It wasn’t the first time I put my foot in my mouth. I was a young youth leader just out of college talking with some church folks about evangelism. Someone mentioned they liked using Gospel tracts. I rolled my eyes and went on a diatribe about how I had tried tracts and found them useless.
“No one really reads them.” I said. “They just throw them away”
I may have even thrown in some stats on the ineffectiveness of Gospel tracts for good measure.
The conversation had been put to rest.
That is until a young women standing in earshot of our group turned around and messed everything up.
She shared how a few years ago she had been in a very bad place in life–drugs, bad relationships, and financial ruin–the whole deal. Then one day she was walking down the street. She happened to see a little booklet on the sidewalk. Curious, she opened it up. It was a Gospel tract. One that used the “Bridge” illustration. She read it. Saw the prayer at the end. Prayed the prayer. And that day gave her life to Jesus Christ.
“That tract saved my life,” she said.
“uh…huh,” I replied.
Since then I’ve become much more “open-minded” about the use of Gospel tracts. I no longer try to convert people away from using them. Even when I hear that they placed them on every car in a Target parking lot. Or that they gave a tract in place of a tip at a restaurant. Or that they just like to pass them out to strangers on a street. Because hey, if God used them once before, he can certainly do it again (and I’m sure he has).
The Apostle Paul reminds us “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”(Romans 10:5)…I think that even includes those who hand out tracts.
But what if you don’t have a tract?
Start with a napkin.
Below is the “Bridge” illustration that led the young women to Christ. If you were born before 1985 and have been around church for a while you’ve likely seen it. But in our “post-Christian” cultural, there’s a good chance you have kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors or others you know who haven’t seen it before.
Take a moment to learn it, or relearn. Practice it on a napkin a few times- (so your drawing is not all smudgy). Then pray for an opportunity to share it with someone. They might take your napkin tract only to later throw it away. But then again someone might happen to find your discarded napkin tract. And it might just happen to save her life.