One effective way for Christians to share their faith is through the use of Gospel tracts. Effective Gospel tracts emphasize (1) the sinfulness of man, (2) who Jesus is, (3) salvation by grace through faith apart from works, and (4) the assurance of that free gift of salvation. Tracts are helpful to use in situations where it is difficult to actually talk to a person in depth about the Gospel or when after having a conversation, you would like to leave the person with some follow-up material.
When you do not have the opportunity to have a conversation
Before every plane flight, I do my best to remember to pray that God will have me sit next to the right people. Interestingly, on my plane trip from Salt Lake to Las Vegas in July of 2008 for a business trip, I sat next to a mother and a daughter who just lost their grandmother (or mother in case of the mom). I happened to overhear their conversation, and they mentioned attending a Mormon church, so I supposed (though not for certain) that they were Mormons.
I wanted to share the Gospel with them, but they were crying during most of the trip, so I could not tell them, "Do you realize how Mormonism is wrong?" They really did not seem to want to talk for a long period due to their difficult time of loss. Instead, I gently patted the Mormon lady's shoulder and told her that I would pray for her and her daughter. After the flight was over, I asked them, "May I give you this?" I handed them each a Gospel tract. I continued, "It talks about how you can know for sure you are going to Heaven. I hope that it really encourages you." They both gratefully received the tracts. I never know what God will do, but I pray that He will open their eyes to the Gospel.
When you want to leave a person with some follow-up material
Tracts are also effective when you want to leave a person with some good follow-up material. Sometimes when you share your faith, it is difficult to determine if a person is saved or not. For example, back in November of 2008, I was flying to Florida to attend a speaking engagement with Matt Slick. On the flight, I sat next to a guy who told me that he once was a catholic and now was still religious but not in institutional religion.
I briefly went through the gospel with him, emphasizing that we are declared righteous before God (justified) by faith alone apart from our good works. He agreed with what I said. I could have pressed the issue further and asked him, “If you died right now, where are you going?” I did not sense that this was the right opportunity to ask the question. Instead, I offered him a gospel tract by saying, “May I give you this? It tells about the good news of Jesus Christ. You may have already heard this before, but I hope that this is a blessing for you.” He replied, “Yeah, I may have already heard this before, but thanks." I put the CARM.org website on the back of the tract and gave him my business card. He seemed appreciative, and we had a nice conversation.
Types of Gospel Tracts that are Effective
I personally like the tracts that are put out by EvanTell. They give a clear and simple presentation of the Gospel message by emphasizing our four points: (1) the sinfulness of humans, (2) who Jesus is, (3) salvation that is by grace through faith apart from works, and (4) the assurance of that free gift of salvation. For a list of their available tracts, click here.
Types of Gospel Tracts that are Ineffective
Unfortunately, some ministries do not present the Gospel clearly in their tract. Instead, they tell the person to repent, believe in Jesus, and obey God's Word. What does that really mean? Most people on the streets today do not know what the word, "repent," actually means. We need to emphasize the change of mind and heart towards sin but not tell the unbeliever that he or she must clean up their lives before coming to Christ for forgiveness. It can lead the unbeliever to think he or she must do good works in order to be saved--something which Scripture does not teach (Rom. 4:5, Eph. 2:8-9).