Well, let’s get right to the heart of the matter. How do you get teenagers to memorize and review material on a daily basis? This is the critical element required to have a successful Bible Quiz team. Without it, you’re just showing up and getting pummeled.
There are lots of great ideas on how to get students into the Word. Here are a few guiding principles that will help you get started:
- Set high expectations. This is counterintuitive. Most people think that you don’t want to be too demanding, or students will not want to participate. They are right, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you are clear from the beginning as to what level of commitment you expect from your quizzers, you should set the bar high. If Bible Quiz (or anything else) requires little commitment, then it has little value. Students tend to meet your expectations, however high (or low) you set them. Some students may not be able to commit, so they may choose not to quiz. It’s better to find out now than to get 3 months into the season and lose half your team to marching band.Ideally, try to have multiple teams with different levels of commitment. This will allow students to gain the benefits of quiz without detracting from what your top-level committed students want to accomplish. It also allows them to be successful at the level to which they commit.
- Tell them exactly what you want them to do. Ambiguity is not your friend. Be as detailed as you can when you tell them what to study. Don’t just say, “Learn chapter 4 for next week.” Break it down into easily digestible daily chunks. Also, don’t assume they’ll review on their own. Tell them exactly what to review and how many times they should do it.
- Keep it manageable. If a quizzer gets behind, they aren’t likely to catch up 3 chapters the week before the match. Give reasonable goals that are challenging, but not impossible.
- Stay in touch. If the only time you talk to your quizzers is at practice, it is much harder for them to keep their goals in focus. You should try to make at least one contact with each quizzer outside of practice during the week. Sometimes just knowing that the coach is going to check up on them is enough incentive to keep them working.
- Develop a culture of success. Notice I don’t say winning (although that helps). The idea is to find a definition of success that your team can accomplish, then push them to get there. Winning a national title your first year out is not terribly likely. What about placing in the top 5 in your league or state? Can you qualify for regional finals? Memorization awards are a great alternative goal. As you reach your goals, other quizzers will want to be a part of that successful culture.