The Christ charged His followers to go teach/ make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). It is His will that we preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations (Luke 24:47). He wants all lost people to be saved, so He wants every single person to hear and obey the gospel (Mark 16:15,16). His desire is crystal clear. So is our mission!
Tracts are one means of communicating the Bible’s message to other humans. Whether we place a tract in someone’s hand, leave it in the entrance to their dwelling place, or lay it in some public area, tracts can be an effective, non-confrontational way of introducing people to Jesus and the Bible. Let us use them! We personally have used them extensively and plan to continue to do so.
While it is possible for a tract to be available for reading online, much like one would read an article, normally when we speak of a “tract,” we have in mind a message about a Bible topic or topics which is printed in a not-too-lengthy format. It might be done on a single, folded sheet of paper, or it could be somewhat longer and need to be stapled. We call them “Bible tracts” because they cover Bible-related subjects.
Perhaps we should clear the air on a couple of matters. Yes, printed tracts cost money. Yes, some people throw away the tracts which they receive from us without reading them. And yes, some people read our tracts but do not have the response which we are seeking. Should we conclude from these admissions that printing and distributing tracts is a waste of money, time, and effort? Not at all.
What do tracts do? They put people face to face with some aspect of God’s soul-saving truth. No single tract covers every Bible subject, but when a disciple sows the seed, every little bit can be helpful.
What do tracts do? They send a message to the recipient/reader that says, “We care enough about you and your soul to tell you what the God of heaven says about this subject.”
What do tracts do? They bear fruit. We fondly recall how one hospital patient found a tract in a waiting room, read it, requested a Bible course through the mail, and eventually obeyed the gospel: all because someone left a truth-teaching tract in a visible location. That brother died in the Lord, and he owes his salvation in part to a tract and tract- sharer. Another brother whom we know is an elder in the church – his conversion started when he read a tract.
What are some potential pluses/advantages of using tracts as a teaching tool?
As with other written materials, they can be read and reread, again and again.
One can read a tract at his own rate of speed.
One can read a tract wherever and whenever he desires without pressure from anyone looking over his shoulder.
They are organized and systematic – if done well, they stay “on topic” and do not ramble.
They easily can be passed on from one reader to the next. In one scenario, a person was given a tract then passed it to another, and through him contact was made with a third party. It was folks in the third stage of contact who obeyed the gospel, not the first one encountered or the second reader of the tract. Who originally distributed the tract? A four year old kid.
Tracts are written on specific topics. That is appealing to one interested in such subjects.
They can serve as “door openers.” They can be helpful in creating a connection with a person which could lead to a person-to-person study.
Some suggestions & observations on using tracts:
Carry some with you on more than one topic.
Some are written better than others. Try to use the best available to you on a given topic.
Some are so long they lose their effectiveness.
If using tracts for mass distribution, try to use tracts that introduce the reader to basic topics (such as Jesus is the Son of God or why we believe the Bible is God’s word).
Some are well-written, but the person whom you want to reach may not be ready to receive the truth presented in it. Use common sense. For instance, each person needs to realize the importance of worshipping God on the first day of the week, however giving a tract which covers that theme to one who does not even believe the Bible is the word of God is not going to be very helpful.
Try to give appropriate tracts – those which best fit what you know about a person’s background or interest.
Look for opportunities to get tracts into people’s hands. Do some brainstorming. Be creative.
Some of the tract racks in our church buildings are pitiful. Dust abounds, tracts are mangled, many slots are empty, and the whole setup looks unorganized. In a word, they look neglected, unloved, and unused.
Should we consider using tracts as our one-and- only method of teaching the gospel? We think not. They have the potential to be a helpful tool, but they can never take the place of one-on-one instruction with an open Bible.
— Roger D. Campbell