Put your Gospel Tracts to Work: 5 Things they Need to Do their Job Effectively
Your church gospel tracts are asked to do a lot.
They carry the gospel message to people who have never heard it. They introduce people to your ministry. They provide information on how to connect with your church.
They give your church family a road map for gospel conversations with their friends, family, and neighbors.
They are left on front doors, given out at grocery stores, and sent out in letters.
But are they working?
5 Things your Gospel Tracts must Have
As you give those gospel tracts out in your community, you want to know that they are accomplishing their purpose.
So how do you know if they're doing that?
Here are 5 things your church gospel tracts must have to do their job effectively.
It might be tempting to cut corners on the design. You know, maybe design something in Microsoft Word. Or grab some random design off the internet. But you really can't afford to miss the target here.
In our culture, everyone is used to seeing high quality print materials. They get them in the mail. They find them on their front door. They pick them up from business they visit. Like it or not, people are going to be influenced by what they see in your gospel tract, not just what they read. In fact, their first impression will come from your design, not your carefully written content.
Now, let's be clear. Your gospel tract design will not save anyone. But it certainly has the power to distract someone from the message behind it. And the sad reality is that most of the gospel tract publishers online are using styles and designs that look like they're 20 years old.
Yes, the gospel message is timeless. But the designs from the 1990's are not.
So don't use them. Invest in a quality design. It doesn't need to be flashy or trendy, but it shouldn't be cluttered, outdated, or distracting.
Your gospel tracts contain the life-transforming message of Christ. Don’t allow anything to detract from that message.
Your church tract is eventually going to find its way into the hands of people who don’t go to church. They may not know very much about Jesus, and they probably won’t know much about the Bible either.
The content of your gospel tracts needs to be written to them, not other Christians. Don't make unbelievers feel like outsiders when they read your gospel tract. If they feel that way, they probably won't read very far.
Don’t write about them; write to them. Don’t give them a reason to excuse themselves from the conversation.
This is a common complaint from non-believers. They’re turned off by what they see as "religious jargon" or "canned presentations". Conversations with unbelievers about Jesus Christ and the Scriptures can get awkward really fast. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Part of overcoming this obstacle is simply expecting it in the first place. We don't normally expect this disconnect with non-believers, because on many other topics, we share a common cultural context and vocabulary. We can talk about sports, family, hobbies, and even politics without too much confusion. But this is not always the case with the language we use to talk about our faith.
So how do you avoid this problem? For starters, you choose wording for your church tract that can be easily understood by someone who is reading about these truths for the first time. This means you'll want to avoid “Christianese”, the confusing or cliched words and phrases that we sometimes use in Christian circles. For example, most non-Christians are not going to understand what you mean by "asking Jesus into your heart”. Using language like that in your tracts invites unnecessary confusion.
You’ll also want to be careful about theological language that may be unfamiliar to non-believers. Take a moment to consider how non-believers would interpret words like "born-again", "justification", and "conversion" if they read them for the first time. It's not likely that they would be thinking what you're thinking right now.
You probably won't be able to avoid every word like this. But you do want to be aware of the possible misunderstandings when you choose to use words that may be unfamiliar to non-Christians.
In some cases, you may need to give a quick definition in context. Other times, you might just translate the concept into more accessible language. But whatever you do, you need to stay laser-focused on clearly communicating the gospel to someone who does not know it or believe it.
One of the best ways to do this is to imagine sitting down with someone who does not know Christ. Imagine meeting up with them at a coffee shop, sitting down in a quiet corner, and hearing them say, "Tell me about Jesus." What would you say? What would you want them to know about your Savior? What would they need to know to understand the gospel? How would use speak passionately and clearly about their need for Christ?
Communicate clearly. Anticipate common objections and possible misunderstandings. And try to eliminate any barrier to their understanding. In short, love and serve people with your words.
I know this should be obvious, but it’s still important to mention. Your gospel tracts should actually contain the gospel. Many gospel tracts are heavy on opinions and very light on gospel. Don't make this mistake. It is the truth of God’s Word that has power to soften hearts and transform lives.
Of course, there's a ditch on the other side of the road here too. It's possible to stuff your church tract full of Scripture passages that are obscure or unclear. Does that unbelieving neighbor of yours really need to understand every facet of your church's position on the millennium? Probably not. It's best to focus on truths that are central to the gospel.
Remember, you want people to use this gospel tract to help guide gospel conversations with people that they meet. So you want to give them clear directions to follow.
Most gospel presentations follow some kind of basic gospel outline. Here's an example of a simple gospel outline that's included in many of the gospel tracts at ProChurch:
First, realize that God loves you.
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Second, realize that everyone is a sinner.
Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Third, realize that sin has a price that must be paid.
Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Fourth, realize that Jesus Christ dies to pay your price.
Romans 5:8 - "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Finally, repent of your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you so that you may receive eternal life.
Romans 10:9 - “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Romans 10:13 - "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
A simple outline like this will help you choose Scripture passages that keep the conversation focused on Christ and the gospel.
Something about your Church Family
The church is not about buildings or programs. You know this. The church is a community of people who are following Jesus together. Your church tract should be an invitation into that community.
It should clearly communicate the gospel, but it should also communicate that the gospel gathers people. We are saved from sin and into a relationship with Christ, and we are saved into a community of faith.
Jesus said that people would know that we are disciples by the way we love one another. For many people who do not know Christ, the gospel is best understood in the context of real relationships.
Talking about the relationships in your church is a great way to draw people in. We are made in the image of God, so we all crave relationship. Fundamentally, we need a restored relationship with our Creator. But we also need healthy relationships with other people. We need a place where people will love us and speak truth to us. For the people in your community, your church can be that place.
Give them a glimpse of that reality by talking about how God is transforming lives in your church. With a few crisp statements, you can talk about how the gospel is changing marriages, families, and friendships in your church. And you can invite them to come and see what God is doing.
Contact Information for your Church
Some gospel tract publishers allow you to customize a gospel tract design to include your church contact information. So it can also double as a church invitation.
As you start these gospel conversations with friends, family, and people in your community, God will begin to work in their hearts. But this work may not happen in one conversation. So you want to give them a way to continue the conversation.
Some people may even want to plan a visit to your church. Of course, you could just include an address. But how much better would it be to give them a quick snapshot of where your church is located? At ProChurch, they make this easy. They provide a free, customized map to every first-time customer who places an order.
It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference in the look and feel of your printed materials.
You should also include other traditional contact points like your church phone number, email address, and website. And don’t forget to add information on your church social media feeds (if you have them). Many people are making first contacts with churches online. It’s an easy and effective way to connect guests with your church family, even before they visit your church for the first time.
One final thought here: make sure someone is checking these contact points regularly and responding to questions promptly. Don't provide your phone number if no one is answering it during the week. Don’t point someone to your Facebook page if it only gets updated once a year.
You get the point. If you’re not ready and expecting people to contact you, then don’t give out contact information. It will do more harm than good.
Whatever contact info you decide to include, stay focused on the big picture. You want to make it easy for people to find you, because you want to help them find Jesus. Don’t miss a single opportunity to do that.
So there they are - 5 things your gospel tracts must have to be effective road maps for sharing your faith.
If you’re looking to customize a gospel tract for your church, check out one of the gospel tract templates from ProChurch. Choose a design style, edit with your church info, and place your print order.