Handing out tracts: Scary, yet effective


I’ve been handing out tracts regularly for over six years so I can sometimes forget how terrifying this exercise can be to those who are newly introduced to this highly effective method of sharing the Gospel.

In every evangelism class I teach, the homework is to hand out one tract a day for the duration of the class. I have them do this so that they may possibly develop this habit for life after graduation.

Ricardo is a new student in our class who describes himself as being rather shy. He attended the Long Beach Veterans Parade with the evangelism team over the weekend. This was his first parade and his first evangelism outing. Watch what happened as he handed out his Giant Money tract to a parade-goer:

We started him out with a “beginner’s stack” of 250 Giant Money tracts. We also filled a fanny pack with our Teddy Trillion tracts. By the end of the parade he was almost completely out of his Gospel literature.

How do you feel about Gospel tracts? Do you think they are effective? Are you personally afraid to hand them out?

A spokesman for the American Tract Society said that 53% of all who come to Christ worldwide come through the use of printed Gospel literature.

Did you know that George Whitefield, the great preacher of the Great Awakening, was saved by a Gospel tract? After reading it he wrote, “God showed me I must be born-again or be damned.”

The great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, was also saved by reading a tract.

God even used a Gospel tract as the tool that led Greg Koukl, founder of Stand to Reason, to Christ. He has stated that “some brave soul” put it in the bottom of his grocery bag while checking out.

So why should you use Gospel tracts? Because God uses them.

“When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract read… Get good striking tracts or none at all. But a touching Gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts.” — Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


  1. yaaaaay! Good job, Ricardo!

  2. Interesting Steve.

  3. Nope. Never heard of them. Sorry.

  4. A spokesman for the American Tract Society said that 53% of all who come to Christ worldwide come through the use of printed Gospel literature.

    Please look up the phrase “biased source.”

    What studies did he cite? “53%” is a suspiciously exact number – how was it determined? (By an interesting coincidence, 53% is also the percentage of statistics that are made up on the spot.)

    • Hi Nameless Cynic,

      So, I did some research on this. For one thing, the spokesman is definitely a man named “Joey Hancock”.

      The thing is, Mr. Hancock has a website, but if you google search for “53” or “fifty-three” throughout the website (i.e., “ fifty-three”), you’ll get zero hits. Same if you google search the American Tract Society website. Neither site has any talk about this 53% number.

      The sites that claim that Joey said this, all copy the same text, without any source for it.

      At the same time, Joey’s website says that he is/was a “humorist”, so it’s completely possible that the 53% number was part of a joke that someone took seriously.

      The abundant lack of evidence for the source of this number points to it being made up, quite possibly as part of a humorous speech.

  5. Pastor Steve,

    I thought you might appreciate this. This was posted on the School of Biblical Evangelism forum recently:

    This was my friend Jesse Boyd’s facebook status today…… He spent about a year in Nepal 3 years ago…. he’s back again now for about a year….

    “Interesting thing happened tonight. We went for a long walk and our only option for dinner was this hole-in-the-wall tandoori place that I used to frequent. The manager had an interesting sensible stature about himself that spoke something other than Hinduism. After some friendly conversation, I gave him a Gospel tract. He then asked me if I had been there 3 years ago. I said yes. His response I believe I understood correctly: “You gave me one of these 3 years ago; I read it; and I have since become a Christian.” He then told me where he goes to church. Glory to God!”

  6. Steve, thanks much for a good reminder! I use them all the time. And more and more often I hear: “I’ve read this tract already”. Good bridge to start a conversation. Be faithful in reaching out the lost and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry!

  7. They’re too rough. They’ll do in a pinch, but I prefer Charmin.

    • I’m praying for you Hayzoose. If you use something that has God’s Word on it to whipe your backside you must really have a lot of hatred towards God and Christians. Your nickname also mocks the Lord and Savior of the people who come here to read.

      I’m praying that you receive some inner peace.

  8. Wow, Whitefield came to know the Lord after reading a tract. He was such a powerful preacher! After hearing that I’ll have to step it up and get more tracts out.

  9. A great many Christians read this site, don’t they? If you read this, and you came to Christ through a Bible tract, would you put your story (briefly) here in the comments?

    If 53% of people worldwide come to Jesus through the use of tracts, then surely there are plenty of examples to be found here, among the people who use them to proselytize. Stand up and be counted!

    • Michael, it clearly states printed literature. Gospel tracts are not the only printed literature.

      • Hi Glenn,

        If you read the context of the supposed quote, and the way it’s been used by everyone who has repeated it, it’s pretty clear that they’re talking about tracts and tract-like items.

        I encourage you to research this quote like I did. If you’re able to find out how that 53% value was calculated, I would be interested to know.

      • If it’s not (or only partly) referring to Gospel Tracts, why would our host be citing it to support the use of Bible tracts?

        The 53% issue isn’t that important, anyway. Our host says that these tracts are an effective way to share the Good News and bring people to Christ. (Right, Pastor Steve?) If that’s the case, there should be plenty of people around who were saved because of a tract – particularly here, on an explicitly Christian blog that actively promotes the use of tracts. I would like to hear their stories.

    • Yes, I came to Christ in 1977 in part to the influence of a gospel tract left in a restroom at a state park in Pennsylvania, Cowans Gap State Park. It was a Chick tract called This was your life . At the time though while using the restroom I read it and it scared me but I throwed it down on the floor and left. I didnt get saved till three years later but I often wished I had that tract again to get saved and was fearful I would go to hell if I died in a sinful state until by God’s grace in trouble with the law for drinking and driving and having to go to a hearing at 18 I then listened and found Chritian station to listen to and heard good preachers such as Oliver B. Greene who can still be heard on utube under independent Baptist preachers and I repented of my sins and trusted in Christ as my personal Saviour; And have been in church and passing out gospel tracts for years since. Praise God for his grace and mercy in giving me the word of God and whoever left that tract in that restroom for me to read. I will thank him in heaven someday. Sincerely ;

  10. Repent and get Saved atheists.

    Read this

    • I really, really hope that wasn’t your best argument.

      You know what will convince me? – Facts. Logical proof and evidence will suffice. So far I’ve yet to see any evidence to convince me of a personal deity, much less yours.

      • Dear Black Swan,
        I often ask people to read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
        Two things stand out for me in the gospels:
        The resounding thunderous Ring of Truth like no other.
        Jesus’ Diety(the only person worthy of worship)demonstrated by his words, his behavior, and His selfless, sacrificial love His whole Life and then especially during His crucifixion on the Cross for the debt payment for my, your, and every other human being’s who has been born.
        The bible, God Almighty in it, speaks for Himself and needs no apologies!
        You can be certain that you and I and everyone will meet him immediately after death. Will His Son Christ Jesus be our Redeemer or Condemner?
        You can now judge yourself in this matter to see if you are ready to meet your Maker and Redeemer. Try reading the 10 commandments carefully thru and look into them as a mirror and God will quickly convince you of your desperate sin condition before Him. Then in genuine brokenness and humble heart and soul confess your multitude of sins and plead with Him to forgive you for them because of what His Son Jesus provided for you and live your life for Him from that day forward. Beware, you will need His Strength to set aside your Pride, Arrogance, and Ungratefulness but He will help you to do what 100’s of thousands have done since 30AD. Jesus alone is worthy of worship and giving our lives to. God bless you as you seriously consider your options as one on eternal death row. Woy of the Master tracts are my favorite.
        Your friend, Phil Davidson aged 72

    • Good old Chick tracts, they helped me get to this website… and question my faith and embrace skepticism and rationality. Quite amusing they are.

  11. totally agree..i was terrified in the beginning!

  12. It is that easy to pass out a gospel tract. And people do get saved after reading a gospel tract. Nothing is impossible for God. Praise the Lord. The Bible says that when Jesus rose from the dead and was seen alive many did not believe in him. No amount of evidence will convince the unbelieving. Not even if one rises from the dead in fulfillment of prophesy written hundreds of years before it happens. So, even if the perfect logical argument is presented or the perfect evidence is presented for the existence of God, you will not believe, to your damnation. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Repent and believe the gospel.

    • Hi Richard,

      No amount of evidence will convince the unbelieving.

      You are engaging in failed mind-reading.

      Not even if one rises from the dead in fulfillment of prophesy written hundreds of years before it happens.

      I disagree; someone rising from the dead, even without “fulfillment of prophesy”, would certainly affect my opinions.

      So, even if the perfect logical argument is presented or the perfect evidence is presented for the existence of God, you will not believe, to your damnation.

      You are engaging in failed mind-reading.

    • Richard: “Not even if one rises from the dead in fulfillment of prophesy written hundreds of years before it happens”

      Seeing as there is not one book in the Bible written by Jesus and that there is no evidence outside of the Bible stating that Jesus rose from the dead and was witnessed by a non biased party as doing so, should raise some questions to the validity of the story. Even if it was found that his body disappeared would still not prove that he rose from the dead.

      I feel sorry for you Richard. You seem like a sweet and gullible man. I think you like being part of a club, but I wouldn’t be so quick to regurgitate their words. Think for yourself, God would want you to.

  13. I’d just like to pass on another way to help spread the gospel and it’s simply this:-

    Include a link to an online gospel tract (e.g. as part of your email signature.

    An email signature is a piece of customizable HTML or text that most email applications will allow you to add to all your outgoing emails. For example, it commonly contains name and contact details – but it could also (of course) contain a link to a gospel tract.

    For example, it might say something like, “p.s. you might like this gospel cartoon …” or “p.s. have you seen this?”.

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