ATLANTA (BP)–Children visiting the homes of Southern Baptists this Oct. 31 may get more of a treat than they were expecting — the plan of salvation in an easy-to-understand format.
The nonprofit American Tract Society, which has been producing evangelistic resources for 176 years, is introducing a new line of materials just in time for the Halloween season. The “31 Halloween Pack” provides 31 tracts to be given out to trick-or-treaters as a way for Christians to extend their outreach into one of the most popular days of the year.
“October 31 is the greatest opportunity we have all year to share the gospel with children,” said Dan Southern, president of the Garland, Texas,-based organization.
“Where else do we have contact with so many young people coming right to our front doors? We are offering a challenge to Christians to use this opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with 31 children this Halloween.”
The tracts can be used with candy and placed in trick-or-treat bags, at church harvest festivals, or placed in costume stores or used in shopping mall Halloween events with permission of the merchants.
To accompany the Halloween emphasis, ATS has developed a seeker-friendly website — www.October31st.org  — that provides an interactive experience for children and adults. A Christian perspective of Halloween is interwoven with a gospel presentation, and an online form is included to register a personal decision.
“This is an evangelistic presentation and no one will call to pressure those who complete the form,” Joey Hancock, director of the church ministry division at ATS, said. “It is not used as a marketing tool and any follow-up will be conducted with sensitivity and discretion.” Hancock, a former Southern Baptist pastor, said Christian youth are being encouraged to spread the word about the website among their unchurched friends. The children’s puzzles are especially entertaining while offering a Christian orientation to Halloween.
ATS is hoping that churches will order the materials early enough to incorporate the tracts into a comprehensive outreach strategy for Halloween.
“If a church orders just 100 of these packets to be distributed among their members, there will be 3,100 tracts distributed that evening in just that community. The impact of that simple effort will have results for eternity,” Hancock said.
The tracts can be used in a variety of church settings. For example, a congregation could order them to be distributed as part of its fall festival emphasis on Halloween night, and additional packs could be used by those members who choose to stay at home. Shut-ins who desire to share in the outreach emphasis can also use the materials.
“Individuals who use the packet will receive an ATS reply card which will allow them to share their Halloween experience. By returning the card they will receive a free CD-ROM of Billy Graham’s popular ‘Steps to Peace With God,'” Hancock said.
“This is ATS’ way of saying ‘thank you’ for reaching kids for Christ on Halloween.”
The materials are economically priced to make them available to as many churches and individuals as possible. One packet is $4.99, two to 25 packets are $3.99, and more than 25 are $3.49 each.
“When a person has an opportunity to share the gospel, two things happen,” said Hancock, who lives in suburban Atlanta. “First, we must accept the task of sharing the gospel and secondly we must have the tools with which to share the gospel. ATS is committed to giving believers the very best tools to complete the task.”
To order the materials call 1 800 54-TRACT or 1 800 548-7228. Allow two weeks for the order to be received.
Hancock, who can be reached at [email protected] , is available to speak in churches nationwide about building a successful tract ministry.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: REACHING KIDS ON HALLOWEEN and 31 OPPORTUNITIES.