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Many people who consider joining us baulk at the fact that we spend so much of our time distributing tracts.

"We like what you're saying," they tell us, "but we don't necessarily think that giving out tracts is the way to go." Or they just tell us that God hasn't called them to such a ministry. Some volunteer to cook, write, do business, sweep floors, in fact, do anything except give out tracts. "Jesus didn't use tracts," they rightly observe. But, of course, he didn't use musical instruments, computers, microphones, or auditoriums either.

So what did Jesus do? We know of a couple of times when he preached to the multitudes, but on the whole, he tended to just get out on the streets, day in and day out, sharing his message. He used stories to make it interesting, and on the weekends he would seek openings to make his point at the synagogues; but during the week, whether it was in the marketplace, by a well, at someone's house, or even in the middle of a funeral procession, he was teaching and preaching, preaching and teaching... faithfully.

"I must work while it is yet day," he said. "The night comes when no one can work." (John 9:4)

"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few." (Luke 10:2)

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

We call that last sentence "The Great Commission." It is the task Jesus has assigned to us... "preach the gospel to every creature." True, Jesus did it by word of mouth. But someone wrote it down too, then copied it, and eventually printed it. Now we have the gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, and according to John. Some would even say that we have it according to Paul, according to Peter, and according to a few other people as well. But in each case, it is in writing.

You may not necessarily think that putting it in writing like they did was the way to go. But if they hadn't, we would not have the Bible today. We would just have some preachers each telling us what someone told them that someone else had told them, passed on down through the centuries. Imagine how garbled the message would be by now!

And that is what happens when people listen to preachers, watch dramatic productions, or just share in a conversation. They go away with all kinds of misconceptions, based on their own ignorance, hang-ups, and biases.

But when they get something in writing, they can refer to it later, share it with a friend, read it a thousand times if they like, and get a clearer understanding each time that they do.

We preach publicly from time to time, and we have used things like street drama, graffiti and various media "stunts" to get our message across. But we use tracts most consistently to preach the gospel, because we have found them to be the most efficient and most reliable way available to obey the Great Commission.

It's humble work... no applause, little recognition, and lots of rejection. As we are so often told by others, it may not be the only way to go about preaching the gospel. But if it is not the best way to get the job done, we don't know what is.

(See also Inspired Distributing.)

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