Much of modern evangelism in the 20th century was structured around presenting the “gospel in a nutshell” to strangers on the street, asking leading questions about whether that person thinks they will go to heaven when they die and then presenting a formula to answer that question for them; as if the gospel is only about what happens when we die! The gospel is a far more robust message than can be communicated in a few moments using a small tract. The Gospels – the New Testament stories telling the Good News of Jesus offer a variety of examples of how Jesus called people to a life of faith and following Him. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the use of “gospel tracts.” This modern invention may have done more damage than we can even begin to discern today.
Here are some questions that have been running around in my head for a while now.
- How does being missional impact evangelism?
- Is there a place for evangelistic tracts to be useful and effective in this day and age?
- Do people still have tracts available for use in their ministry context?
- Do you have a favorite evangelistic tract that you’ve seen? How about a least favorite?
- What’s up with web-tracts, like The Kristo?
As we continue to think about what it means to be missional, one thing we can do is to focus our energies on more holistic representations of the Good News offered in the context of relationship with the expectation of God meeting people individually and uniquely, not according to some formula of our design.
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