One of the defining characteristics of an evangelical Christian is that they believe in following the Great Commission by spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Practically for us, this includes wherever our Jerusalem is (our local area), Samaria (its larger region), and the uttermost parts of the earth.
There are varying methods of “making disciples,” but that starts with someone becoming born again and having eternal life (John 3). Peter once pointed out that it was from Jesus that they received “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Eternal life comes from words.
These are not just any words, but words specifically from God Himself—words Jesus spoke; words today we find inspired to be included in the Scriptures like, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), and “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Communicating these words of eternal life to others is our mission.
Words are communicated to people in many ways. With the proliferation of technology methods are more abundant, portable, and disposable than ever. I don't intend to discuss every available method here in this post, except one—an old one.
I grew up the child of missionaries, and spreading the Gospel was something we did. That is part of who we are. One of the methods we use to do this is with Gospel tracts. These are small pamphlets with enough words on in them to give people a Gospel presentation.
As new generations have arisen, Gospel tracts have fallen out of favor. Some see them as impersonal, maybe even cowardly. This decline may not be unique to this particular method, but more characteristic of a larger decline in evangelism in general. Calls for people to evangelize have become less common, too.
It is with a mixed impression of this method that I went to Summit at Bryan years ago. One of the speakers over the two weeks I was there was Mark Cahill. As an evangelist, he was clearly in favor of using Gospel tracts. He didn't see them as a way to avoid conversation, but rather as a useful tool for starting conversations, guiding conversations, and when there is either not sufficient time for a conversation or when there are many people to reach at once. He specifically targets large events and gatherings in the popular culture for times when he seeks to reach people.
I've been a fan ever since. Several years back I ordered 1,000 copies of “God's Simple Plan of Salvation” with a note on the front about the importance of the 7 minutes it would take to read it. At the end of last year I felt led to make a significant investment in Gospel tracts. My plan was to have several thousand of a couple different themes to give out at various times of the year. I also stocked up on translations of this tract in several languages that are common in this area, and keep those at the ready, too.
The Washington, DC, area has several times of the year that draw crowds of people.
Mount Vernon offers free admission on President's Day.
After the President's Day distribution efforts, I realized I need to keep my supply in my vehicle as I have very limited use for thousands of Gospel presentations in my home.
Today I am getting outside with a full supply of the “In God We Trust” version of “God's Simple Plan…”
Please pray for me and friends in this effort to reach people in and coming to the DC and northern Virginia areas. May this be a time to celebrate God's goodness both to our nation and to us as individuals.