Bible Drills: ‘The competition isn’t what’s important’

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High schoolers participate in their final drill off. Jonathan Branton from Harps Crossing in Fayetteville placed first. MYRIAH SNYDER/Index

FAYETTEVILLE – Kyle Brannen, a high school senior, has been competing in Bible Drills for nine years. He placed first in 7th grade and then again in 10th grade. This year, though, he decided to branch out and compete in the Speaker’s Competition at state. He placed first and received the Jenny Rogers Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,200.

“Like Noah, we sometimes feel like we’re building ‘I don’t know’ for ‘I don’t have a clue,'” Kyle Brannen said during the Speaker’s Competition. He placed first. MYRIAH SNYDER/Index

Inspired by a talk he heard at the Passion Conference this year, Brannen spoke on faith. “Our faith will look foolish to the world,” Brannen, a member of First Baptist Monroe, said, explaining in his speech how his family went through a tough year of job loss. But all the while, they kept their faith.

He says he started understanding that “it doesn’t matter what anyone wants to say about me or my faith. They’re not who I worship. I worship God.” That was his “main motivation” for the speech.

Students from 35 churches competed at regional level, and students from 16 advanced to state.

Other first place winners for the State Competition held May 11 at Flat Creek Baptist Church in Fayetteville were Abigail Mongillo, from Warner Baptist in Augusta, who competed in the Youth Bible Drill and Jonathan Branton, from Harps Crossing in Fayetteville, who competed in the High School Bible Drill. Branton received the Waldo and Sarah Woodcock Scholarship in the amount of $500. Additionally, Molly Young, the runner up in the Speaker’s Competition received a Jenny Rogers Memorial Scholarship as well.

“It is so beneficial for me to know God’s word and be able to know what His word says about me, about His creation, and about who He is,” Lauren Tripp, High School Bible Drill runner up, said. MYRIAH SNYDER/Index

All three first place winners will be representing Georgia at the National Youth and High School Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament on Friday, June 14 at Parkwood Baptist Church in Concord, North Carolina.

Lauren Tripp, the High School Bible Drill runner-up, is a junior from Harps Crossing Baptist Church. She’s been competing for eight years. A couple of years ago, trying to balance the pressure between school and Bible almost led her to quit.

But, “I think I just saw how beneficial [Bible Drill] was. I needed to learn God’s word and to have that in my heart so that I was able to share that with other people,” she said.

Tripp added, “It is so beneficial for me to know God’s word and be able to know what His word says about me, about His creation, and about who He is.”

Part of her preparation process involves the Bible app on her phone. She’ll take it out, memorize Scripture, and say it back to herself. She said she’s heard adults who did Bible drills as little kids who can remember verses they learned today. “I’m excited to take that with me,” she said.

Youth Bible drillers wait for their final drill off to begin. MYRIAH SNYDER/Index

The Bible Drill competition grew out of the “sword drills” Jenni Carter, state missionary with Kids Faith and Groups Development, remembers as a kid. However, with this new model produced by LifeWay, she noted, there’s more of a memorization component.

Segments of the competition include:

  • Reference Drills – finding a passage of Scripture and reading it, much like Carter remembers
  • Book Drill – finding a book of the Bible and reciting the book immediately before and after
  • Bible Answers Drill – where students are asked a question and must find and quote the verse that answers it, and a
  • Doctrinal Statements Drill – much like the Bible Answers Drill.

“In the book ‘Nothing Less’, Jana MaGruder and LifeWay Research reveal the top predictors of spiritual health of young adults. The top factor was Bible reading while growing up. Through Bible Drill, kids and students become more familiar with the Bible and more comfortable using it and reading it,” Carter explained.  

“It’s easy for families to become so busy that they don’t take the time to ground their kids in the Bible. When churches and families take the time to be a part of Bible Drill, they immediately spend more time studying and preparing,” she continued.

Carter added, “The competition isn’t what’s important. What’s important is kids and students reading God’s word, studying God’s word, memorizing God’s word, and applying God’s word to their lives.”

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