Wouldn't it be a true blessing if this was the way it was here in America when we're passing out Gospel Tracts? They may not be so eager to take them here in America, but I am eager to hand them a Gospel Tract.
The following is from R. A. Torrey's larger work, "Methods of Christian Work " (Chapter 5, pages 213-221)
Comparatively few Christians realize the importance of Gospel Tract work. I had been a Christian a good many years, and a minister of the Gospel several years, before it ever entered my head that Gospel Tracts were of much value in Christian work. I had somehow grown up with the notion that Gospel Tracts were all rubbish, and therefore I did not take the trouble to read them, and far less did I take the trouble to circulate them, but I found out that I was entirely wrong. Gospel Tract work has some great advantages over other forms of Christian work.
1. Any person can do it. We cannot all preach; we cannot all conduct meetings; but we can all select useful Gospel Tracts and then hand them out to others. Of course some of us can do it better than others. Even a blind man or a dumb man can do Gospel Tract work. It is a line of work in which every man, woman and child can engage.
2. A Gospel Tract always sticks to the point. I wish every worker did that, but how often we get to talking to some one and he is smart enough to get us off on to a side track.
3. A Gospel Tract never loses its temper. Perhaps you sometimes do. I have known Christian workers, even workers of experience, who would sometimes get all stirred up, but you cannot stir up a Gospel Tract It always remains as calm as a June morning.
4. Oftentimes people who are too proud to be talked with, will read a Gospel Tract when no one is looking. There is many a man who would repulse you if you tried to speak to him about his soul, who will read a Gospel Tract if you leave it on his table, or in some other place where he comes upon it accidentally, and that Gospel Tract may be used for his salvation.
5. A Gospel Tract stays by one. You talk to a man and then he goes away, but the Gospel Tract stays with him. Some years ago a man came into a mission in New York. One of the workers tried to talk with him, but he would not listen. As he was leaving, a Gospel Card Tract was placed in his hands which read, "If I should die to-night I would go to ______ Please fill out and sign." He put it in his pocket, went to his steamer, for he was a sailor, and slipped the Gospel Tract into the edge of his bunk. The steamer started for Liverpool. On his voyage he met with an accident, and was laid aside in his bunk. That Gospel Tract stared him in the face, day and night. Finally he said, "If I should die tonight I would go to hell, but I will not go there, I will go to heaven, I will take Christ right here and now." He went to Liverpool, returned to New York, went to the mission, told his story, and had the Gospel Card Tract, which was still in his pocket, filled out and signed with his name. The conversation he had had in the mission left him, but the Gospel Card Tract stayed by him.
6. Gospel Tracts lead many to accept Christ. The author of one Gospel Tract ("What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?") received before his death upwards of sixteen hundred letters from people who had been led to Christ by reading it.
1. For the conversion of the unsaved. A Gospel Tract will often succeed in winning a man to Christ where a sermon or a personal conversation has failed. There are a great many people who, if you try to talk with them, will put you off; but if you put a Gospel Tract in their hands and ask God to bless it, after they go away and are alone they will read the Gospel Tract and God will carry it home to their hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost. One of our students wrote me in great joy of how he had at last succeeded in winning a whole family for Christ. He had been working for that family for a long time but could not touch them. One day he left a Gospel Tract with them, and God used that Gospel Tract for the conversion of four or five members of the family. Another student held a cottage meeting at a home, and by mistake left his Bible there. There was a Gospel Tract in the Bible. When he had gone, the woman of the house saw the Bible, picked it up, opened it, saw the Gospel Tract and read it. The Spirit of God carried it home to her heart, and when he went back after the Bible she told him she wanted to find the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel Tract had done what he could not do in personal work. I once received a letter from a man saying, "There is a man in this place whom I tried for a long time to reach but could not. One day I handed him a Gospel Tract, and I think it was to the salvation of his whole family.
2. To lead Christians into a deeper and more earnest Christian life. It is a great mistake to limit the use of Gospel Tracts to winning the unsaved to Christ. A little Gospel Tract on the Second Coming of Christ, once sent me in a letter, made a change in my whole life. I do not think the Gospel Tract was altogether correct doctrinally, but it had in it an important truth, and it did for me just the work that needed to be done.
There is a special class of people with whom this form of ministry is particularly helpful, those who live where they do not enjoy spiritual advantages. You may know some one who is leading a very unsatisfactory life, and you long to have that person know what the Christian life really means. His pastor may not be a spiritual man, he may not know the deep things of God. It is the simplest thing in the world to slip into a letter a Gospel Tract that will lead him into an entirely new Christian life.
3. To correct error. This is a very necessary form of work in the day in which we live. The air is full of error. In our personal work we have not always time to lead a man out of his error, but oftentimes we can give him a Gospel Tract that can do the work better than we can. If you tried to lead him out of his error by personal work, you might get into a discussion, but the Gospel Tract cannot. The one in error cannot talk back to the tract. For example, take people that are in error on the question of seventh day observance. It might take some time to lead such a one out of the darkness into the light, but a tract on that subject can be secured that has been used of God to lead many out of the bondage of legalism into the glorious liberty of the Gospel of Christ.
4. To set Christians to work. Our churches are full of members who are doing nothing. A well-chosen Gospel Tract may set such to work. I know of a young man who was working in a factory in Massachusetts. He was a plain, uneducated sort of fellow, but a little Gospel Tract on personal work was placed in his hands. He read it and re-read it, and said, "I am not doing what I should for Christ." He went to work among his companions in the factory, inviting them to the church, and to hear his pastor preach. Not satisfied with this, he went to doing personal work. This was not sufficient, so he went to work holding meetings himself. Finally he brought a convention to his city. Just that one plain factory man was the means of getting a great convention and blessing to that place, and all from reading that little Gospel Tract. He was also instrumental in organizing a society which was greatly blessed of God. It would be possible to fill this country with literature on Christian work that would stir up the dead and sleeping professors of religion throughout the land, and send them out to work for the Lord Jesus Christ
1. Ministers of the Gospel should use them. Many ministers do make constant use of them in their pastoral work, leaving well chosen Gospel Tracts where they make their pastoral calls, handing out Gospel Tracts along the line of the sermons that they preach. It is said of Rev. Edward Judson of New York, that he seldom makes a call without having in his pocket a selection of Gospel Tracts adapted to almost every member of the family, and especially to the children. "At the close of the Sunday evening preaching service, he has often put some good brother in the chair, and while the meeting proceeds he goes down into the audience and gives to each person a choice leaflet, at the same time taking the opportunity to say a timely word. In this way he comes into personal touch with the whole audience, gives each stranger a cordial welcome, and leaves in his hand some message from God. At least once a year he selects some one Gospel Tract that has in it the very core of the Gospel. On this he prints the notices of the services, and selecting his church as a center, he has this Gospel Tract put in the hands of every person living within half a mile in each direction, regardless of creed or condition. He sometimes uses 10,000 Gospel Tracts at one distribution, and finds it very fruitful in results."
2. Sunday School teachers. Every Sunday School teacher should be on the lookout for Gospel Tracts to give to his scholars. In this way he can do much to supplement his hour's work on the Lord's Day.
3. Traveling men. Traveling men have a rare opportunity for doing Gospel Tract work. They are constantly coming in contact with different men, and finding out their needs. A Christian "drummer" with a well-assorted selection of Gospel Tracts can accomplish immeasurable good.
4. Business men. Business men can use Gospel Tracts to good advantage with the very men with whom they have business engagements. They can also do excellent work with their own employees. Many a business man slips well chosen Gospel Tracts into many of the letters which he writes, and thus accomplishes an effective ministry for his Master.
5. School teachers. It is very difficult for school teachers in some cities and towns to talk very much with their pupils in school. Oftentimes the rules of the school board prevent it entirely, but a wise teacher can learn all about her scholars and their home surroundings, and can give them Gospel Tracts just adapted to their needs.
6. Housekeepers. Every Christian housekeeper should have a collection of well assorted Gospel Tracts. She can hand these Gospel Tract out to the servant girls, the grocery men, the market men, the butcher, to the tramps that come to the door. They can be left upon the table in the parlor and in bedrooms. Only eternity will disclose the good that is accomplished in these ways.
1. To begin a conversation. One of the difficulties in Christian work is to begin. You see a person with whom you wish to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. The great difficulty is in starting. It is easy enough to talk after you have started, but how are you going to start a conversation naturally and easily? One of the simplest and easiest ways is by slipping a Gospel Tract into the person's hand. After the Gospel Tract has been read, a conversation naturally follows. I was once riding in a crowded car. I asked God for an opportunity to lead some one to Christ. I was watching for the opportunity for which I had asked, when two young ladies entered. I thought I knew one of them as the daughter of a minister. She went through the car looking for a seat, and then came back. As she came back and sat down in the seat in front of me, she bowed, and of course I knew I was right as to who she was. I took out a little bundle of Gospel Tracts, and selecting one that seemed best adapted to her case, I handed it to her, having first asked God to bless it. She at once began to read and I began to pray. When she had read the Gospel Tract, I asked her what she thought about it. She almost burst into tears right there in the car, and in a very few moments that minister's daughter was rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. As she afterwards passed out of the car, she said, "I want to thank you for what you have done for me in leading me to Christ."
2. Use a Gospel Tract to close a conversation. As a rule when you have finished talking with some one, you should not leave him without something definite to take home to read. If the person has accepted Christ, put some Gospel Tract in his hands that will show him how to succeed in the Christian life. If the person has not accepted Christ, some other Gospel Tract that is especially adapted to his need should be left with him.
3. Use Gospel Tracts where a conversation is impossible. For example, one night at the close of a tent meeting in Chicago, as I went down one of the aisles a man beckoned to me, and intimated that his wife was interested. She was in tears, and I tried to talk with her, but she stammered out in a broken way, "We don't talk English." She had not understood a word of the sermon, I suppose, but God had carried something home to her heart. They were Norwegians, and I could not find a Norwegian in the whole tent to act as interpreter, but I could put a Norwegian Gospel Tract in her hand, and that could do the work. Time and time again I have met with men deeply interested about their soul's salvation, but with whom I could not deal because I did not talk the language that they understood.
One day as I came from dinner, I found a Swede waiting for me, and he said he had a man outside with whom he wished me to talk. I went outside and found an uncouth looking specimen, a Norwegian. The Swede had found him drunk in an alley and dragged him down to the Institute to talk with me. He was still full of whisky, and spit tobacco juice over me as I tried to talk with him. I found he could not talk English, and I talked English to the Swede, and the Swede talked Swedish to the Norwegian, and the Norwegian got a little bit of it. I made it as clear as I could to our Swede interpreter, and he in his turn made it as clear as he could to the Norwegian. Then I put a Norwegian Gospel Tract in his hands, and that could talk to him so that he understood perfectly.
Oftentimes a conversation is impossible because of the place where you meet people. For example, you may be on the street cars and wish to speak to a man, but in many instances it would not be wise if it were possible, but you can take the man's measure and then give him a Gospel Tract that will fit him. You may be able to say just a few words to him and then put the Gospel Tract in his hands and ask God to bless it.
4. Use Gospel Tracts to send to people at a distance. It does not cost a Gospel Tract much to travel. You can send them to the ends of the earth for a few cents. Especially use them to send to people who live in out of the way places where there is no preaching. There are thousands of people living in different sections of this country where they do not hear preaching from one year's end to another. It would be impossible to send an evangelical preacher to them, but you can send a Gospel Tract and it will do the preaching for you.
1. Always read the Gospel Tracts yourself before giving them to others. This is very necessary. Bad Gospel Tracts abound to-day, Gospel Tracts that contain absolutely pernicious doctrine. They are being circulated free by the million, and one needs to be on his guard, lest he be doing harm rather than good in distributing Gospel Tracts. Of course we cannot read all the Gospel Tracts in foreign languages, but we can have them interpreted to us, and it is wise to do so. Besides positively bad Gospel Tracts, there are many Gospel Tracts that are worthless.
2. Suit your Gospel Tract to the person to whom you give it. What is good for one person may not be good for another.
3. Carry a selection of Gospel Tracts with you. I do not say a collection, but a selection. Gospel Tracts are countless in number, and a large share of them are worthless. Select the best, and arrange them for the different classes of people with whom you come in contact.
4. Seek the guidance of God. This is of the very highest importance. If there is any place where we need wisdom from above, it is in the selection of Gospel Tracts, and in their distribution after their selection.
5. Seek God's blessing upon the Gospel Tract after you have given it out. Do not merely give out the Gospel Tract and there let the matter rest, but whenever you give out a Gospel Tract ask God to bless it.
6. Oftentimes give a man a Gospel Tract with words and sentences underscored. Men are curious, and they will take particular notice of the underscoring. It is oftentimes a good thing to have a Gospel Tract put up in your office. Men who come in will read it. I know a man who had a few words put upon his paper weight. A great many who came into his office saw it, and it made a deep impression upon them.
7. Never be ashamed of distributing Gospel Tracts. Many people hand out Gospel Tracts to others as if they were ashamed of what they were doing. People are not likely to read Gospel Tracts if you hand them to them as if you were ashamed to do it; but if you act as though you were conferring a favor upon them, and giving them something worth reading, they will read your Gospel Tract. It is often well to say to a person, "Here is a little leaflet out of which I have gotten a good deal of good. I would like to have you read it."
- Hand out to customers at local restaurants / leave at takeouts.
- Put on tables in post offices.
- Pass out on busy street corners.
- Pass out at schools after dismissal.
- Pass out to people waiting in line at theater or any place where there is a line.
- Put in each box or bag of goods you might sell to people - ebay items etc.
- Send to people on birthdays or holidays.
- Put on car windows.
- Pass out door to door.
- Leave on sitting areas of shopping centres.
- Pass out at parades, festivals, and special events.
- Leave in city parks on benches, etc. (beware of wind and rain so that they don't become litter)
- Hand out at stadium entrances, etc.
- Leave at funeral homes.
- Give to attendants at parking garages, etc. If your ticket could benefit others, give it to someone with a tract.
- Leave in hotel rooms (in the drawers, telephone book, etc.)
- Give to waitresses with generous tips at restaurants
- Put in magazines in waiting rooms.
- Leave on hairdressers tables.
- Hand out at zoos, picnic areas, beaches.
- Include in bills paid by mail. OR simply post the prepaid envelopes you don't use with tracts in them (please put stamps on these for a good witness).
- Hand to store employees, check-out clerks.
- Leave in waiting areas of hospitals.
- Leave in toilets at restaurants, schools, airports, etc.
- Leave in the bank where deposit slips are.
- Give to hospital and nursing home patients.
- Leave in returned library books (or simply place in library books when visiting).
- Leave on tables at markets, fairs, etc.
- Leave on tables at health club / gym
- Leave on seats on bus, taxi, airplane, etc.
- Rent stalls at county or local fairs.
- Put in pockets of used / new clothing given away.
- Leave in dressing rooms of clothing stores.
- Hand out at sporting events.
- In the workplace / through business
- Magazines & Newspapers
- Public leaflets / information - slip one in!
- Place on public notice boards
- In clothes pockets in stores
- In nappy changing stations
- On ATM machines (or any credit card slot)
- In elevators
- On hotel dressers for the room cleaners
- On newspaper racks
- In plane, bus or car seat pockets
- Inside "religious" books or any other popular books in the library or book store
- Between the rubber and the glass on driver's side windows (but not on private property)
- If you rent videos put one in the movie you are returning.
- Leave them on video games in the arcade
- Place tract in napkin holders, behind a few napkins
- Leave in the carrier bags at checkouts (self serve), they won't check these bags until they get home!
- Attach them to the envelope of letters you send out in the post