Mark Spence, the Dean of our School of Biblical Evangelism, had given actor Kirk Cameron one of our CDs and it changed his life. It was called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.” After listening to it twice, Kirk called the ministry and asked if he could come over for lunch.
As we entered a restaurant together, I was tempted to put on an act for this actor by not giving out gospel tracts, something I never failed to do. I resisted that temptation and gave tracts to the staff, and offered them to one or two patrons as we walked to our table.
For the next two hours, I answered questions Kirk had about the teaching. Then he came back to the ministry and helped us load the UPS truck. It was a great time, and after he left I thought it was the last I would see of him.
And it almost was the case. He told me later that he was embarrassed when I started handing out tracts at the restaurant. He thought, “No! He’s one of those people.” When he entered restaurants he was used to a low profile, exactly what I wasn’t doing, and he decided not to contact me again. But it seems God had different plans.
Kirk did contact me again, and we ended up combining ministries and producing a television program that now airs in over 190 countries.
I’m not without empathy for how Kirk felt that first day. Who wants to look like one of those obnoxious people who push paper into the hands of strangers? But what he did notice during our lunch was that the people who had taken tracts were smiling as they read them. This is because our tracts are so unique, people enjoy them and regularly ask for more.
Uniqueness has always been the criteria for our tract designs. One that has remained popular for years is our wallet tract. This looks like a real wallet, filled with money and credit cards. And even when people realize it isn’t real, it’s so unique they want to keep it—and it contains the gospel.
However, if you are afraid of looking like one of those obnoxious people, you need only place the wallet on the ground, and someone will pick it up.
We also have a tract called “101 of the World’s Funniest One Liners.” It’s fun to see someone looking a little sad or bored and say, “You will love this—the world’s funniest one-liners.”
Then there’s the wonderful Million Dollar Bill tract. That one evolved over the years to become so cool that even my non-Christian brother loves giving them out, because he says it makes people smile. He likes that.
The thing that turned Kirk around when it came to giving out tracts was an incident when he was having dinner with his wife and they were served by a very nice waitress. Kirk was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of concern for her eternal well-being. He said that he thought about writing a short gospel message on a paper napkin. That’s when it hit him—that’s what a tract does! It gives the gospel to someone so that you and I don’t have to stop and verbally share. It keeps talking to the person after you have left, and it only gets read if and when the person wants to read it.
One of my fondest memories of the many times I traveled with Kirk was watching him boldly walk down a big line at Los Angeles Airport, giving out tracts. It was priceless to see people’s expressions as they recognized him. I’m sure not one tract was tossed.
There are many people who have come to Christ because of the lowly gospel tract, including the great missionary Hudson Taylor, and our own Mark Spence. So never despise or neglect using them as a means of reaching out to the unsaved. Perhaps when the apostle Paul said that he might by “all means” save some (see 1 Corinthians 9:22), he was thinking of gospel tracts. After all, that’s what his epistles were—written expressions of eternal truth.
Get some gospel tracts yourself and see how easy they are to hand out.