Every so often when strolling through downtown Burbank or the Americana in Glendale, I receive a tract from some unknown person trying to spread the Gospel. Most tracts are designed to grab the reader’s attention quickly, tell the truth, and offer the person forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. Most people think of evangelism as something done toward a person we do not know. Cold evangelism is fine and should be done, especially when done to win people not arguments, but it is not the primary way believers evangelize. A few weeks ago I proposed evangelism is primarily done in our daily life with people we interact with habitually.
But there is something missing with almost every tract and most “cold” presentations. The missing element is explainable considering the theology behind most who compile tracts. Some of these groups focus their attention on proving sinfulness, distilling the Gospel down to four points, and have not even considered they are missing something–the heart of the Great Commission!
I just encountered you. I received a Gospel presentation and a tract. I do not respond to you. I go home, I think about it, and I dwell on what you said. I read your tract and then open a dusty Bible or find an e-Bible. I get saved. GREAT!!!! Now what?
What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I tell? I need direction.
Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you . . .”
The main point of this verse is “make disciples.” Every other action (go, baptize, and teach) are subservient to the main idea of “making disciples” and yet they provide further details on how to make disciples. But the point is “make disciples.” Tract evangelism seems to emphasize the “go” and teaches a little of the Gospel. But who is going to help develop me? Who is going to disciple me? Where am I going to see and imitate the faith to grow more like and serve Jesus Christ? Where am I going to practice the one another’s and grow? Who am I going to ask difficult questions?
What did you leave on the tract to point me where to go? Did you leave a church address? Telephone number? Are you trusting the person will have immediate discernment to recognize a biblically based church and immediately get plugged in?
Yes God is sovereign and He will complete what He begins in a believer. But we desire to help the person as much as possible. Is adding a church address or providing a telephone number really that difficult? If our goal is making disciples then we hand out helpful information. Yes the Gospel is helpful. Yes it is even more helpful to provide personal contact information especially if he or she repents!
The missing element in tract evangelism is the church. Before you grab your million dollars and walk out the front door, consider the follow through. How will you direct a person back to a good church? Will you add an address, email, and contact information? How will you make sure the Great Commission is truly about “making disciples”?