In just one generation, our culture has changed. Some now have labeled it as “post Christian.” This is probably accurate since we now rarely process the next generation through Sunday school or under solid Bible teaching. We have forfeited the public education system to godless humanists and depended on TV to babysit our kids. Now we’re trying to play catch-up.
One of the primary characteristics of this post-Christian culture is the fact that they have no frame of reference from the scriptures. In the past, when we handed someone a gospel tract it was probable that they had background knowledge to understand it. That is no longer the case.
In fact, their worldview may be decidedly anti-Christian. With the introduction of the theory of evolution into world history, the concept of man’s obligation to a Creator has been blunted. Someone recently observed that the elimination of the belief in a final judgment has left people without a properly instructed conscience. This, no doubt, explains some of the heartless evil that surfaces in our media reports.
When it comes to evangelism, this definitely changes the gameplan. The general teaching now is that gospel tracts are even more useless because when people receive one, the text is too limited to explain the big picture that they need. Fortunately, the 24-page format of Chick tracts provides a much better opportunity to tell more of this story.
Tracts have been out of favor now for quite some time. The philosophy of the trainers of our church leaders has been that relationship evangelism was the only thing that really worked. This philosophy teaches that it’s best not to present the gospel or the Bible until a personal relationship has been established.
This is valid but it has its limitations. Few believers have the free time to spend this kind of effort with very many people. This has resulted in a very limited number of baptisms in our churches. Some are beginning to question this approach.
Outreach magazine recently carried an article by pastor James Emery White where he describes the “process” of evangelism. Past approaches to evangelism usually centered around what he calls an event. It could have been a touching sermon that persuaded the unbeliever to except Christ’s gift of eternal life. Or it could have been a tent revival meeting or more recently a stadium event.
Gospel tracts figured into this significantly because they were designed to bring the reader to a point of decision. But most of them were written in a way that depended on prior knowledge of God and the Good News.
For relationship evangelism to work, believers will have to divest themselves of much of the distractions that are so enticingly available today. And for gospel tracts to work they need to be designed to communicate more details of the overall story of the gospel. With 24 pages, we have more room than in the leaflet tracts to give more of the story. In the newer Chick tracts, we are endeavoring to move in that direction.
I SEE YOU is a recent example. It uses a contemporary concept of camera surveillance everywhere. Yet it clearly states the need for a relationship with our Creator and the inevitability of our facing a judgment day.
LIMITED TIME OFFER is another tract with a contemporary theme that clearly explains the gospel story in a modern setting.
Gospel tracts can still play a significant role in an unbeliever’s journey to Jesus. But those with room for an engaging storyline are going to be the most effective.
In this video, David W. Daniels shows you how easy it is to witness with Chick tracts:
In this video, David W. Daniels reads testimonies from readers who accepted Christ after reading Chick tracts: