more widely than we are doing now.

Gospel tracts are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be very attractive and eye-catching because the printer’s art has come a long way over the years. Gospel tracts are best when they are localized and personalized. Hometown people and incidents attract a lot of interest. There are many people who could write a good gospel tract. It could be their conversion to Christ, or an incident that God used to awaken someone to the realities of eternity. A computer search of any major newspaper would likely turn up very few occurrences of the words, "God," "sin," "eternal life," or "salvation." Isn’t it a favor to one and all when the mind is directed to these eternal realities through a short gospel message? There has been a major shift in the population of N. America in the past 25 years. The USA has an increasing Spanish speaking population, while Canada is welcoming hundreds of thousands of newcomers from China, Korea, and the Philippines. These populations need the gospel in their own tongues and, fortunately, Bibles and Bible portions, tracts, books, and booklets are available for distribution.

Gospel tracts have a life of their own that other media do not have. The fleeting images of the TV, radio, or DVD cannot outlast the gospel tract which may disappear into a pocket or a drawer to be pulled out at a later date to be reread. Eternity alone will reveal the winding trails that some gospel tracts have taken in their travels. God is in control, He will use His Word in the most extraordinary and effective ways. In losing confidence in the effectiveness of gospel tracts, we have actually lost confidence in God’s willingness to use "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise."

Have the residents within the radius of a mile of your meeting place received a tract and an invitation to a gospel meeting? If they have not, they should receive one in the near future. Let us be quite sure that they have all received an invitation to purchase a pizza at a reduced price. Why shouldn’t they be invited to hear the greatest message that the world has ever heard? There is a variety of ways to spread the printed page: tracts can be left at the door, they can be handed to individuals in person, they can be mailed to the homes, they can be printed in newspapers, or they can be inserted into community newspapers as advertisements.

It is true that there are technical questions that need attention but these can be solved fairly easily. These technical issues are concerned with the layout of the tract and the printing of it. Fortunately there are many believers who know about computers and the quick print shops. This is the place to start. Keep practicing. Change the layout, change the size, change the paper, and the color scheme, but keep at it. Hopefully, there will be a corps of interested believers in each assembly. These believers will be of all ages and capabilities. These are people with the heart of the evangelist, they love the Lord, and they love souls. These saints will pack the tracts, they will write them, they will drive the cars for others on the delivery, and they will pray for God’s blessing on the work.

There is help available for assemblies and individuals who want to become more involved in tract distribution through International Bible House, (ibhpublications@primesignal.com). Samples, how-to ideas, and help with district mailings are available. Have your name added to the list to receive Harvest Partner, our newsletter for those who are engaged or want to be engaged in the spread of the gospel. There is also a free booklet, "A Handbook for Tract Distributors."

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