How to Use Gospel Tracts to Equip your Church for Evangelism
Every Christian is called to be a witness for Christ.
As a pastor or church leader, your calling is to equip your church to fulfill the Great Commission. Your task is to mobilize every believer in your church to be a witness for Jesus Christ.
But the statistics show that a growing number of Christians are simply not living with that mission in view. In fact, 51% of church goers don't even know what the Great Commission is!
In a recent report, Barna compared two research studies - one from 1993 and one from 2018. They found that "a growing number of Christians don't see sharing the good news as a personal responsibility." The people surveyed by Barna were asked to respond to the following statement: "Every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith." So how do the responses today compare to those in 1993? In 1993, nine out of 10 Christians agreed with that statement. Today? Only two-thirds agree (64%). That's a 25-point drop.
But when this conviction is actually tested in real life, the numbers get even worse. Another report from Barna said that "only half (52%) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year."
For most of the people in our churches, there is a huge gap between what we say we believe and how we actually live.
As a pastor or church leader, this should concern you. One of your key tasks is to help your people embrace their calling to share Christ in everyday life. They should be starting gospel conversations with neighbors, co-workers, friends, family members, and even people they meet for the first time.
So what's happening in our churches? Why are so few people actively engaged in sharing their faith with others? How can we equip people to have these gospel conversations?
To answer these questions, you'll need a biblical foundation for the mission, some practical tools to engage your church, and a few creative strategies to bring it all together. But before we can talk about the practical and creative side, we have to address the problem that we just described.
Start with the Heart
Let's start with the obvious. Sharing your faith is a daunting task. We live in a culture that is increasingly hostile toward the message of Jesus Christ. And many unbelievers have a very negative perception of Christians who "proselytize". In our relativistic and pluralistic culture, evangelism is a very unpopular practice.
Faced with these obstacles, many Christians prefer to think of evangelism as an optional part of the Christian life. And we are very good at coming up with excuses, aren't we?
I don't have time to share my faith.
I'm not very good at talking to people I don't know very well.
I’m afraid I would get questions I don't know the answers to.
But these excuses are just that - excuses. Biblically, there are two rock-solid truths that answer nearly every excuse that we pull out.
Drive these two truths into the hearts and minds of your church family. These truths will ground your church’s mission to reach the lost.
God is at work around you.
Much of the apprehension about evangelism comes from a misplaced sense of responsibility. We think we are responsible to get results, but we're not. We're responsible to be obedient.
But it's more than that. We are really being invited into the mission of God in the world. Through Jesus Christ, God is reconciling and redeeming people from every nation and people on earth. This mission is guaranteed to succeed. And we get to be a part of it. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
So we are not manufacturing opportunities to share our faith. We're not forcing the gospel down people’s throats. We're simply looking for the opportunities that God brings our way.
God has placed your church in a community of people who need the gospel, and God has placed your people in families and neighborhoods. He's given them co-workers and classmates. He's providentially arranged for them to interact with people that need to hear about Jesus.
Their task is simply to pay attention to where God is at work around them. And your task is to equip them to be faithful witness wherever they go.
God is at work within you.
He has given you everything you need to faithfully carry out this mission. You have the Word of God, you have the Holy Spirit, and you have a local church.
Most importantly, you have a story to tell. Your life has been transformed by the grace of God. You may not have all the words to describe that experience, but you understand enough to tell people who you were before you met Christ, what happened when you trusted Christ, and how He’s worked in your life since then.
God is at work around me, and God is at work within me. These are the bedrock convictions of every believer who regularly and effectively shares the gospel.
Choose the Right Tool
We’ve addressed the heart. That’s the most important step. But you also need to put something in their hands. They need a tool that will help them share their faith.
So what is the best tool to equip your church for evangelism? The answer is simple. The best tool is the one that your people will actually use.
Seriously, though. There are hundreds of programs and resources that promise to help people share their faith. And some of those may be a good fit for your church.
But don't over-complicating the process. Don't overwhelm your church family with information.
You want a simple tool that will effectively help your people point people to Jesus Christ. And one of the most powerful and practical tools for this is a gospel tract, customized for your church.
Why use gospel tracts? Here are 3 reasons to start using this simple tool in your church.
Gospel tracts start the conversation quickly and easily.
They’re easy to give out. Anyone can do it.
Offering someone a gospel tract is a very natural and unassuming way to fire up a conversation. You're not asking them to sit down for an hour-long lecture. You're just giving them an opportunity to talk with you about something you love talking about.
You don't need to open with a thesis statement on the atonement. Most of the time, a simple question is enough to start the conversation: “Hi, did you get one of these?"
In a very short time, you'll be able to tell if that person is interesting in continuing the discussion. It may be that they don't have the time to talk right then. That's fine. They can take the tract home and read it at their convenience.
You’re simply trying to gauge interest. You're trying to get an idea of where they are in their understanding of God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.
You probably won't have answers to all of their questions, but you can still make a meaningful connection with someone who is really seeking answers. And that’s much more important.
Home, work, vacation, grocery store, restaurant - wherever you go, you can take a gospel tract with you.
There are opportunities to share your faith all around you. Sometimes, you just need the reminder in your pocket, purse, or car to take those opportunities when they come.
Gospel tracts guide the conversation biblically.
They help you know what to say if you meet someone who wants to know more about Jesus Christ. They give you a basic guide for the discussion.
It’s not going to give you a script. The gospel is too big to fit into one script, and each person is much too unique for a one-size-fits-all approach. But a gospel outline can help you cover all the essential points of the message.
In general, every gospel presentation follows this basic outline:
God is the holy Creator of the universe.
Man - We are sinful, in rebellion against God.
Christ - God's solution to our sin is the perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection of Christ.
Response - We receive God's gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Of course, it’s about more than just memorizing an outline or a plan. It's about internalizing the message of the gospel in a way that's real and personal.
But even people who are sincere in their faith worry about finding the right words to share the gospel. A gospel tract is a very simple way to make sure they don’t leave out something that is central to the gospel message.
Gospel tracts continue the conversation indefinitely.
Think about it. A gospel tract stays after you leave. It goes home with that person. It can be read and re-read. And best of all - it never gets into an argument.
Maybe it gets placed on a counter or desk. Maybe it's rediscovered a few days later when the person has more time to read and think about its message.
That's the great thing about a gospel tract. People can read it when they are ready, which usually means that the Holy Spirit is working.
Gospel tracts are like an automatic follow-up to a good conversation. Throughout the rest of the day, they remind that person of the main themes of the gospel. That person might decide to visit your church. Or maybe they'll seek out the person who spoke with them at first.
Leaving a gospel tract keeps the conversation going.
Putting it All Together
So let’s put all of this together into a practical strategy that you can implement at your church right now.
Choose a Sunday to Preach on Mission of the Church
Many churches carve out a Sunday to talk about marriage or finances or prayer. Why not do the same with evangelism? Take a Sunday and preach on the mission of God for your church - to make disciples.
Lay the Great Commission before your people and call them to join you in faithfully engaging in that mission.
Remind them that God is at work around them, calling men and women to Himself. Why wouldn't they want to be a part of that?
Then, remind them that God is at work within them. They are not alone. He has empowered them with His Holy Spirit, He has equipped them with His perfect Word, and He has providentially placed them around thousands of people who need to hear the gospel.
Plan a Training Time
The research shows a clear connection between church members that share their faith and church leaders that provide specific training on evangelism.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has conducted extensive research on the practices of the top evangelistic churches in America. Here's what they found:
87% of the top evangelistic churches intentionally provided personal evangelism training for their members in the past year.
85% of the fastest growing churches provided personal evangelism training.
84% of the top baptizing churches train their members how to share their faith at least once per year. 50% of those churches train their congregation 2-4 times per year.
Training is a key part of equipping your church for evangelism. You'll probably want to make this an annual training time for your church, and you may even want to include it in your new members class.
However you decide to train your church, make sure there are opportunities in that training for people to practice sharing their faith with someone. Give them gospel tracts and have them actually go through the process of sharing their faith. Much of what they need to know will come through experience. But some solid training up front can allow them to focus on really communicating clearly and passionately.
Think of this training time as a long-term investment. It may produce immediate fruit. But even if it doesn't, it will make an impact in the everyday relationships of the believer in your church. It's more about the culture of your church than it is any specific set of results or measurements.
Joel Southerland, the Executive Director of Evangelism at NAMB puts it this way: "Just by offering the training, you’re making evangelism part of your church DNA. You’re creating evangelistic culture. That’s the impact evangelism training can have on your church today. It keeps the gospel front and center and it helps create an evangelistic awareness, interest, expectation and involvement.”
Celebrate Stories of Christians Reaching Others
Celebrate the power of the gospel in the lives of real people. Remember, this is about more than adding a new program. It's about transforming your church culture. And nothing transforms culture like celebrating what really matters.
Every time someone comes to faith in Christ in your church, there are two stories. There is the story of one person who heard the gospel and trusted Christ, and there is the story of another person who faithfully proclaimed the gospel and saw that person respond. Let your church family hear both of those stories.
Some churches use testimony videos to do this. One church in Texas uses their baptism services as a way to highlight these two stories. Four times a year, they have "celebration weekends", where most of the Sunday worship time is spent proclaiming the gospel through baptism. They ask their members to baptize the people that they lead to Christ, and they have both people share their testimony before the congregation.
God is at work in hearts of the people in your church. Give them the tools they need to be faithful witness for Christ wherever they go.
If you're looking for a great way to equip your church family, check out the gospel tracts from ProChurch. Choose a design style, edit with your church info, and place your print order. In just a few minutes, you can have customized gospel tracts on the way to your church.
Get those gospel conversations started in your community!