I currently work as a server at an Italian restaurant in Louisville (while I continue to look for another job… but that’s another story). Today a server came in showing off a gospel tract entitled “How to become a Christian.” For a few seconds those assembled laughed and made snide comments about it, and a couple of people wanted to look at it. They were not apparently interested in how to become a Christian, but in a quick chuckle. It was a fleeting moment as most everyone quickly had to head out to get food to tables and whatnot.
I bring it up because I have long wondered about the value of such tracts. This particular one was a very short two pages with a very quick and brief point by point gospel presentation (I guess – I didn’t get a chance to read it). Are such tracts effective? I suppose that sometimes they can be – the Holy Spirit may indeed choose to use a tract now and then as part of someone’s journey to Christ. Maybe an occassional reader might be curious enough to look up the biblical references or something. One can only hope.
Can a couple of quick bullet points really sum up the gospel? Most tracts, including this one (from my quick glance at it), conclude with a prayer to receive Christ and what to do next. I just have to wonder if three or four bullet points can really communicate the story of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. Do they really drive home depravity and sin and the depths of grace? Does mere assent to such an outline save? I would love to hear feedback on these issues. I’m not saying tracts are always useless…. I don’t think. They can be a handy reference or starting point for someone seeking Truth. I just think they’re typically very ineffective. What do you think?
I did ask the server what kind of tip she got from the well-meaning elderly couple who left the tract. She said it was a decent tip, thank goodness.