As you Go, Take Gospel Tracts with You
Your church family is busy. If they live in America, they are almost certainly busier than most of the world’s population. Their schedules are crammed full of work events, family activities, personal interests, and other responsibilities.
Despite continued improvements in efficiency and technology, Americans employed full time work an average of 47 hours per week. That’s up almost two hours from just a decade ago.
To make matters worse, the average American gets 40% less than the recommended amount of sleep.
To cope with the stress of our busy lives, we develop strategies for survival. One of the most common is to compartmentalize our lives. We try to deal with work stuff while we’re at work, and we try to deal with family stuff while we’re at home.
If something needs to be done, we look at our schedule, and we find a place to fit it in.
And many responsibilities and tasks can be handled in this way. But this approach really falls apart when we try to apply it to the roles that God has given us.
Put simply, our God-given roles will not work within the boxes of our weekly schedule.
If you are a father or a husband, you fill those roles 24/7. You never stop being a father or husband, so you never have a moment when those roles do not affect the way you work or talk or think.
And the same is true for your role as a follower of Christ. You never cease to be a Christian. So you really can’t compartmentalize your Christian life.
But of course, that doesn’t stop us from trying.
Churches schedule fellowships and worship services. They plan small groups for encouragement and edification. They schedule personal evangelism times to give out gospel tracts.
All of this is done to help people faithfully carry out their role as a follower of Christ. And this scaffolding is very valuable. It’s probably even essential.
But we need to be aware of the dangers that lurk in our church calendars. Sometimes, they can feed the lie that we can fit our Christian responsibilities into tidy little boxes that never interfere with the other parts of our personal lives.
Here’s the reality. All of our lives our to be lived in worship. The Scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing. The early church met daily to edify one another. And the Great Commission is not a call to attend a weekly evangelism event. It’s a call to live out God’s mission each and every day.
That’s what the command in Matthew 28:19 means. The command is ongoing. As you go, make disciples.
God is active in our evangelism efforts. He doesn’t hand us our orders and disappear into a back office. He is actively at work in our hearts and in the hearts of the people around us.
If you are a believer, you are an ambassador for Christ, sent out as His representative in the world. And you never clock out of that role. So the call to personal evangelism cannot be crammed into a 1-hour time slot. It encompasses your entire life.
God is sending you out into a world that needs to hear the message of the gospel.
Are you ready?
Are you looking for opportunities to share your faith?
Are you listening to the Holy Spirit?
Here are 5 questions to help you identify the people around you who may need to hear the gospel.
For many people, this is the hardest mission field. Family can be… well, complicated. If you have family members that do not know Jesus, you may find it difficult to start that conversation. But you simply must have it.
Your children, parents, siblings. and in-laws are not in your life by accident. God has placed them in your life, and He has called you to share Christ with them.
Yes, they’re going to know more about you than most people, and yes, they may try to use some of that against you if you try to share the gospel with them. But you can’t let this stop you from being a faithful witness.
Remember, it’s not about you. You are not the hero of this story. Jesus is. Your testimony is that Jesus saves sinners, so your own failures are not a barrier. They are an essential part of your testimony.
Plus, the gospel includes a promise that God will change us to make us more like Jesus. So your attitude and behavior towards your family should reflect a life that has been transformed by God’s grace.
Be humble and honest. But be faithful.
In America, we have become increasingly disconnected from the people that live around us. It’s not unusual at all for people to not even know the names of their neighbors.
But your geographical location is not an accident. God has placed you in your city and your neighborhood, and He has called you to a life of hospitality.
While discussing her book, “The Gospel Comes with a House Key”, Rosario Butterfield talked about the role of hospitality in personal evangelism. She gives this helpful reminder:
“We live in a world where we are told biblical conversations are hate speech. That’s ridiculous. What you can’t do is make sneaky little raids into people’s lives like a moral prig and then expect people to thank you for that. If you want to have strong conversations, you have to build relationships. If you have good manners, you’ll make sure you have strong relationships before you have strong conversations. That’s true with your children, your neighbors, and everyone else.”
Living out biblical hospitality is not going to be easy in our culture. But it is such a powerful way to connect with the people around you. God has called us to take the gospel to the world. Why not start with the people who live next door?
Right away, I can hear the objections being raised about the legalities of “proselytizing” while on the job. But let’s be honest. Unless you’re being rude and abrasive, those laws aren’t even going to be relevant.
Just remember that principle: strong relationships before strong conversations. Don’t beat people over the head with the gospel. It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t represent our Savior well. Take the time to get to know the people you work with.
This shouldn’t be that difficult. Just think about the conversations that you have with your co-workers or employees. You probably talk about a wide variety of topics, including topics that can be very controversial (like politics) or personal (like children).
If you are a follower of Christ, you should be connected with your local church and growing in your knowledge of God’s Word. You should be living out the teachings of Christ every day.
Why wouldn’t the things that matter most in your life come up in conversation from time to time?
If you are growing in Christ, you will eventually have opportunities to talk to others about Him. Sometimes, people will even initiate those conversations. Just be faithful in those moment to lift up Christ.
Now, we’re really getting personal. We’re talking now about your friends. These are the people that you choose to spend time with on weekends. These are the people that you invite over for birthday parties or holidays. These are the people who share you hobbies or interests.
You may choose your friends, but they are not in your life by accident. Once again, God’s heart is that you would be an outlet for His grace in all of your relationships. That means He wants to you use you to reach your friends with the gospel.
“But what will they think of me?” you may ask. That’s a tough question to answer. It’s possible that they may look at you differently. It’s even possible that they may not like what you have to say.
But you really won’t know until you try. And here’s one thing you can know for sure. They need Jesus more than they need you. True friends speak the truth in love. Be that kind of friend.
Because we like to compartmentalize our lives, we may not think to share Christ with some of the people that God puts in our lives simply because we overlook them.
We don’t see that lady who needs to hear the gospel, because in our minds, she’s just the lady who makes our morning coffee. We don’t see that man who needs to hear about Christ, because in our minds, he just delivers our paper or bags our groceries.
But each of these people is infinitely more valuable than our groceries or our coffee. They are eternal beings, made in the image of God. And again, they are not in your life by accident.
Be strategic about how you interact with the people in your city.
If possible, try to frequent the same business in your community. Get to know the employees. Meet the owners. Build relationships with the people that you know you’ll see every week or every month. You will be surprised at how much easier it will be to share your faith if you lay this foundation first.
Treat them with respect and dignity. Thank them for their service. Smile. Ask about their day.
Remember that you have never met an ordinary person. Every one of them bears the mark of their Creator, and every one of them needs Jesus.
If you ask your church family these 5 simple questions, they should have a good list of people that God has placed in their lives.
But what happens next? How do they intentionally engage these people with the gospel?
Well, for starters, don’t overcomplicate evangelism. You’re not giving a formal speech or writing a theological dissertation.
In his article on evangelism, Tony Merida suggests these 5 simple steps to help you intentionally reach out to the people that God brings into your life.
This is so simple and yet so important. Start by putting those people on a regular prayer list. Pray that God would open their eyes to the beauty of Christ. Pray that He would give you opportunities to share Christ. Pray that He would give you the right words and the right attitude.
In most cases, it’s as simple as introducing yourself and handing them one of the gospel tracts from your church. That’s an easy starting point for almost anyone. Don’t stop here, but don’t skip this step either. It’s a great way to start the conversation.
If you want your words to have more weight, try backing them up with action. Find practical ways to serve those people. Mow your neighbors yard. Cover some of your co-worker’s responsibilities on a busy day. There are thousands of ways to serve others, but it’s best to simply keep your eyes open and your heart engaged. Pay attention to the needs of the people in your life and move toward those needs.
Once you start building relationships with non-believers, you’ll quickly learn that every situation is unique. Each person has unique influences, experiences, and questions. As you start to hear their questions, you can start recommending resources to help answer them. Send them a book. Email them a link to a sermon. Offer to meet for a Bible study. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. But the more you are learning and growing yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to provide the right helps for those who are looking for answers.
This cannot be overstated. Effective gospel witness will always require words. You cannot witness with your life. Why? Because the gospel isn’t about you or the awesome things you can do. It’s about Jesus and the awesome thing that He did 2,000 years ago. Actions may speak louder than words. But without words, your actions are worthless in bringing anyone to Christ. Yes, live out the gospel with your life. But make no mistake, you’ll eventually need to use words.
There are many wonderful tools for the opportunities that God sends your way, but gospel tracts are one of the simplest and most effective.
Why? For one simple reason - they go wherever you go.
God is sending you out into a world that needs to hear about Christ. As you go, take the gospel with you. Not just in your heart and mind, but in your hands. Take something with you that you can give to others. Gospel tracts are the perfect tool to equip your church for evanglism.
So equip your church. Put resources in their hands that will help them in their role as a witness for Christ. Then, help them see the opportunities all around them. Don’t relegate evangelism to the church calendar. Make it part of the way your people think about their everyday lives.
No matter where they go, they are being sent by God, and no matter who they meet, they are to be a witness for Christ.
Even in the midst of busy seasons, your church can be a faithful witness for Christ in your community.
Each week, you gather to worship Christ, and each week, you scatter to proclaim Him to the world.
As you go, take the gospel with you.