For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Publish Your Own Story

Publish your own story in a tract

People can argue about religion until they are blue in the face. You may be able to witness to some but others may shut you down quickly. Many Christians live their life and have only shared their story of salvation with a handful of people. It doesn’t have to be that way. Many can count on one hand the number of people to whom they shared their full story of conversion.

Understandably there are many who are too shy to share their story. It takes so much courage and they fret about whether the time is right to share their story. Thirty minutes after the opportunity has passed, they regret that they failed once again to share their story.

It is much easier to put your story in writing; have it printed as a Gospel tract and then pass it out at opportune times. Before you dismiss this idea as out of reach for you, because of the expense, let me tell you it is much simpler, faster and cheaper than you may think, to have your story professionally printed in tract form.

Once you have it in writing, you can give it to a cashier, to a bus driver, enclose it with the cards you mail to friends, pass it out to your friends and others by just saying: “Here is my personal story for you to read some time.” That’s really all you have to say but if you want to say more you could say: “If you have any questions after you read it, don’t be afraid to ask me. I may not have the answers, but at least we could chat.”

The encouraging news is this – very, very few will ever say no to your personal testimony. They may say ‘No!’ to many things – but if you just quietly hand them your written story and say: “Here’s my story for you to read...” 9 times out of 10, they’ll take it. Don’t ask them by saying: “Would or could I give you my story to read?” When you ask them they may say: “No offense, but I’ll pass.”

A typical four panel Gospel tract (single fold) can handle 800 words. Of course, if you want to share more details you can go with a double or triple fold tract but they will be more expensive.

Some tips for you as you prepare to write out your first draft:

Don’t use phrases unchurched people will not be familiar with. We get so accustomed to hearing clich├ęs and phrases in testimonies we forget that those not familiar with the Gospel, the Bible, etc., would not have a clue what we are talking about.

Our words should inform and explain rather than confuse and cloud the matter.

‘I sat under the sound of the Gospel’ – what does that mean? How do you find the sound and how low do you have to sit to get under it? Better: “I often heard people preaching the Gospel.”

‘I was in soul trouble’ – where did that expression come from? Better: “I was bothered about my sins and worried about going to Hell.”

‘God dealt with me’ – Does that mean He spoke to you audibly or He interfered in your life or He was dealing out blessings to you? Better: “Through circumstances and other things, God was trying to get my attention...”

‘I wasn’t covered by the blood.’ Don’t assume your readers will know anything about the blood or the Passover or anything from the Bible. Better: ‘I realized that my sins were fully exposed to God and I had no shelter. I placed no value on the death of Christ or His blood that flowed out of His wounds.”

‘The coming of the Lord always made me afraid...’ Many from Christian homes include this in their testimony (as it was a very real concern) but if you knew nothing about the Bible or the Rapture, and you read that statement – what would you think it meant? If this needs to be a part of your story to the ‘outside world’ then you will have to think about how you can say it in an understandable way.

Many of us rattle off the verse “...He was bruised for our iniquities...” not realizing that most today (under 30) don’t have a clue what an iniquity is.

Your story should be clear about (1) the condition of your life before and (2) the change afterwards. What needs to be very clear is what happened in between (the climax) and specifically what you discovered about Jesus you never appreciated before.

Some have a tendency to preach throughout their story. Remember you are just telling your story. At the end you may wish to ask the reader if their sins are forgiven or if they are sure of heaven or if they have found peace or are they ready to die; but make sure you first tell your own story in an interesting and understandable fashion.

Include contact information: If someone wants more information after reading your story, who or how can they contact someone? Your email address? A website?

Before you get it copied or published, make sure two or three people read it with a critical eye to ensure it would be suitable to give to someone with a Grade Seven vocabulary.

Some publishing options for you to consider:

You can go this site (link below) and do everything you need to do online and they will ‘dress’ it up for you and ship it to your door. Check out the price and the credits available to you. Probably for around $100 you could have 1000 professionally published tracts of your testimony. Too pricey? $101 for an adult day pass to two parks at Disneyland. One thousand tracts might keep you going for longer than one day.

If you (or a friend) are skilled with WORD or similar software, you can prepare your own tract. A standard tract paper size is 18cmX14cm with a fold in the center. This will give you four panels. Save it to a disk or stick and take it to a local print shop or a franchise like Kwik Kopy or a place like Staples.

These are just a few ideas. If you have any recommendations or comments you would like to add to this post, please leave your comment below.

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