I suppose any person who has been around evangelical Christianity for any length of time is familiar with the practice of passing out Gospel tracts. Over the past 15 years or so, I have had conversations with many people, including numerous pastors and missionaries, about the philosophy of Gospel tracts. During the course of these conversations, several main issues have come up time and again. These issues are:
1. Are Gospel tracts a vital tool or a waste of time?
2. How much Bible must be in a Gospel tract?
3. Does every Gospel tract need to present the Gospel in its entirety?
4. Is a straightforward approach better, or is it better to “ease into” the message?
5. How important is cultural relevance, and is there a “silver bullet”?
6. What level of quality is suitable and necessary to the Gospel message?
7. Can a foreigner write an effective tract in a language that is not his own?
8. Should we print tracts in America and then ship them, or print them on the field?
I have put down some of my ideas on this subject and intend to share them in a series of articles. In these articles, I will not be referring to Gospel tracts in the United States, but rather to tracts on the foreign field. Of course, there are myriad Gospel tracts and church invitations of the highest quality available in America. My concern is more with the missionary who has to start from scratch, writing his own tracts, and making decisions as to the content, printing, and distribution of those tracts. I believe there are some Bible principles which apply to this subject in general; however, many of the above issues are simply matters of opinion. My intention in these articles is simply to share some experiences I have had and some thoughts that God has given me on the subject. I have paid for the printing of more than 400,000 tracts since coming to Cambodia with funds provided through our supporting churches. I would like those supporting churches to know the philosophy behind the tracts. Also, I hope and pray that these articles may be a help to a younger or newer missionary. We don’t all have to reinvent the wheel. If I had not thought of some of these issues before arriving on the field, there is a good chance that some others have also not thought of these issues. At the very least, I would like to stimulate some thought. Please leave a comment or drop me a line if you have additional thoughts or ideas on this subject.