Gospel Booklets for less than a cup of coffee
Where would you start if you had less than an hour to explain the gospel to a friend who has not read the Bible before? What information should you cover? What points should you focus on? The Story that Matters and What are Christmas and Easter all About? are booklets that provide a clear explanation of the main message of the Bible in 45 minutes.
These booklets each explain the gospel in a chronological manner from creation to the cross. Using expressive line art illustrations (The Story that Matters) or rich colour illustrations (What are Christmas and Easter all About?) and carefully controlled text, the core message of the Bible is explained in simple-to-understand English so that even those who uses English as a second language can clearly understand the message.
These books are priced so they can be given away in large numbers. Churches can present these booklets to visitors or they can be given out at concerts or church programs. Individuals can also give the booklet like a gospel tract to family, friends and neighbours.
The Story that Matters
What are Christmas
and Easter all About?
Chronological: Begins with the creation of the universe, and then progressing sequentially through key Old Testament stories, it moves into the New Testament to reveal the meaning of the cross and the tomb. The main story of the Bible is tied together into one universal, all-encompassing drama. The content is brief so a reader can complete the book in approximately 45 minutes.
Assumptions: Assumes reader has little or no prior knowledge of the Bible.
Fully illustrated: Expressively drawn line art brings the gospel story to life.
Written for those with limited language skills: Using EasyEnglish, it is suitable for children, teens, ESL readers and those who are not generally readers.
Question: These seem like such short booklets. Can they explain the gospel clearly?
Answer: Here’s some background to the booklets that may help you understand its architecture and purpose. They were created with at least three important considerations.
First, the concise nature of these booklets enables them to be used for mass distribution or as a give-away on a personal basis—this for less than the cost of a greeting card or a cup of coffee
Secondly, these booklets were designed to be read in under an hour. We did this to appeal to those who may not like reading but will read a small booklet. To achieve a quick reading time, we had to balance an accurate and sufficient gospel presentation with a succinct word count. If you have read one of our bigger books like By This Name, you will see that we do have resources that explain the gospel message in much fuller detail. For The Story that Matters, we were conscious of every word. So we distilled the good news, doing our best to ensure that the key concepts were explained without adding bulk to such a small booklet.
The booklet was designed to give people with no knowledge of the Bible enough information to understand the four irreducible minimums of the gospel:
In other words, the booklet explains who God is, man’s sin nature, God’s provision of a perfect substitute, and how people appropriate the salvation offered by Jesus through a personal faith. At the back of the booklet, the reader is then invited to continue the learning journey by reading By This Name.
Compared to other tracts (many of them much shorter), The Story that Matters and What are Christmas and Easter all About? contain a lot more information, but we are well aware that we were being succinct in order to preserve these booklet’s brevity.
The third key consideration was that we designed these books to be read by the broadest audience possible. To this end, we strived to use a level of English that was easy for anyone to read, especially for readers who are learning English as an additional language. We used Wycliffe Associates’ EasyEnglish, a form of English with very controlled vocabulary and grammar structure. EasyEnglish makes it possible for people with limited English to read and understand the gospel message. So, for example, in place of the word “demon,” we use the phrase “Satan’s bad angels.”
These two considerations resulted in the short booklets. The content sticks to the absolute essentials—the core information that would help a person put his or her trust in Jesus for salvation. After that, the reader (or the believer helping the reader) can strengthen the foundation by reading the Bible or another book that explains more about the character of God and the nature of salvation.
Imagine this: you have less than an hour to explain the gospel to a friend who has not read the Bible before. What information should you cover? What points should you focus on? What would you say about God in a limited amount of time in order for your friend to learn enough information to declare, “I trust Christ to be my substitute, dying on the cross as a full and sufficient payment for my sins. I know that because I trust Christ, when I die I will be with him in Heaven forever.” That is what The Story that Matters and What are Christmas and Easter all About? strives to achieve in 45 minutes.
If you had more time, we would recommend using either By This Name (which takes about 14 hours to read through) or The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus (which takes 11 hours to read through). Those books go much deeper and explain more about God’s character (his holiness, the Trinity, etc.); more about man’s condition (sinful, helpless, etc.) and more details about the Law, the sacrifices, justification, righteousness, faith and more.
I hope this explanation helps you understand why The Story that Matters and What are Christmas and Easter all About? are written the way that they are. There are those who have read them and have come to faith in Jesus. There are so-called Christians who have read them and realized they had never understood the gospel before. Then there are those who have read them, and hungered for more and go on to read the Bible for themselves or some of our other books. Whenever any of these things happen, we thank God for we know that the booklet has helped someone with no knowledge of Scripture gain a succinct overview of the core message of the Bible.
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