Monday, 28 February 2011

Does giving out Christian tracts still work?

Have you ever felt a little embarrassed when you see someone on the street with a megaphone or perhaps a microphone and amplifier preaching about Jesus when it seems that everyone is ignoring them? I have to admit that I have felt like that on occasions, but I must say that I have also seen other people doing that, and yes, they were doing it well. Often now, when I encounter people doing this I make a point of going on to them to give them some encouragement.
I genuinely believe that the Lord really does call some people to do that kind of thing, and people do genuinely come to Christ through this type of evangelism. In fact, the evangelist J John used to preach on the underground trains between stops in London. He had a captive audience for a minute or two and gave it his best shot. 

I was attending a business meeting in Brussels a few
years ago. While on a pretty full tram in the city, a young man got on board with a guitar and proceeded to sing “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord” by Matt
Redman. He finished the song and got off at the very next stop. The song could have easily spoken to a person’s heart on the tram. Only the Lord will know that I suppose.
Here is a question: What about people who stand in sports arena with signs that simply say John 3: 16? Many of us have seen them on TV. Some people will look for the scripture, read it and have an encounter with God.

I was thinking the other day that probably in most cases these people and others like them don’t often see the results of the seed that they sow. But they just keep on keeping on. That is a really good attitude to have and one that we need to possess especially if we get involved with giving out Christian tracts. This can be on the street, in shopping centres, door to door, or even with people that you just come into contact with.
Apparently quite a number of people immediately discard them, some tracts go in drawers, some are left in coat pockets and some are read and then thrown away. But the great news is that some are actually read. The Lord speaks to the reader’s heart through them, and then amazing things happen. People have life changing experiences and give their lives to Christ. 

Key Point: Always have a few tracts with you if possible. The Lord can use them to open the doors to a person heart

Jews for Jesus have passed out over 40 million tracts one-on-one. Director David Brickner acknowledges that, although, (in New York City) 25% of tract recipients immediately discard them, he believes that few other methods of evangelism are as powerful as passing out tracts that contain the Word of God.

Even some of the greatest names in Church history, such as missionary Hudson Taylor, and Evangelist George Whitfield, became Christians after reading tracts.
In my own case, a couple of shop owners had witnessed to me for many months and got nowhere as far as they could tell. After a request from me to stop “Bible Bashing”, they did exactly as I asked and said no more to me about the gospel. One day I was in their premises making a purchase. As I left the shop, the owner Michael tossed a simple match stick man tract to me and said “Moray, have a read of that”. Later on that day I sat in my office and started to look through it.

The small square booklet was a good news tract that depicted the gulf between God and man due to our sinful state. Jesus was the bridge to reach God. Reading that far in the tract had no effect. However, the last page certainly did, and I had a reaction that I certainly didn’t expect. It stated that if a person was living life their own way, they were in fact living in rebellion to God.
Reading that simple booklet really wound me up like a piano wire and made me very cross. I got up and marched back to the shop for an argument.
As a result of reading it, dialogue was opened again between us. Some months later, I received Christ as my Lord and Saviour, since then so have family members, friends, work colleagues and many others through personal witness and preaching the Gospel.

I am grateful to Michael for having the courage to give me that simple booklet all those years ago. Do I believe tracts work? You bet I do!
Make sure you have some to hand. When you give one out, you may be surprised at what happens.



Saturday, 26 February 2011

In a PC world, should we knock doors with the Gospel of the Kingdom?

I am very privileged to have been able to work with a great evangelistic team in Newport South Wales. This group is part of the School of World Evangelism which was started by the evangelist Marilyn Harry about 20 years ago. The course takes people out of their comfort zone because unlike the "Fish-less  Fishermen" they don't just talk about evangelism, they go and do it. This involves amongst other things street preaching, tent missions and knocking doors with the good news.

On one Saturday training day recently, the trainees were informed that they would be visiting an area where there is a huge mix of nationalities and a high level of unemployment. Living in a block of flats, there is a large number of immigrants from Czechoslovakia. Virtually all of them were unemployed and as a result they were struggling financially, plus drug problems were very common indeed.

As a result of the first door knock a team of four people asked if they could share the good news of Jesus. Within a few minutes people had come to the room from all over the flats so that there were around 25 people in a small bedroom. The gospel was shared through personal testimony and by preaching the word of God. Translation was given through a young girl (who had a drug addiction) who was a resident of the flats that had a good command of English.  That day the young lady gave her life to Jesus and was set free from her addiction in front of everyone. A meeting was arranged in the flat for a Sunday morning as everyone wanted to know more about the good news. They had all felt the presence of God which drew and many others back every week.

After a few weeks the team have had to hire a hall on Sundays as over 70 people have come to Christ. Many have been set free from all kinds of bondage and addictions, lives have been totally changed and transformed. The new believers are spreading the good news and as a result more people are attending services. Recently a baptism service was held for quite a number of people.

The point of this is that I know people who wouldn't dream of knocking a door, or stand on a street with the Gospel. I am not saying they are wrong becuase they use other methods to reach people. But if we don't go to where the people are how will they hear the most important news there is?  "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" Romans 10: 14-15 NIV.

Just some food for thought.