If you’ve read the testimonies in “An Introduction to Gospel Tracts”, you may feel ready to give distribution a try. But where do you even begin? In this week’s post, we’ll take a brief look at two common tracting philosophies and what they look like in action!
Let’s begin with a brief dialogue on tracting philosophy. There are two major views about when and to whom you should offer a Gospel tract. The first is that you should only hand them out as you feel the Spirit’s specific leading. Those who adhere to this philosophy won’t be found standing on street corners or whipping out a tract every time they meet someone new. Instead, they prayerfully ask the Lord to direct their steps and guide them to distribute the literature where it will be most effective.
This is a great method and almost guarantees that your sharing will always tend towards the more personal level. Its major downfall is that it is often easier to disguise fear as “lack of the Spirit’s leading” than you might think! Consequently, if you decide that this is the method for you, keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
A second popular method of tract distribution is the “scatter” method. People who share this philosophy are likely to be found distributing tracts to every sales clerk, waitress, or cashier with whom they come in contact. This approach is particularly good for those who are new to tracting, since it builds courage through repeated, inoffensive use. You will be amazed at just how many people react to the gift of a tract with surprise and even gratitude!
The drawback is that it’s easy for the actions of those who “scatter” to become rote, having little personal meaning for either for themselves or for the individuals with whom they’re sharing. There is also a tendency to begin judging the “success” of your endeavor by how many tracts you hand out in a given period of time, rather than your faithfulness to the Spirit’s call.
Both methods are good and, fortunately, the drawbacks to each are fairly well limited to your own attitudes. Being aware of those possible downfalls will aid you in avoiding them.
Personally, I use a combination of both, but whichever option you choose, make certain that you come to your decision through prayer and the conviction of the Spirit! Some of us are more forward than others and God uses both kinds of people to reach different folks at different times. Before you “hit the streets”, you will also want to take the time to ensure that your chosen method of distribution is legal. Romans 13:1,2 reminds us that,
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
Some municipalities don’t allow the distribution of literature without a permit, even if you’re on public property. The definition of “distribution” can range from boxes of tracts to just a few, so take the time to find out whether your intended plan of action is in line with local regulations.
Some privately owned companies also frown upon the practice of tract distribution, as do many schools (even colleges), so be sure that you have done whatever is necessary to keep both the law and company policy on your side! Again, according to Titus 3:1-2,
“[Believers are] to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”
That isn’t to say that we should neglect God’s command to evangelize, but rather that, when the local, state, and national laws are not in direct contradiction to God’s Word, we are obligated to obey.
Next week, we’ll be getting specific with some detailed ideas for tract distribution. In the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences with Gospel tracts in the “Leave a Reply” box below! Got a method that works particularly well for you? Share that too!