Why Quizzing Still Works From a Pastor’s Perspective
I HAVE OFTEN BEEN ASKED about the Bible quizzing success of our local church. Over the years others have watched Living Way Church take home more than a few team trophies and individual awards. And to some, that equates success. While we have more hardware than we have room to display, those are not the real trophies of the quizzing program to this pastor. The real trophies are made of flesh and blood. They represent the lives that are impacted for eternity. It is impossible for me to talk about why quizzing works without sharing some incredible testimonies. These are just a few of a couple of dozen that I could share.
Terry Oglethorpe was the first faithful man with a good job and a family to call the little home missions work named Living Way Church home. A job transfer brought him to Texas, and Bible quizzing brought his family to LWC. His stable influence and solid support are still felt today, twenty-four years later. While he has served in many leadership capacities over the years, the constant has always been his involvement with our local Bible quizzing program.
Ben Nolan was a classmate of Michael Ensey at the local Christian school. He listened to Michael quote verses he had learned as a quizzer when a Bible class discussion turned to the Godhead, and a hunger for truth was piqued. He asked Michael if he could join the quiz team, and before long he started attending services. While a member of the quiz team, Ben was baptized in Jesus’ name in our old horse trough baptistery on the back porch of our home (truly home missions!).
Trophies and individual awards may not have been the highlight of Ben’s quiz career, but he did walk away from quizzing with an excellent achievement. He had caught the eye of Rani Coleman, one of the top quizzers in the nation from Denham Springs, Louisiana. Four years later, when she had completed her studies at Louisiana State University and he had secured an MBA from Texas A&M, they were married.
Ben went to work in the financial world and the young couple settled in as youth leaders for LWC. They worked faithfully in that capacity for a few years, seeing great growth and revival in the youth group they were leading. But Ben’s talent and ability in the business world had brought a large national firm calling, and a move to Chicago became a likely possibility.
When he was going to scout for a home and a church, I gave Ben some possibilities to look into in the area. Upon his return, I sat down with him to find out how he felt. To my surprise he began to tell me about a small home missions work that was just getting off the ground. And then he made an incredible statement. He said, “I really feel that we are supposed to go to this little church. I think I may can be for them what Terry Oglethorpe was for Living Way Church.” I sat back with tears in my eyes, nodding my confirmation as we were both too choked up to speak.
And now I marvel at the beautiful symmetry of this full circle. Bible quizzing had played a major role in Michael winning and discipling Ben. Bible quizzing had introduced Ben to his future wife. And today there is a thriving Bible quiz program in The Life Church of Des Plaines, Illinois, in the Chicago area because of Ben and Rani Nolan. Ben has certainly been for The Life Church what Terry Oglethorpe was for LWC!
Jordyn Ingram grew up in the LWC youth group under the leadership of Ben and Rani. She quizzed faithfully during those years and developed a love for the Word of God. She started a Bible study group in her large public high school, and a classmate named Clayton Bridge began to attend. His curiosity about truth (and interest in Jordyn) brought him from the large Methodist church in town to Living Way Church. He began attending when possible and accepted the challenge to join the Bible quiz team.
He quickly became a good quizzer and enjoyed some success. But the real success was when truth gripped his heart, and Michael Ensey baptized him in Jesus’ Name at the South Central Bible quiz tournament in Vidor, Texas! One year later he received the Holy Ghost at the Texas District holiday youth convention. It was a powerful experience, and he has never looked back. Today Clayton and Jordyn are married. He is finishing an electrical engineering degree at Texas A&M and they are actively involved in Victory Church of College Station, Texas. Bible quizzing (and a Bible quizzer) helped win this fine young man to God.
I was introduced to quizzing forty-two years ago. My lengthy involvement with Bible quizzing has only strengthened my belief that it is the best ministry program we have in the UPCI for our young people. There is not another program that so deeply ingrains a love for the Word of God in a young life. There is not another program that so actively brings together our young people in an atmosphere of positive peer pressure. Quizzing done right can be the very thing that opens the door of their heart to the call of God on their life.
The effects of quizzing are multifaceted. One aspect of a student’s life that is affected is their academics. Some are concerned that the time requirements of quizzing would detract from a student’s studies and negatively impact their grades. While there may be some sacrifices necessary for being involved in quizzing, we have seen academics improve, sometimes dramatically, as a result of involvement in the program. One student was struggling with grades, and as a result the parents were leery of involving the student in quizzing. After being assured the commitment, discipline, and mental exercise of quizzing would actually benefit the student, they decided to give it a try. The following school year they saw such a dramatic increase in grades and proficiency that the teacher asked the parents what they had done to make such a difference! The only difference from one year to the next was the influence of quizzing. Across the board we have witnessed students achieving at a higher level academically as a result of being involved in quizzing.
The social aspect of quizzing cannot be overlooked as a benefit. The students who have dedicated themselves to the study of the Word, and disciplined themselves daily are some of the finest peers your students could have. Through quizzing, students are fellowshipping and associating with the cream of the crop on a regular basis. Students from our church have friends all over the district and the country as a result of quizzing. They have joined up with these friends at youth camps, camp meetings, conventions, Apostolic Youth Corps trips, and even at Bible college. This network of friends becomes a great support system and positive influence in their lives.
Perhaps the most important area that quizzing affects is the spiritual life of the student. Daily interaction with the living Word of God is powerful. A local Bible quiz program that only focusses on the trophies and the competitive strategies misses the powerful force that comes from coupling Spirit and Word. In our local church we have documented the spiritual impact of quizzing through the years. We combine junior and senior quizzing under the umbrella of a quiz ministry, growing our senior program with a strong and dynamic junior program. After twenty-five years and dozens of quizzers, we have only had one junior who made it through to senior quizzing without having received the Holy Ghost. He received the Holy Ghost his first year as a senior quizzer. While many of them prayed through in our home services, several of the junior quizzers have received the Holy Ghost at the rally service of their regional extravaganza. They grow up into some of the strongest and most dedicated young people and young adults a pastor could ever hope for. The spiritual impact of this program is undeniable.
I am often asked about the financial impact of having a quiz ministry. I am well aware of the expenses required to run a successful program. Over the years as our church has steadily grown, so has our quiz program. Over the past few years we have had as many as thirty quizzers, including both junior and senior programs. We have sent as many as five teams to our state finals for both junior and senior, and have sent multiple teams to the national tournaments each year. While this creates additional expense, I have determined as a pastor that it is worth every sacrifice necessary to keep this program available to our children and young people. I never sit down at our yearly planning session trying to figure out if we can afford to continue our quizzing program. I believe so strongly in quizzing that I will eliminate other things, if necessary, to ensure this ministry remains a part of our church. Casting the vision for Bible quizzing isn’t difficult. You just have to remember where you are investing. When you invest in your children and young people, you are investing in the next generation of leaders and the only thing you can take with you to Heaven. Simply stated, quizzing works.
Randy Ensey pastors Living Way Church in Conroe, Texas. He is also the father of former Bible quizzers and grandfather of current Bible quizzers.
The above article, “Why Quizzing Still Works From a Pastor’s Perspective” was written by Randy Ensey. The article was excerpted from the Pentecostal Herald. September 2016.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.