Bro Philip Melder, of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Bloomington, IL, 2019 National Bible Quizzing Coach of the Year.
Tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
A huge part of my ministry is the ministry of Bible Quizzing. It promotes the Word of God where kids join up in their divisions and age groups and compete. They put a lot of time and effort into memorization. I’ve coached Bible Quizzing for 8 years now. It takes up a lot of my time, but I don’t regret a single second of it. I have kids who are outstanding in so many ways. I started with Sherwin Williams and Avery Wilson when they were 10 years old and have had the privilege of coaching them every year since then.
Why should a church be involved in Bible Quizzing?
It gives our young people weapons in their hearts that they can never lose. If a young person has memorized the Word of God and put it in their heart, it’s there to stay. These are the people that are going to be our future pastors and Bible study teachers, etc. In order for them to succeed, they need the Word of God to give them wisdom and to lead and guide them.
What do you think is necessary for a coach for BQ?
I look for a link or an investment in BQ in some way, a kid involved, or have quizzed before, or have family involved in some way. The second thing I like is someone who will learn from their mistakes and better themselves so that they can set up the kids as best as they can.
I think being a quiz coach is like being a child psychologist. You have to understand your kids and figure out when to push them when to pull them, when to rile them up and when to calm them down. You have to figure out what they need to hear at certain moments. Every kid is different. You have to be a leader, a teacher, a motivator and a prayer warrior.
What are the best strategies for quizzers to improve their games?
In order to be good at the game, Step 1, memorize the material word perfect and references 100%. If you hear a verse, know the reference instantly, or if you hear a reference, know the verse instantly at a 2-3 second recall speed. Step 2 is ‘charting.’ This is taking words and phrases from the material and finding connections. (Color-coded verse cards and a concordance are available.) Our quizzers can have an advantage by studying this.
Other strategies are getting questions and studying them. Once you get used to the different types of questions, you can anticipate where the question is going.
Give it to God. Whether you error out and lose points or you quiz out and win, do your best with what you’ve prepared and be thankful and graceful about it.
What would be good for a regular practice session?
For younger quizzers, it’s good to not do any one thing for too long. For any quiz practice, you should have buzzers or simulated buzzers and quizzes and practice hitting the buzzer and answering questions. There are a lot of games to help kids learn references or different types of questions or quote directly.
At the senior level, we talk about the Scripture, the questions, bounce ideas off of each other and critique each other. It’s also good to have a simulated tournament where there is no discussion so they learn to focus.
What would you recommend for coaches and teams new to Bible Quizzing?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask someone more experienced to do a workshop or teach your quizzers and coaches things they need to know to get started. Find resources online, FaceBook groups, podcasts, seniorbiblequizzing.com and najbq.com (for the juniors). Attend a tournament. Talk to your district coordinator and go see what Bible Quizzing is all about. BQ is really hard to grasp until you see for yourself. At a tournament, connect with people and ask questions.
How does Bible Quizzing prepare quizzers for life?
We have a lot of kids that are quizzers that didn’t grow up playing team sports. Bible Quizzing provides teamwork. Another benefit is delayed gratification. There is a lot of hard work without reward until you start tournaments. BQ helps with school. My daughter learned how to read, memorizing the verses from listening to the songs and ‘reading’ along with them on the flashcards. She read at a very high level at five years old. Bible Quizzing requires a strong ability to focus past distractions for an extended period of time. It also gets kids speaking into a mic, teaching them a little about public speaking and quenching some of those fears. This transfers to college and the workforce to have consistent discipline. BQ promotes humility, sportsmanship, teamwork, strategic thinking, and critical thinking. Overall the most important thing is they’re putting the Word of God, which is God, into their hearts and lives. I am scared for any of our students who go off to college or into the workforce without a solid foundation in Biblical truth.
Bible Quizzing is such a rewarding ministry in my life. I feel like it was a God thing. I would never in a billion years thought I would be a Bible Quizzing coach. It truly has been life-changing and an honor to work with the kids I have and get to know kids and coaches from all across the country. I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s probably my favorite thing to do besides raising my kids, getting to work with outstanding young people and bring them to competitions, bonding with them and others and fellowshipping in the Word of God together. We love the Word of God and Bible Quizzing and our kids. It’s life-changing.