North American Mission Board, 866-407-NAMB (6262) or www.namb.net/catalog
American Tract Society, 800-54-TRACT or www.ATStracts.org
Good News Publishers 800-635-7993 or www.goodnewspublishers.org
The Tract League, 616-453-7695 or www.tractleague.com
Gospel Tract, 816-461-6086
Planning a mission trip? Youve packed your jeans, comfy shoes and your
Bible. But dont forget to pack that other essentialplenty of evangelistic
As my husband and I were leaving a restaurant after dinner, our waitress
hurried toward us from the dining room. A broad smile illuminated her face. She
was carrying the tract I had left for her with our gratuity.
Thank you for this, she said, holding up the tiny booklet wed left under the
loosely-placed dollar bills. Ive been having a really hard time, and this is
just what I needed to see. Im so glad you gave it to me.
We talked a few more minutes, and when we parted my husband and I were
elated that we had been able to share Gods Word with her through something so
simple as a gospel tract.
Passing on the good news
By Anna Gheen
If someone had mentioned the idea of tract distribution to me a year ago I
probably would have shaken my head and given them a disdainful look. Ive always
associated this method of witnessing with those who are less than tactful and
force their faith on others rather than sharing it with them. It seemed to me
that it made little sense to try to share the good news with people you had
only known for a few seconds. After all, dont people prefer to hear things like
that from friends?
I know one woman who hands a tract along with her payment to the cashiers at
the stores where she shops. When I asked her about it she explained that she
shops at probably three different places each day. Thats three more people who
have had the opportunity to hear about the grace and forgiveness God offers
I found myself beginning to see some possible merit in this form of
evangelism, but I still wasnt sure how I could participate. One day over lunch,
I shared my misgivings with a friend. She smiled and shared what she considered
one of the most amazing experiences shed had while distributing tracts.
When her grandmother is at a restaurant, she likes to leave a tract with her
tip. One evening she only had one tract left in her purse, but at the prompting
of her family she decided to leave it rather than save it. She handed it to the
waiter with her payment and tip. As she handed it to him, a waitress walking by
noticed the tract.
Whats that? she asked. The waiter said that it looked like something about
God and the Bible. The young womans eyes just about popped out of her head. Her
next comment was the surprise of the evening.
Can I read it? she asked. Ive been thinking about that a lot lately.
After my friends story, I realized that I could no longer deny the
possibilities of tract distribution and began to consider ways I might be able
to plant these seeds. I liked the methods my friends were using, but I dont go
out frequently. As with most things, it took God very little time to bring to
mind another manner in which I come into contact with people who might not be
Christiansthe paying of my bills. The next Sunday I collected a handful of
tracts from church and placed them in the drawer of my desk. I began inserting
a tract into the payment envelopes with every bill I paid.
Many of my payments go to Christian organizations, and my first thoughts
were that surely it wasnt necessary to include a tract with those payments.
However, I still felt an urge to place tracts in those envelopes. I know many
people who have grown up in Christian homes, gone to church all their lives and
still arent saved. An idea came to mind. I pulled a sticky note out of my desk
and placed it on the tract. I scribbled the message, Sometimes its those you
least suspect who need Him most. Pass it on. I thought that it would give
someone who wasnt really saved another chance to consider Gods grace. And, if
people receiving the payments are Christians, they might begin to consider
those around them who might not be.
I dont know and may never know if God has used these seeds to bring anyone
into the Kingdom. I am confident that its our job to plant, and God will do the
Anna Gheen is a writer living in Ammon, Idaho.
Tracts are paper missionaries that can go where we sometimes cant go, and
they speak to people we cant reach personally. Since they are usually placed
outside the walls of a church, they are a non-threatening tool to share
life-changing truth. As non-Christians read them in privacy, without fear of
confrontation, God can speak to their hearts.
Tracts may be left on restaurant tables or in motels. They may be handed to
clerks at checkout counters in the mall. They may even be added to envelopes
with our checks when we pay our bills by mail.
They fit nicely into get-well cards and gift bags. Several people have told
me how grateful their friends were for tracts included in get-well cards. One
girl told me her neighbor had prayed with her to accept Christ as her Savior
after she had shared a tract with hertwo days later that neighbor was killed in
an automobile accident confident of her eternal destination.
For the past five years, Ive been in charge of the tract ministry at my
church, Jersey Baptist Church. One of our Baptist men built a tract rack for
me. It holds gospel tracts, tracts for comfort and encouragement, guides for
devotionals, prayer and Bible study, along with special tracts for children and
Each month I rotate and update the tracts, and I encourage their use with a
write up in our weekly church bulletin and our monthly newsletter along with a
monthly announcement in our Sunday school classes.
The exciting part of maintaining the tract ministry is the stories people
tell me about how the Lord has used their tracts. One couple left tracts in the
restrooms throughout Scotland when they visited relatives there. As they saw
the tracts being read, they felt a secret appreciation for the part they could
play in the mission field.
Holidays also offer great opportunities for tract distribution. In the
spring, a tract about Christs resurrection goes nicely with Easter flowers. In
October, we can turn Halloween into an opportunity to deliver the gospel with
the candy we pass out for trick or treat.
A tract about Thanksgiving can stir people to think beyond turkey-time to
the reality of blessings from God, and Christmas provides an excellent
opportunity to tell others that Christ is the reason for the season. Lay them
on empty plates or at each place setting at your holiday dinner table.
Usually we do not know who reads the tracts we leave behind, but isnt that
the best thing about the paper missionary? The responsibility of who reads each
tract rests with Godand He receives the glory, not us, when someone comes to
faith in Christ.
Faye Landrum is a writer living in Pataskala, Ohio.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC