TIPS FOR PASSING OUT TRACTS
J. T. PUGH
A WORD TO THE OUTREACH DIRECTOR
We should use every means possible to get the gospel out. Among the various media of communication, the tract remains as
one of the most effective. During the past few years it has been sadly neglected. However, at the time of this great ENDTIME
REVIVAL, the tract, again, should be brought into play. This chapter is furnished for your information and designed to be
helpful to you in instructing soulwinners in the proper method of tract distribution. It will be most helpful if the time can be
allocated in which some of the material of this chapter can be brought before the church congregation or the workers of the
church. If the Outreach Director can secure the help of a capable speaker to present the truths and tips of this chapter, it may
be more effective. As you read it carefully, you will, no doubt, find the desire to employ this means of communicating the gospel
rising within your heart. If the Outreach Director, himself, believes in the effectiveness of this method, it will be easier for him to communicate the same to the workers of the church.
FERTILE SOIL OFT’ NEGLECTED
There was a time when tract distribution seemed to be quite effective. This was 35 to 40 years ago. Then, in time, there was a waning of effectiveness. This may have been because Christians became less interested in using this most profitable means of communicating the gospel.
Whatever the reason which caused a declension in tract distribution over the past years, we are happy to say that a change has now come. Pressing world conditions, a feeling of futility relative to materialism and other factors have caused people to search for new and different ideologies. There has been a tremendous change in concept, sense of personal need and prejudice. This is seen in the flourishing underground newspapers. In many large cities one does not go very far without seeing someone standing on the street distributing some type of literature. The fact that they still employ themselves in this activity assures us that the literature which they offer is being taken.
Tract passers in New York state that out of every 100 tracts offered they can be assured 75 will be taken. It would be almost impossible to compute the number of tracts that one man could hand out on the streets of some of our large cities in the process of one month.
* A man from South Africa made contact with the United Pentecostal Church headquarters because of an article he read relative to the truth of baptism in Jesus’ name.
* A missionary going into the Carolinas found a man who believed in the Holy Ghost and baptism in Jesus’ name because of
a tract which he had read.
* A missionary in South America going into a town found scores of people ready for baptism and the Holy Ghost because
one man happened to pick up a tract which evidently had been dropped from the window of a passing bus.
* A woman in New York made her way to a United Pentecostal Church and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and was
baptized in Jesus’ name. She found the address of that church on the back of a tract which she picked up on the streets of New
TRACTS ARE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE . .
1. They are a point of contact. The passing of a tract is most effective when it comes at the close of a kind and friendly conversation with another party. The tract placed in the pocket or tucked inside a purse is a means of remembrance of the kind face the gentle interest manifested by the tract passer.
2. It contains a message that can be read again and again. Words which are spoken perhaps are soon forgotten, but the gospel truth is frozen in print. Thus, the recipient of the tract is given opportunity to ponder and study the message therein.
3. It has, on the back, the address of the church. This enhances the possibility that the recipient will make his way to hear the gospel preached.
4. It can be effectively placed in restaurants and other places to be picked up later by people who had rather read than to simply idle their time.
5. It is inexpensive. Perhaps the tract ministry remains one of the most inexpensive ways of getting the gospel out.
6. Tract passing is blessed of God. We cannot expect every offered tract to be taken or well received. We need not expect each one to result in the salvation of a soul. But we do have the testimony of scripture that good results will come. Not all the soils of life are receptive to the gospel, but all around us is an abundance of “good soil.” “Behold a sower went forth to SOW; and when he sowed, some seeds. . .fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit.” (Matthew 13:3, 4, 8) We are further assured in Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, but shall shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
ALWAYS HAVE A VARIETY OF TRACTS WITH YOU
Having a variety of tracts available is the first steps in tract habit. Countless opportunities are missed because we don’t have the tracts at the right time. Keep tracts at your business, at your home, near the door and at your desk. Having good tracts with you at all times enables you to take advantage of many openings to get the word of life to a child, to a passerby, to a seat-companion or anyone else. Use them to open a conversation. Use them to close an effective witness.
ALWAYS BE GRACIOUS
The attitude of the tract passer is a determining factor as to how well the tract will be received. Of course, tracts can be passed out on a busy street where there is not much opportunity for close personal contact. But even in this setting a certain kind graciousness can characterize the work of the tract passer.
In passing tracts on a busy street, the passer should step directly toward the person he is offering a tract to. The tract should be thrust swiftly toward the hand of the potential recipient. Simultaneously a word designed to attract attention and also invoke response in the recipient should be spoken. Several words may be used such as, “May God bless you,” “Please,” “Thank you.” You will find that the potential recipient is more inclined to take the tract than to turn it aside. A natural instinct is in the favor of the tract passer. The habit of life is to receive something which is extended from another. We would emphasize that the tract should not be offered timidly, but forthrightly and in a positive manner. This will enhance the possibility that it will be received. Needless to say, the tract passer should wear a smile and demonstrate a most cordial attitude.
Patience, kindness and tact go hand in hand with distributing tracts. It is much better if a person has an opportunity to talk or witness for a while before a tract is passed. It is good to wait for a few moments until you are sure that the tract that you give will be accepted with interest. Avoid controversy and argument. Never give opinions when scriptural facts are available; the facts are in the Word. Impress upon the listener that you are quoting the very thoughts of God.
Timing is, in the final analysis, just as important as the contents of he tract itself. It matters not how well written a tract is if it is not read, he worker has accomplished nothing. The tract passer should not work mechanically but be guided in a very sensitive way by the Holy Ghost. For instance, in giving a tract to a busy clerk, wait until she has given you change and then pass the tract to her inviting her to read it in some leisure moment. Try never to “force” a tract on anyone. If you cultivate the habit. If being tactful and kind, persons will gladly accept them and you will find hat tract distribution brings a sweet joy as you seek to serve the Lord in this way.
SHOW REAL INTEREST IN EACH INDIVIDUAL
Friendliness and interest in the other person go a long way in making tract distribution successful.
To illustrate; suppose you had a tract ready to give to the elevator operator who is taking you to the 11 the floor. Ask him how many trips he takes in a day. Ask him what percentage of the people have smiles on their faces. Ask him if his final trip is going to be up or down. He will be much more likely to read the tract if you have shown an interest in him personally.
By cultivating a friendly attitude toward all people, you will find that your own life will be blessed and tract distributing will
not only be fruitful but a delight to which you will look forward. Always include your name and address and also the address of the church, most especially if you send literature through the mail.
CHOOSE YOUR TRACTS CAREFULLY
The wise personal worker knows that the average person does not know the difference between baptism in the name of Jesus
Christ or in the Trinity formula. Most of them scarcely know the difference between immersion and sprinkling. Therefore, it is entirely superfluous to confuse them with a heavy doctrinal tract relative to the Godhead or baptism in Jesus’ name. There may be
some people who this tract would be entirely appropriate for.
However, for most of the people who are not schooled strongly in the scripture, a tract relating current events to the prophetic truths of the Bible, the common need of every man for God, or the love which Jesus Christ has for a sinner and the help that one can find in Him, are most advantageous. Experience has revealed that the careful worker brings his prospect along, one step at a time People are won personally. It matters not whether their decision is made in a mass meeting or alone with a fervent soulwinner, the decision is still a personal decision. Therefore, each person must be worked with exclusively as if they were the only one in the world. What would affect one person may discourage another.
Be careful that the tracts you do use contain scripture passages that are appropriately chosen and carefully applied. It is
the word of God that is “living, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword.”
READ CAREFULLY EACH TRACT YOU USE FOR DISTRIBUTION
Reading the entire tract will enable you to give out the word of God intelligently and will help you to pray about a certain passage you have given to a certain type of individual. It is utterly impossible to witness intelligently with tracts unless the one who passes them knows the contents of each. Try to carry children’s tracts and booklets with you, also. You will find that children love to receive and also will take them home to their parents. This has proven effective in Sunday school work. Make your tracts do for you what you want them to do. Just as a skilled professional man chooses his tools for each task, so the effective tract worker chooses each tract to do what needs to be done at that particular time.
PRAY AND PRAY
The tracts that you give out contain the good seed of the word of God. To bring forth fruit, seed must be watered Prepare yourself by prayer each day that God will bless and lead you to souls who are seeking eternal life. Seeds that you have sown during the day should be watered with much prayer. At the end of the day as you are in prayer before the Lord, try to recall the different contacts you have made with tract. Remember each one you can and ask the Lord’s definite blessing. As you distribute tracts, keep your heart in tune with the Holy Ghost and you will be led always.
In the sowing of seed, much fruit results from much seed being sown. In II Corinthians 9:6 God said, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly; shall reap also sparingly and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” Tract distribution is sowing the good seed of the word of God. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” Tract distribution helps us fulfill our calling as witnesses for Jesus Christ.
WHEN AND HOW TRACTS ARE EFFECTIVE
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Ecclesiastes 1 1:6). Holidays are excellent opportunities to distribute tracts. Booths at country fairs or at home show exhibitions give many contacts. Place tract racks in laundromats, hospitals, depots, restaurants, hotels, barber shops, factories, and, of course, churches. Young people can be trained in tract distribution at the various places they frequent. They usually like to pass tracts at picnics, resorts, conventions and other places.
THE TRACT PASSER MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS ENGAGED EFFECTIVELY IN SOULWINNING
“He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). A Christian who sacrifices time and energy to win souls is not only wise in God’s sight, but lives in a consciousness of deep joy. We are Christ’s ambassadors. The essence of II Corinthians 5:18-20 is, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ . . . God. .. hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and have given us the ministry of reconciliation, to whit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
What a responsibility rests upon each Christian to present the Saviour here! Webster states that an ambassador is, “a representative of or an agent of another charged with a special mission.” As ambassadors of Christ it is our blessed privilege and rightful obligation to tell others of Him and win their souls for Him
THE DIVINE PATTERN
Today the most effective means of soulwinning is by personal interest and contact. No better example of personal soulwinning can be found than that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He recognized that salvation is a strictly personal matter. He chose His disciples one by one. While He came to save, He left no plan to save mankind in mass. His plan was to preach the gospel to every creature.
Though there are several outstanding portions in the gospel indicating the method the Lord Jesus used in personal soulwinning, the following concrete example has been selected.
Outlining The Method Of Christ
To the Lord Jesus the despised Samaritan woman meant an opportunity
1. He was traveling, yet He won a soul on the way.
2. It was high noon and lunch time, yet He thought first of the Bread of Life for a perishing soul.
3. He was tired and hungry, yet He did not allow that fact to cause Him to put off the opportunity.
4. The opportunity seemed small, only one, and that one a strange woman.
5. The one to be won was a despised woman of a despised people.
6. Excuses were abundant, but none of them stopped Him.
7. His method of approach was tactful, and not offensive.
8. He did not turn away because the woman did not at first appreciate His meaning and purpose.
9. He did not allow her to turn Him from His point.
10. He unerringly drove home the truths about both sin and God.
11. He convinced, convicted and won the woman, so that she became, in turn, one to bring others to Him.
12. He used the incident further to prepare His disciples that they might be equipped to be winners of souls.
THE TRACT SOWER MUST PREPARE HIMSELF
We cannot be useful ambassadors without the proper preparation. While it is true that Christ, “needed not that any man should testify of man; for he knew what was in man,” He was our perfect example.
1. Jesus had a complete knowledge of the word of God. It was ever on His thoughts, and no gainsayer could ever trip Him in its use.
2. He prepared himself by prayer and direct communion with His Father, until He came before the people to tell them of true salvation.
3. He prepared himself by thoroughly familiarizing himself with nature.
4. He prepared himself by coming to noble men and women in their everyday life and thinking, as witness of His ever keen analysis of life and consideration of every class of people.
PREPARING THE HEARER
Almost every recorded physical act of Christ was made to prepare the minds and hearts of men for His spiritual message. He fed them on loaves of bread that they might eat of the Bread of Life. He raised the dead that He might teach of eternal life. He healed the lepers that He might teach the healing of souls. He unstopped deaf ears that He might open the way to hearts deaf to God.
While we cannot always, at will, perform miracles, we can prepare our prospects for the message the Lord has for them. We can do many good deeds each day to prepare an opening for conversation. Remember that “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. . .” (Colossians 3:17). Remember that you are engaged in God’s work as surely as were the apostles of old. We promise to go with them and He will also go with you.
“Behold a sower went forth to sow.”