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May 25, 2006

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I'm personally not a fan of tracts, but it's amazing that people actually come to know Jesus through them.

A friend of mine who does a lot of street ministry still uses them a great deal. A couple of years ago he and his team were witnessing outside an Ozzie Osbourne concert. They led several to Christ. Interestingly though the interesting part happened the following year.

My friend and his team were back at the same Ozzie Osbourne concert when he was approached by a man who came down to the concert specifically to find the person who gave him the tract the previous year. He had been drunk, but put the tract in his pocket. The next week he read it, became convicted and prayed to receive Christ. He came to the concert to find the person who gave him the tract to find out what was he supposed to do next. It took a year, but discipleship began that night.

It just proves God can use any method to reach the lost including tracts or Christian television.

That's how great our God is.

and not just 'any track' but a 'oneness pentacostal one' at that.

yikes. Sabella is alive and well...

God always amazes me. Things that WE THINK are out of date to lead others to Christ still works today. God is the only one who truly knows the heart of His people and what works for one does not necessarily work for others. I accepted Jesus Christ reading a Christian telephone book. The plan of salvation was so clear in that book. I have not seen a Christian telephone book since then.

I think that we just need to be open to the Holy Spirit's leading and use whatever God gives us to bring others to Christ.

AMEN on the gentleman at the Ozzie Osbourne Concert who found Christ through the use of that tract.

Blessings,

Michelle

Just because people have come to Christ through tracts doesn't mean we should automatically encourage people to use them in evangelism. How about all the people who are sick and tired of Christians, and became hardened against the gospel because of tract-pushers?

For me, tracts represent a paradigm I feel uncomfortable with: believing before belonging.

Having done my share of tracts, back in my Pentecostal Street Preacher days, I cannot say I am a fan. My biggest issue is that our culture bombards folks with reems and reems of paper, why should we add to the mess? Especially since many tracts are really a waste of that same paper. Now in a different context, say where paper is scarce this is quite a viable means of sharing the message - still can we please get someone proofing this stuff!

I actually read the blog of a young guy who illustrates tracts for Ray Comfort. Now Ray Comfort is about as far to the other end of evangelism philosophy as you can get from me. (I'd even say that I strongly dislike his approach to evangelism). But this young guy, Cedric, commented once on my own musings about evangelism. I've followed his blog ever since. He rehashes a lot of the stuff we used to spew at each other in my Street Preaching days, but you know there is always something to be learned in there. Even though I really dislike tract ministry I am evangelical enough to desire that the message gets out there. So I rejoice when the gospel is being preached. I cringe when it is lost in translation, but the heart is good and God can easily work with that.

Tracts had their day. The Oxford movement saw folks just eating these things up. There are moments in American Evangelicalism where tracts are a powerful means of communicating. That makes me wonder what the tract of our day will be? And how it will be disdained by those that come after us.

Frank

The biggest problem with tracts is that we're not really ready to follow-up on them. Christianity is communal. Tracts don't allow for community. If we watch the Church in Acts, we see that a church springs up where the believers are.

But what do we do for the people who receive a tract, but then don't get plugged in? They become a sort of anti-witness that can undo a lot of the good that tracts provide.

We're to share the Gospel person to person, face to face. Yes, some people receive Christ through tracts, but I suspect that many of those who do become anti-witnesses when they increasingly stumble after that decision because they have no church community to support them.

DLE, community is so important. The vast majority of confrontational evangelism has no vision for community. It becomes more of a numbers converted game - you live from high to high of conversion. But are these true conversions? I've seen grown men get on their knees in the middle of a marketplace and say the sinners prayer - but never see them again. In fact one such person wouldn't look me in the eye when I saw them a few days later on the street.

I think we need to relearn what is worth rejoicing in. Is it someone saying the sinners prayer or is it when someone really begins to see the world differently? You will never learn the latter unless you have community.

Frank

In Turkey there is an even more complicated problem. Many missions groups have used short termers to "blitz" people with Turkish New Testaments. The good effect is that nearly every younger Turk these days has an Incil tucked away on his or her shelf. One bad effect is that they learn to devalue them because of the mass distribution. When they see people taking one and then tossing it in the next garbage can, what does that say about the sacredness and power of the Scriptures?

Maybe it's good to "make" people have to work a bit if they want to learn more about Christ.

just don't leave a tract instead of a tip when you are in a resturant.
i like the idea of a free water bottle being given out at parades and sports events with the gospel message printed on them...living water and all that.
i once got very confused and even scared by a track that i was given, but it didn't lead me to accept Christ.
tracts are often handed out at parades around here, and they just become so much litter that the convicts have to clean up the next day.

What was the subject matter of the tract that scared you, Maryellen?

"Maybe it's good to "make" people have to work a bit if they want to learn more about Christ."

In an overly individualistic society, filled with "entitlements" -- this sure has an appeal. Hmm. Don't "apprentices" (as in "disciples") normally have to work hard?

Chris - "In an overly individualistic society, filled with "entitlements" -- this sure has an appeal. Hmm. Don't "apprentices" (as in "disciples") normally have to work hard?"

A wonderful answer, except that if you don't give them a reason to work, they won't. If you are going to evangelize, shouldn't you aim to do so effectively, rather than being the rich man crying out to the temple about how much he has given, with no cost to him being evident?

The tract is worthless. You hand it out and walk away. Face it, few out there haven't heard of Jesus. You have to be willing to put a little more work into it.

It is the same as the Jehova's witnesses. They keep handing me the watchtower and then asking if they can come back. I say yes. They don't return.

If I can't talk to you about it, you are wasting your time. This is true of many, but particularly true of a christian-educated non-believer.

I once performed my stand-up routine at a venue that was being protested. With no idea of who I was, a protester handed me a tract. What I gathered from it was that a woman was beaten by an abusive husband, went to live in the streets, was given a coat and a bible by a woman who said she would help, and then died without receiving said help.

Being a fairly bible-educated individual, I could find nothing inspiring about this tract. What I read was: life sucks, people offer help and abandon you, you die. Not exactly something that would convert me.

Maybe another message was intended, but the messenger wasn't there for discussion, he just handed me this awful comic book and walked away.

One good thing came of it though, as I used it in my routine, and the audience got an addition laugh at the protesters' expense.

Now tell me these tracts helped their cause.

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