Sunday, September 02, 2007

Evangelism Tracts

Yesterday while in Memphis, Katie and I ate lunch at Bob Evans. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, the couple across from us finished and got up to leave.

The woman came over to our table and introduced herself to us and said "I go to a church, just across the way, with those three big crosses. (And they are BIG! A lot taller than any nearby structure in that area! As we drove by we were remarking as to why they really needed to be THAT big? These are on the campus of the megachurch, Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, TN, that Adrian Rogers once pastored.)Three Crosses at Bellevue Church

I said "yes, 'Fort God'" (I realized immediately maybe that was uncouth to say, and could have been offensive.)

She laughed and said "Yes! That is what it's been nicknamed by a lot of people, especially pilots flying over the campus!" She wasn't offended at all!

She then went to hand me a Bible tract and explained that "this will tell you how to know for sure you are going to Heaven".

I said "I already know I'm going to Heaven! We are sisters!" Then she asked "you are Christians?" and we said yes. After a short conversation, she turned around to the waitress and said "well, then, maybe I should just give this to you" and handed her the tract while giving her the same spiel she gave me.Bellevue Church

After the woman left Katie made a point as to how easy it is to just go around and hand out tracts.

I responded and said "at least she is doing it. What are we doing?"

Katie said "well, we try to build relationships and tell people about what God is doing in our lives."

But then we wondered, how often do we really get to the "meat" of the story...or doing we just default to "we are building relationships".

From a previous posts on tracts:
I have a thing about tracts. I think there is a proper way to use them, and an improper way. To me, a tract should be used as a "springboard" to a conversation. It should not be left on the floor! Have you seen those tracts that are made to look like a $10 bill? A person reaches down thinking "jackpot!" and suddenly realizes they've been duped. How is that effective? It gets tossed aside, that's all.

Now, do I believe God can use that $10 fake bill, or the tracts littering my store on occasion to prick the heart of the non-believer? Yes, but is this what Jesus had in mind when he said "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation"? I think He meant what He said...he said "GO! PREACH!" Not, go leave tracts in hopes that someone will find it and get saved! I think dropping tracts all around is cowardly, and people use this way of "preaching the Good News" to ease their own conscience. Somehow it makes some people feel like they are following the command to go and preach, or to be a witness.
It just really hit me that this woman from the mega church that we jokingly refer to as "Fort God", which basically belittles it, was passing out tracts and witnessing, when we just sat there comfortable in our "building relationships" strategy.

I also wondered if it is possible that restaurant servers are evangelised more than anybody else? It's pretty easy to leave a "tip" for the server and then be on our way.

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