When handing out tracts sometimes I practice denominational profiling. I surmised from one woman by her gentle demeanor, cross necklace, and tightly clutched purse that she had seen her fair share of collection plates.
“Stop the bailouts!” I said while handing out a bright green tract to a complete stranger. When she read the title I said, “No church is too big to fail.” The tract was one of our new resources provocatively titled 23 Reasons You Should Stop Tithing.
She responded with the kind of smile you get at the store when its 10% off day. She turned toward our table to scan the other titles we had. She left with one of nearly everything.
Bingo! She was one of the thousands of church goers and Christians that walked past our booth this week at the county fair. If I had given her a simple gospel tract, she might’ve just shook her head and walked on, but when I touched on her church tradition she was interested.
(People waiting in line to get some of our tracts.)
Another harmless couple walked by. As I gave a gospel tract to the husband, the wife turned and smiled and said, “Oh, our church is doing the same thing over there!”
“Great!” I said, “Take this.” I held out a tract titled What Most Churches Won’t Tell You. After she took it her smile turned into a slight look of befuddlment as she walked away reading.
We had prepared resources for the unchurched, the disgruntled, and the extremely churched. Each one are at risk of dying without salvation and need to be handled differently. Everyone is unique, and as best you can in a few seconds you must determine what they need to hear. Handing out the same tracts to thousands of people is hit and miss, but sometimes its the best we can do.
(Child evangelism where the child is the evangelist, what a concept!)
The polls tell me that 8 out of 10 of my neighbors are “good people” who already think they are going to heaven. The problem is they may not be if they are following a false gospel of tradition or works. Christians need saved too.
Talking about “getting saved” to these people is old hat, because they think they are. Talking about the worthlessness of their tradition and works really wakes them up, and can sometimes lead them to hear the gospel.
This is called provocative evangelism. It is how Paul tried to evangelize his religious neighbours in Romans 11:14. Not much has changed in 2000 years.
If you have a county fair this summer, leave the hollow “Jesus Loves You” tracts at home and take some more provocative titles that lead people to sound doctrine and a clear gospel.
You can find some good tracts for provoking Christians at graceambassadors.com/tracts. Print them out on your own. If you need them printed for you, you can pay us for the ink and paper here.
For His Glory,
Justin “the Pauline provocateur” Johnson