Churches that have developed bus ministries have found Chick tracts useful in several ways. When the kids get rowdy, something to read that grabs their attention will quiet a bus full of youthful exuberance.
A simple presentation of the gospel, if it doesn't bring immediate conviction, can lodge in a child's heart, sometimes for years, before it bears fruit to salvation. Many people have testified that it was the truth in a tract that they read as a youngster that they could never get away from, no matter how far into sin they went.
The tract format is inexpensive enough to use liberally. Some bus captains have packaged a toy, a piece of candy and a tract in a plastic sandwich bag to give to each child. They report that the tract usually comes out of the bag first. They also make great prizes awarded for inviting friends to ride the bus to Sunday school.
Besides reaching the individual child, the tracts go home to reach an entire family. Sometimes they also get passed around the neighborhood. Bus workers see the kids collecting and trading them like baseball cards.
At a recent convention for church bus ministries, a Chick Publications representative was besieged by church leaders who remembered how a tract had influenced their conversions. One pastor told how he was lost, bound by booze, pot and LSD many years ago. He read HOLY JOE and came under powerful conviction.
Alone in his bedroom he asked for God's forgiveness and salvation. God answered his prayer and changed his life forever. Later, he was called to the ministry and has pastored for many years. Chick tracts have been a significant part of his church's ministry, especially among the bus kids. "Man, they really work. The kids go crazy over the tracts," he says.