The JBQ quizzing season is over, and the National JBQ Festival has come and gone. Teams have put away their quiz boxes for the summer and are waiting to restart in the fall. For the sixth graders, their JBQ career is over. Some will move on to TBQ [Teen Bible Quiz] while others get involved in other church, school, and/or athletic activities.
Now is a good time to reflect on our JBQ ministry and motivation. Just why do we do JBQ?
I admit that I love the competition as much as anyone. I love being involved in the lives of the kids and families and helping them achieve goals. But at the end of the day, it is all about seeing lives transformed by the power of God through His Word.
Over the many years of my involvement in JBQ, I sought to keep this primary goal at the forefront of my mind. I looked for ways to encourage my quizzers to draw nearer to Jesus. As the district coordinator for the North Carolina District for over 20 years, I also have looked for ways to partner with the teams to keep this aim fresh in their minds. To date, we have created three different awards at the district level that help encourage students to grow in their faith and learn how to express it.
One of the first awards we created in North Carolina was the Christian Character Award. We encourage the adults involved in JBQ to look for specific actions of current quizzers that display Christlike character—whether that be at church, school, or in the home. These testimonies are collected and sent in for certain judges in the district to evaluate and select a recipient.
Normally, we recognize all the kids who are nominated, but then one person is given a special award. We want kids to see that living for Christ is something they can do now and that doing so is an integral part of JBQ and what this ministry is all about.
The next award is a missions scholarship, which is given each year to a former quizzer who is going on a short-term missions trip during the summer. This has been done for many years here in North Carolina and is a smashing success!
All the funds for this come from the people currently involved in JBQ. During our March meet, we encourage the kids/teams to bring change for our missions offering. For the past few years, this amount has come to over $1,000! Former quizzers who are going on missions trips are encouraged to apply for this award. Our selection committee chooses at least one recipient (if the funds are sufficient, we sometimes select two) to receive the award to go toward the cost of their trip. In this way, we encourage students to consider sharing their faith in a distant land, and hopefully at home as well. We also show them how the body of Christ will come together and support needs. We encourage the recipients to share a bit of their story about their trip. In the end, some kids who have learned the Word of God are obeying the Great Commission and are going out and sharing the Word they have learned!
The most recent award we created in our district is a special award for college students who meet certain eligibility requirements in their JBQ involvement. A number of godly philanthropists, all of whom have felt the positive impact of JBQ in their families, have pledged funds to go to a deserving college student. This past season, a student at Southeastern University received $1,200 for his education.
Again, we are encouraging students and their families to study and apply the Word of God. We show them that their hard work learning the JBQ Fact-Pak material is valuable and will be rewarded by God in some way.
These are some simple ideas that have helped us as a district to encourage the study of the Bible in the lives of the students and families to whom we seek to minister. We are consciously trying to create some significant markers in the lives of our students and to allow them to see that living for Christ is for them—and that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Maybe you can incorporate some or all of these ideas in your district/church to further encourage JBQ participation—which, in the end, builds up the body of Christ!