On Saturday I made my way to Indianapolis Westside Church of the Nazarene for the Children’s Bible Quiz meet. One of the things you will see when attending a quiz meet is that there are two categories the “red” and the “blue” teams. Somehow and it is probably just the way I think, but this takes me to days long ago, when we had Sunday School contests in which we were pitted against another congregation, or we competed against another Sunday School class at our church. We were divided into teams, and of course, they were the “blue” team against the “red” team. For six weeks we invited friends, neighbors, and relatives to come to our class or church and to tell everyone that I was the one who invited them. Of course, I am talking ancient history here, but back to the story: The “red” and “blue” in Bible Quizzing refers to the age or experience of the children quizzing.
I am going to say this right now: I love Bible Quizzing. This was the one program that I excelled in as a child and even some as a teenager. I was telling a pastor this week that I believe Bible Quizzing has the longest most deep-seated positive effect on the participants of any program in the church. I have graduated from two Nazarene institutions of higher learning, and I appreciate both Olivet Nazarene University and Nazarene Theological Seminary and the education I received at both places. They helped me to not only develop a proper worldview, but they also taught me the art of lifelong learning as well. Yet I have to say that with being a pastor and involved in ministry since 1981 and especially in the formative years of ministry I was preparing three sermons or Bible studies weekly, the books of the Bible that I know the best today are the ones I quizzed over as a kid. Take the book of Matthew for instance, the moment I hear someone say turn to such and such a chapter and verse I know the stories that are contained in that chapter. I am not saying I have the entire book memorized, but I know the general stories contained in each chapter, also I know many of the verses by heart. Most of these if not all of these I learned through quizzing. No one told me when I was a quizzer that the most essential part of the program was that “I was hiding God’s Word in my heart.” But, that is what happened. I enjoyed being with my friends and the ‘friendly’ competition. Half a century later, the only thing I really remember about the experience is the Word of God!
I went back and forth yesterday at the quiz meet between the red and blue events. I breathed a silent prayer from my seat: “Father help each of these children to remember the Word long after the quiz meet is finished. Help them to grow and develop as boys and girls and may they become men and women of faith, who put Christ and Kingdom above all interests. Protect them by your Word, For your Word is the truth!”
I congratulated as many of the children as I could, and I thanked the coaches for the time they are giving and the difference they are making in the lives of these children. While I was participating in quizzing as a child, I had no idea the impact that it was having on my life. I liked it, but I am not sure that I enjoyed it any more than the other activities I participated in and I admittedly had no idea that I would be writing an article about it someday. That is how life works! You have a hard time realizing how important something is when you are living through it, it is only upon further review sometime down the road that you discover the significance of something.
Allow me to sound like a District Superintendent for a moment. I noticed yesterday that many of the congregations that are participating in Quizzing are some of our smaller churches. I am not trying to be critical, but allow me to ask a question to each pastor and children’s pastor “What are you doing at your church that plants the Word of God into the hearts of your children and what are you doing that does a better job of it than children’s quizzing? I am not trying to be critical just asking. Long after the parties and activities are finished, and field trips over, what remains! I loved all of these as a child. Today I am thankful that Bible Quizzing was a part of my life and that the Word of God learned in that environment is so much a part of my life today. Thanking God today for the ministry of Bible Quizzing and I am challenging all congregations why not have a quiz team at your church?
Thank you to our district director Jessica Morey, and all of our quiz leaders, quiz masters, and coaches. You are making a difference not just for today but forever!