August 21, 2014

Which Gospel Tracts Do You Use?

by Mike Riccardi

Gospel TractsOne of my ministry responsibilities at my church is to oversee all of the church’s local outreach ministries. At our church, that includes preaching the Gospel at local jails, drug/alcohol rehab centers, and on skid row; it includes systematically visiting our neighbors and following up with those willing to talk more about the Gospel, doing street evangelism at a local metro station; it even includes hosting volleyball and basketball games in our church’s gymnasium, and preaching the Gospel to those who come to play.

As the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries, I’m often asked what tracts and other resources we use in our evangelism efforts. Tracts can be a very helpful way of getting the Gospel message into the hands of someone who doesn’t have the time or inclination to have a conversation at the moment. They can also be a helpful follow-up to a good conversation—reinforcing the main themes of the Gospel long after you’ve both moved on to the next part of your day.

The following list is a selection of some of the tracts, Bibles, New Testaments, and other books that we use at Grace Church and make available to our church family.

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001What It Means to Be a Christian – This one is probably my favorite. It’s a single 3×5 card, portrait orientation, with this content on it. It’s simple, not flashy, to the point, and accurate. You can order these here.

002God-Man-Christ-Sinners Card – This is basically a training-version of the previous. It serves more to equip Christians with a basic four-step rubric to proclaim the Gospel: (1) God is Holy Creator; (2) Man is sinful and faces the penalty for sin; (3) Christ has paid the penalty, and (4) the sinner’s response must be to repent and believe. You can order these here.

003“Stop! Who do you think that I am?” – This is a tract written by John MacArthur and produced by Grace to You. It’s a bit longer, but not too long, and it goes through the Gospel clearly and faithfully. You can also get it in Spanish (“Alto!”). You can browse the content and print it yourself here, and can order print copies here.

004What is the Gospel? – This is a condensed version of Greg Gilbert’s excellent book by the same title. It’s a helpful progression of the “God–Man–Christ–Response” outline. You can preview the content and order them here.

005The Story – This is a flashier, artsier tract, along the rubric of Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. It’s definitely got a different flavor and doesn’t put everything exactly how I’d put it, but I believe it’s faithful to the Gospel. We’ve found it to be often well-received among college students. Check here for these.

006Are You a Good Person? (Living Waters) – This very small 15-page booklet can be very effective. Most Westerners regard the Ten Commandments as an accepted standard of morality and everyone thinks they’re a good person, so these make a great conversation starter. You can order them here.

007For Your Joy (Desiring God) – This is great. It’s more like a booklet than a tract, which can be good or bad depending on what you’re shooting for. It works great as something to leave with the person you’ve evangelized as a follow-up to your conversation. The content is spot on. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get the little booklet from DG anymore, as they’ve stopped doing a lot of printing. But you can download the PDF for free and distribute as it works. If you have a media-savvy person in your church, you can request permission from Desiring God to print them and give them away for free.

00810 Reasons Jesus Came to Die (Desiring God) – Another DG tract that picks 10 of Piper’s 50 Reasons, and works out into a nice trifold tract. You can get them at Crossway or CBD.

009


Don’t Waste Your Life
– Yet another DG tract that summarizes the message from Piper’s excellent book in the form of a Gospel presentation. You can browse the content and print a PDF here, and purchase the physical tracts here.

010A recent addition has been a tract from SBTS called, “Experiencing God’s G.R.A.C.E.” This is longer, and so wouldn’t be good to go through with someone in a cold evangelism situation, but it’s a great thing to leave someone after your conversation. You can see it here, and need to call Southern Seminary about ordering a bunch.

We also make outreach Bibles (NAS, ESV, Spanish) and New Testaments (NAS, ESV, Spanish) available.

And in an effort to equip the congregation, we offer Dever’s The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (see the Cripplegate’s review), Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (see here for an excellent excerpt), and Gilbert’s What is the Gospel? for free or for a small donation at our Sunday outreach table. You may be able to get reduced prices for greater quantities by contacting the publishers directly.

*     *     *     *     *

Are there any other good resources that you’ve found to be helpful in your evangelism ministry?

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • Brian Morgan

    Mike,
    I appreciate the list provided. I personally used a couple from Revival Literature in North Carolina. Biblical, direct and not too long. “The Way of Salvation” and “4 Things God Wants you to Know.” http://www.revivallit.org.
    I also heartily endorse Chapel Library in Pensacola, Florida. They have over 800 tracts, booklets and books available for no cost. They have converted hundreds of their titles to e format as well. http://www.chapellibrary.org.
    Press on Brother!
    Brian

  • michael luehrmann

    Here is one you can download for free: http://www.reformedgospeltracts.com/home/.

  • CPS

    While not a tract per se, Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel is one of the best introductory books I’ve ever read on the subject. I’ve given out at least a dozen copies. It’s concise, yet densely packed with all manner of God-glorifying common sense and wisdom.

    • I agree CPS. See my reply to Frank below. TWTG is a great resource, but I was conceiving of it as being in a different category than the stuff I was discussing here.

      Thanks for mentioning it though!

  • Our church uses “Two Ways to Live” from Matthias Media to teach people how to present the Gospel.
    http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/

    • Sweet Deb. Here is thecripplegate review on that I wrote many moons ago:

      http://thecripplegate.com/2-ways-to-live/

      • Hi, Jesse. Thank you for the link to that great review. I appreciate it, because you were able to spell out some of the reservations I had, but was unable to express well. Great.

        That said, put me down for another vote for TWTG

      • John Beck

        I take it that Jessie would not approve of option #6. I recall he had some stern points against the usage of the 10 commandments.

        • I think that was an unfortunate misreading of what Jesse was saying throughout that whole thing.

          At the end of his “Concerns” post, Jesse wrote, “A good evangelist has to have many tools in his tool box, and taking people through the Ten Commandments cannot be the only one in there.”

          To me, that implies that it can be one tool among many.

          Further, in one of the comments from the “Concerns” post, Jesse was asked what he does in street evangelism. He responded, “When I am street witnessing, as I did say above, I will sometimes use the ten-commandments approach. But more often than that, I ask questions, have a conversation, then make a jump to the gospel, then explain the gospel, then ask more questions, then challenge them to respond.”

          So, as I tried to say at the end of this post, Jesse’s view isn’t that it’s unbiblical to use idolatry, blasphemy, lying, anger/murder, lust/adultery, coveting, etc. to show the sinner the standard of God’s righteousness. Rather, the point is that it is unbiblical to insist that unless one has used the Ten Commandments in particular, one has not evangelized biblically.

          • Anonymous

            Hi Mike, recently I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on this issue of the 10 Commandments and evangelism and have been very confused. I have a sincere question; if you don’t believe that the 10 Commandments are the standard by which God will judge the world, how can you recommend this tract which plainly states otherwise(the very first page says this)? This tract takes non-believers through all the Commandments, including the Sabbath as a binding law for today. So I hope you can see why I’m a bit confused here. I sincerely would like a good answer as to why we can use a resource like this if we don’t believe the Decalogue is binding today.

          • That’s a good question, and I basically tried to answer it in these two posts (one, two). Have you read those?

            The quick answer is that there’s a difference between “binding” and “applicable.” The 10 commandments were binding upon Israel under the Mosaic Covenant, and, through proper biblical interpretation and application, they are applicable to all ages. (For example, even though I’m not bound to do no work on Saturdays, the principle of taking a day of rest out of reverence for God and for reflection upon His Word is still a good application of that principle.) Plus, 9 of the 10 commandments listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 are repeated in the NT, which is the standard for the people living in this age. And both the Mosaic Law and what we might call “the law of Christ” are instantiations or reflections of the perfect law of God that is the transcendent, universal standard by which people of all ages will be judged.

            So, I can disagree with the statement in the tract that the 10 commandments, simply by virtue of being in Exodus 20, are the standard for judgment day, but I can still use it as a helpful resource because (a) 9 of those 10 are repeated in the NT; (b) the 10 commandments are still applicable even if not binding; and (c) as I mentioned in the post, because the 10 commandments are a widely accepted standard of morality in the West, and so as long as you’re tactful it usually leads to a great conversation about the Gospel.

          • Anonymous

            Amen, thank you so much for that answer, it makes sense. Yes, I have read those two articles of yours and believe there are very good points made there. Thanks for the time and effort you put into them. I agree with the merit of applying the 4th Commandment today in principle and not in letter. I am currently leaning toward that principle preferably being applied today on Sundays/The Lord’s Day. I just got done briefly looking at John Piper’s and John MacArthur’s take on the Lord’s Day. They seem to agree much yet differ a little. Piper seems to be a bit more strict than MacArthur in his stance on it, but maybe I’m reading something into it that’s not there. These are the two sermons: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/is-there-a-lord-s-day http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-380/Why-Sunday-Is-the-Lords-Day

          • Josh

            I agree with the use of the 4th commandment IF it is presented in light of the New Covenant. That is to say, by explaining that there will never be any rest for those who continue to work for their salvation, but that Christ said come to Me for rest and thus He is the true Sabbath rest. I would disagree with walking a Gentile through the 4th commandment as a particular day, only to then say (upon their conversion) “Just kidding! Let no one judge you regarding a sabbath or new moon!”

            So I think it has to be nuanced a bit — for example, Paul didn’t mention Sabbath-keeping in his condemnation of pagans in Romans 1-2, but later in the letter (Romans 14) actually said just the opposite.

          • Right, Josh. And it’s that nuance that I think is absent from material that simply cumbersomely equates God’s universal, transcendent standard of righteousness with the 10 commandments.

            And with that, I declare this brief foray into WOTM-issues complete. 🙂

  • k

    I’ll tell you one I don’t like to use: it’s one that on the front of it has in big bold letters the “Coexist” symbol…then on the back it has the gospel. The intent is to pose the question (since “Coexist” on the front is made of different symbols from various religions) of “Which one of these is right”, and the answer, “Christ is the only way” being on the back.

    But, 1) it strikes me as gimmicky, and 2) I’m afraid people might never look at the back and then only see the “Coexist” message on the front, thereby defeating the very purpose of handing out the tract.

    Overall, I like tracts that simply list the facts of Jesus Christ in a similar manner as Paul did on 1 Cor. 15…

  • Johnny

    No Jack Chick?

  • Gene Clyatt

    I’ve been using “Do You Know HIM?” for almost a year now. Also a nice linkable website for online use http://doyouknowhim.info/

  • Frank Turk

    Mike — I think you have missed an obvious one:

    http://www.amazon.com/World-Tilting-Gospel-Dan-Phillips-ebook/dp/B005CQ2ZIM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408632616&sr=8-1&keywords=the+world-tilting+Gospel

    FWIW, I keep a copy of “For Your Joy” at my desk at work, but there’s nobody who can get through the whole thing. It’s too dense. “What is the Gospel?” is very useful for explaining rudimentary parts of the Christian life. “The World-Tilting Gospel” is more of a primer for those who want to know the Gospel and its necessary consequences. It ought to be on every Pastor’s bookshelf, and it ought to be taught in every church in America as the New Believers’ class on what you’re getting yourself into.

    • brad

      I haven’t read the whole book, but isn’t “The World-Tilting Gospel” more for believers and new-believers than unbelievers?

    • Hey Frank,

      Yes, I have definitely enjoyed, benefited from, and used TWTG in my personal and pastoral endeavors, but I guess I haven’t seen it in the category as I see the other resources I’ve listed. Rather than a tract-like outreach resource, or a short follow-up resource after a conversation, I’ve seen it as a discipleship tool for new believers and even seasoned saints. I’ve given it to liberal Christians who I think are seriously skewed on the very baseline foundations of Christianity, and have recommended it for small group studies.

      But I think it could be a little intimidating for the unbeliever to hand him a 300-page book after a first-time Gospel conversation. I’d just be happy if I could get someone reading John or Romans! If the guy I was preaching the Gospel to indicated that he wanted to meet up to discuss things further, I would definitely consider using TWTG as a resource for those meetings. I think it would be a fantastic tool in that setting.

      So yeah, I didn’t mean to slight Dan or the book (I love them both!). I just was conceiving of it in a different category as the other things I was mentioning.

    • brad

      You missed the point, Turk. Mike was talking about nonbelievers – not believers or new-believers.

  • Brad

    Thanks for the great resources!

  • Denise Grimes

    The best one so far: http://doyouknowhim.info/ This is solid and deals also with those who think they are saved but are not.

    I wouldn’t recommend Piper’s as he’s off on the doctrine of Justification (says you can deny Imputation as long as you still believe “other parts” of the gospel and be saved). http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/clarifying-my-words-about-roman-catholic-heresy (Why Piper puts Rome’s heresy as “heresy”–as if its *said* to be heresy, but actually is not *real* heresy is astonishing considering he claims to be a Reformer.)

    In addition to his embracing of false teachers like Rick Warren, Doug Wilson (Federal Vision), Mark Driscoll, Judah Smith (NAR),Christine Caine (Word of Faith pastor), thus:

    2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

    2Jn 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,

    2Jn 1:11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

    Beware:

    Is Oral Sex Okay? — Today’s #AskPastorJohn: http://dsr.gd/apj-400
    https://twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/496815652053991424
    and

    Down by the river the teenagers would go to make out. I watched them drive back. They never looked happy. Especially she.
    https://twitter.com/JohnPiper/status/497193087874392064

    I find these reasons to be enough to not recommend Piper as he is not solid.

  • M

    I like John Blanchard’s “Ultimate Questions”. Clear and lots of Scripture. Some of the photos are, well…that part of it could stand a thorough updating I think!

  • Justin

    Building on Firm Foundations by New Tribes Mission. Great for a postmodern world.

  • Mary

    I have business cards printed with these 3 websites (below) to hand out. I feel like those who won’t read a tract, may check out a website. If the person is already a believer, they may have other questions regarding Christianity that are answered here. This organization is doctrinally sound, more info about the founder here http://www.gotquestions.org/S-Michael-Houdmann.html All 3 websites fall under the parent one, Got Questions.org, just different formats to appeal to different people.

    I select an attractive card color and border and include the following lines centered and spaced out:
    http://www.compellingtruth.org
    http://www.gotquestions.org
    http://www.blogos.org

  • Denise, I deleted your comment because I couldn’t figure out how to erase the screen-caps of certain tweets which have nothing to do with the topic of the post.

    I’ll note your appreciation of the “Do You Know Him” tract as well as your disdain for Piper. But unless you think that there are particular things wrong with the content of the tracts that I’ve linked to in this post, then the rest is off topic.

  • Dean

    I love the Westminster Confession – Shorter Catechism. It starts in Genesis and goes to Revelation. It leaves you asking the profound questions that I think we all wonder, what is life about, why am I here, what will happen when I die. More importantly it has Scripture back ups. That rest is up to the Holy Spirit.

  • Z

    Gospel of Jesus Christ and Good Teacher and God Incarnate are also good too: http://www.grantedministries.org/categories/By-Format/Tract/

  • Webster

    I’d like to nominate “The World-Tilting Gospel” by Dan Phillips. It’s useful for new and seasoned Christians alike and gives an excellent overview of a full-Bible Gospel.

    • brad

      In this post, Mike was primarily concerned for unbelievers, not new or seasoned believers. “The World-Tilting Gospel” is not a book I would recommend for non-believers. I would recommend resources by Tim Keller or people in the missional movement if you are interested in ministering to non-believers.

    • Thanks Webster. I agree that TWTG is a great resource. See my response to Frank Turk above on why it didn’t immediately come to mind for this list.

      Also, to just clarify for posterity in light of Brad’s response, I have no problem recommending that an unbeliever read The World-Tilting Gospel. Like I said above, it would be a great resource to use in an ongoing, one-on-one discussion with an unbeliever who’s interested in speaking to you about spiritual things. It’s just not the first thing that I’d hand them after meeting them on the street.

      For my part, I would steer entirely clear of most things written by Tim Keller or anyone in the missional movement, because of what I see as a fundamental flaw in their philosophy of ministry and evangelism. Just so that’s clear.

  • Alejandro

    This is great! Thanks Mike.

  • Patrick MacDonald
  • Great list Mike. Ah, resources… Sometimes the internet is used for wretched things and then there are sites like Cripplegate that are used for good things, things of God. I appreciate the work you all do. Keep it up.

  • JT

    It’s not a tract, but The Prophets’ Story is a great C2C-type presentation especially geared towards sharing with Muslims, but really great for sharing with anyone. We use it a lot in our ministry overseas. You can put it on your phone and look for opportunities to share it. http://theprophetsstory.com/

  • javier_rodriguez

    Here is one in Spanish and English that I design myself. It is a PDF file: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dhhewlsxmjmswlx/AABhr0a-EfrvvRjv_Svdc1a1a

    Keep up the good work!

    Javier Rodriguez

  • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

    For anyone who is or was a Jehovah’s Witness, a great pamphlet is, “I am a Witness” written by an elder from the JW’s who came to know Christ. It is the pamphlet that brought me to Christ and one for which I am eternally grateful.

  • sherrie Adler

    Mike, I really appreciate the list. I have an eBay store and with each of my sales, I tuck into the shipping envelope a Gospel tract. I currently use John MacArthur’s “The Promise Of Heaven” tract. The title along with the beautiful picture on the front seems to get many curious to open it and read it. I’ve had some customers even write me to thank me for sending it, praise God! They can be ordered here: http://www.crossway.org/tracts/the-promise-of-heaven-2858/
    Please could you pray for my customers. Thank you.
    Sherrie

    • Thanks Sherrie! I hadn’t seen that tract before and I love the content. I’m not a huge fan of Good News Publishers’ “sinner’s prayer”-like addendum, but I’m going to look into how I might be able to work this tract into our resources.

      Thanks for your faithfulness!

      • sherrie Adler

        Thanks Mike! Yes, I agree about not being a fan of the Good News Publishers’ “sinner’s prayer”-like addendum. It would be much better if Grace Community Church could put out a tract with this John MacArthur content. If that could ever be, please let me know. I’d much rather send out something like that. Thank you so much again!

  • I order all of my tracts from Good News Publishers, goodnewspublishers.org.

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  • Sharon Crisp

    ‘What’s it all about?’ by Martin Salter (www.10ofthose.com) is a great tract /very short book perfect for older teens or university students.

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  • Andy Lawniczak

    Hi Mike! I’m the owner of Gospel Tract Planet (www.TractPlanet.com). I would love for you to check out the tracts we have and let me know what you think. Would also love to send a free sample pack to anyone that would like them from this thread. We have almost 80 different tracts in stock. We do use the Law to bring the knowledge of sin, call for repentance and faith, and don’t use the “sinner’s prayer”. We also do custom tracts (like the “Contradict” folded tract someone linked earlier). For anyone interested in the free sample pack of tracts, please email me at TractPlanet@gmail.com. Thanks for your time!

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