Seven years ago, our family moved into a neighborhood that attracts busloads of trick-or-treaters every Halloween. We’ve had as many as 1000 costumed children stop by our home for candy in a single night.
We see this influx as a unique opportunity for door-to-door evangelism — only instead of our going out to share the good news of the gospel with our neighbors, our neighbors come to us!
That’s why we pass out trick-or-treat tracts along with all our candy every Halloween. In the past, I’ve designed these tracts myself (click here to see examples), but this year, per my husband’s suggestion, we’re going to try something new.
We’ve decided to let our readers come up with this year’s tract. But you’ll have to work fast! The deadline for entering is October 25. We’re planning to announce the winners and post printable versions of their designs on or before October 30 (that’ll give those who want to do so time to print a quick batch before trick-or-treaters arrive).
Here’s the full scoop for how this year’s contest will operate:
Trick-or-Treat Gospel Tract Contest
Submission dates: October 1-25, 2018
All entries must be received by 11:59 PM on October 25.
- 1st Place: $300
- 2nd Place: $200
- 3rd Place: $100
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All designs must be four pages in length — no more, no less. Tracts will be printed single-fold, with a front, back, and 2-page inside spread. The easiest way to do this is to fold a regular sheet of paper into fourths and draw your design by using a fourth-sheet for each page.
All artwork must be original, rendered in simple, black and white ink line drawings. Colored artwork and pencil sketches will not be accepted. By submitting an entry, you grant us non-exclusive rights to publish your design as a free printable which readers can then download from our website.
Communicate gospel message
All entries must contain a shorter, simplified version of the gospel message below and should also include Bible verses to back up that message.
Mankind is sinful.
(Romans 3:23) We are born with a sin nature, or a predilection for doing wrong. (Psalm 51:5) This fact is made abundantly clear in the world around us and in our own hearts. (Isaiah 53:6) Our sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and leads ultimately to both physical and spiritual death. (Matthew 10:28) Indeed, death is the guaranteed payment we earn when we choose to sin. (Romans 6:23) Of course, this part of the story is actually bad news, but we must rightly understand our desperate need to fully appreciate the good news that follows.
Jesus died in our place.
Jesus came to willingly take the punishment for our sin upon Himself. (Isaiah 53:5) He, being fully God and fully man, lived a perfect, sinless life, then laid down His life on our behalf. (Philippians 2:5-8) He came not to condemn the world — our sin condemns us already — but to save the world, because He loves us (Romans 5:8) and wants to enjoy a restored relationship with us. (John 3:16-18) God desires that none would perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Jesus arose from the grave.
He actually and physically died on the cross. (John 19:33-35) He didn’t just pass out: He quit breathing, His heart stopped beating, and His spirit left His body. (John 19:30) His dead body was placed in a sealed tomb, (Matthew 27:59-60) where it remained until Christ was physically resurrected on the third day and appeared in the flesh to more than 500 witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) (many of whom were later martyred for refusing to recant the story of Christ’s resurrection or renounce their faith) before ascending to heaven (Acts 1:9) where He now sits at the right hand of God. (1 Peter 3:22)
Jesus alone has the power to save.
There is nothing we can do to earn our own salvation. (Ephesians 2:4-5) It is offered as a free gift from God (free to us, though it cost Him dearly), obtained only by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:11-13)
Jesus transforms those who trust in Him.
Christians should be known for their good works, (Luke 6:43) but our good works are the evidence of our salvation, (James 2:26) not the cause of it. Certain traits will be evident in the life of a mature Christian, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Also, those whose lives have truly been transformed by Christ will want to share their experience with others — not out of compulsion (although we are, in fact, commissioned to do so in Matthew 28:18-21), but out of compassion for those who have not yet heard or accepted the truth of the gospel. (Romans 10:14-15)
Use your own words
Of course, the above outline is far too detailed to fit on a single-fold gospel tract, so please present the gospel in your own words, being careful to back up what you say with Scripture. You may draw from the Bible verses listed above or use personal favorites. Please note that all supporting Scriptures must be taken from the Old and/or New Testament. No citations from Apocryphal writings, Book of Mormon, or any other religious books will be accepted.
A few examples
Here are a couple of the tracts I’ve designed in past years, to give you an idea of what we’re looking for in the way of length and detail. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can share the same basic message. For more examples (or to print copies of the following tracts), follow this link.
Entries will be judged using the following criteria:
- Accuracy: 30% (Does this tract present the one true gospel?)
- Authority: 25% (Does it cite relevant Bible verses to back up its message?)
- Creativity: 20% (What sets this tract apart from others?)
- Simplicity: 15% (Is the message presented in an easy-to-understand way?)
- Adaptability: 10% (Can it be easily converted to a printable PDF?)
Send submissions electronically
You may either create your tract using graphic design techniques on your computer or draw it with pen and paper and then scan a high-resolution copy of your original artwork. Collaboration between parent and child or siblings or friends is permitted, but collaborators will be solely responsible for determining how to split the cash prize in the event their design wins. To enter, please email us a copy of your design, along with the following information:
- name of artist(s)
- age of artist(s)
- home state (or country, if living outside the US)
- email address where we may reach you (if different from the sending address on your entry)
Please be mindful that all entries must be received by 11:59 PM on October 25, 2018.
Eligibility for prizes
Although this contest is open to all comers, please note that only non-Flanders family members are eligible to win cash prizes. (Sorry, my kids and grandkids. You’ll get to do this little project as a homeschool assignment, but you won’t be winning any money for it. The best you can hope for is an honorable mention. 😉 )
I think that about covers the rules. Have I left anything out? This is the first time we’ve tried anything like this, so I feel like I may be forgetting something. If you think of a question I haven’t answered, ask me in the comment section below, and I’ll try to respond in a timely fashion.
Also, could you do me quick favor? I’d absolutely love to get swamped with entries, so would you please share this contest with any family, friends, or school/church/scouting groups you think might be interested in participating? We’d be ever so grateful for your help in getting the word out!