10/7/12 Wayne, about 45
I took advantage of all the energy and excitement of the Chicago Marathon to hand out a few gospel tracts to onlookers. I like to use tracts as conversation starters, and thought I'd write about how it helped start a gospel conversation with one onlooker, a man named Wayne. I had "trillion dollar" tracts from www.livingwaters.com and gave one to Wayne. I almost always tell people right up front what they are, a fun collectors item with the serious "trillion dollar question" on the back - "Will you go to heaven?" I don't assume they believe in God or heaven, so I asked Wayne "Do you believe there even is a such thing as heaven?" He said he did. "Do you think you'll end up there?" "Yes, of course" "Well I want to see you there some day so I have to ask you, how can you be sure?" I have never had a negative reaction to telling people I want to see them in heaven. I look them in the eyes and I say it with my whole heart, because it's true. Sometimes I might joke "Not anytime soon, though!" With this understanding, Wayne was open to talking about his understanding of what it takes to get there "Well, I think I'm going because I'm a positive person, I try to be positive in everything I do" "Do you believe in both heaven and hell?" He did. "So you believe that some people are going to one and some to the other, and somehow you would be going to heaven because you are more positive than those that are going to hell?" I was just trying to ask a few questions to get Wayne to look logically at what he was really saying. He didn't like the sound of this - it didn't fit in with his positive self image - that he believes he is a better person than those who are going to hell. From here we went on to talk about his religious background - a Baptist childhood, no religious involvement as an adult - and to engage in a good discussion of the Gospel. He was with family, so our conversation was limited to about 15 minutes. I use tracts as discussion starters like this in situations where people may very well not have much time to talk so at least I might leave them with something that has my contact info on it, but in general I try to avoid gimmicky ways to share the Gospel. I think most non-Christian people appreciate an honest conversation in which we are willing to hear their views and unashamed to share Bible truths. They deserve more credit for that than we as Christians are often willing to give.