People in a postmodern, relativistic world need to be asked, "got life?" - and shown evidence that Christianity is true - before they will turn to Jesus.
A new evangelism tool, "got life?", is designed to make presenting and defending the gospel in a postmodern world more effective and simple.
"This new system is designed so you can do the whole presentation of the gospel in less than eight minutes," said Frank Harber, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor of evangelism.
Harber and Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill developed the "got life?" evangelism tool, which uses apologetics and simple acrostics to communicate the salvation message.
The idea for "got life?" came about after a meeting between Harber and Hemphill about two years ago. The two decided someone needed to create a simple evangelism tool that also used apologetics.
"We haven't found any other gospel presentation method in the world that uses apologetics to defend and prove the gospel," Harber said. "It's important to use apologetics in this postmodern world where truth seems to be relevant. We don't just want to tell people how to become a Christian, but also why they should become a Christian."
Harber said he has witnessed to many people who just needed to see some evidence before taking that step of faith.
"I've asked people before, 'If I could give you just a little bit of evidence, would that help you make a decision?' and that's where the historical evidence comes into it," Harber said.
Another feature of the new tool is the use of simple acrostics to present the gospel. The plan of salvation is introduced using an acrostic for LIFE - Love, Isolation, Forgiveness, and Eternal Life.
Another acrostic, RAMP, is used to illustrate the actual evidence that what the Bible says is historically and scientifically true. RAMP stands for Resurrection, Archaeology, Miracles, and Prophecy.
Southwestern student Adam Greenway was one of the first people to use "got life?" in witnessing to others.
"It's easy, it flows naturally, and it's relational," Greenway said. "I'm not giving some canned presentation to someone point, by point, by point."
Earlier this year, Greenway actually came up with the name "got life?" when he and Harber were traveling to an evangelism rally.
"We were just brainstorming and trying to come up with a catchy title," Greenway said. "And I said what about 'got life?' kind of like the 'got milk?' ads. As soon as I said it, he [Harber] just turned around with this glow on his face and we knew that was it."
The soon-to-be-released "got life?" packets will include tracts or "docs" as they are called in the system; a CD that can be used to train someone to use the system or as a witnessing tool; workbooks; and training videos. Harber says more "got life?" items are in the works like bracelets and a Bible.
"We've got plans for logo apparel, pens, mouse pads," said Russell Lake, president of HeartSpring Media, the "got life?" publisher and distributor. "We're shooting for something very mainstream, like Nike's 'just do it.' That's the same kind of thing we're wanting."
Lake said he hopes such a marketing approach will increase the effectiveness of "got life?"
"This [marketing] strategy will give Christians a credible way to share their faith that's culturally relevant and socially acceptable," Lake said. "This will help break down the barriers of traditional evangelism."
Harber is hoping that "got life?" will inspire a new generation of believers carrying out the Great Commission in a new millennium.
"The good thing about this program is that it will go with whatever other evangelism programs a church or other ministry might already have going on," Harber said. "It just gives another layer to it and adds another dimension."
Harber said "got life?" will particularly help laypeople "close the net" when it comes to leading people to Jesus.
"The real goal of the material is to take the average lay person and make them look like a genius," Harber said.
Students entering Southwestern this fall will also learn more about "got life?." It will be taught in the new evangelism course that will be a part of the seminary's new core curriculum this fall.
And in September "got life?" will be on an international stage where more than 1 million packets will be distributed to athletes and spectators at the Summer Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.
"The Holy Spirit has just really been a big part of this thing since we started working on it almost two years ago," Harber said. "I think it will free people to do personal evangelism like never before."