Children and youth across the France District are fired up about a new program: Bible quizzing.
At the beginning of the school year, Yacine Monteiro, Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries president for the France District, proposed holding a district-wide quizzing competition. It had been more than 15 years since the France District had done anything like this. Yet, the Sunday school representatives excitedly embraced the proposal, confident the kids were ready for the challenge.
Six out of the district’s nine churches have participated in the quiz meets so far. The quizzers’ ages ranged from 3 to 19. Teams from each participating congregation were organized as “Petits,” “Moyens,” and “Grands” groups (or Small, Medium, and Big). Each team had three to six contestants. The youngest group of 3- to 5-year-olds participate by memorizing a specific verse, while the other groups were asked to have in-depth knowledge of verses memorized from the assigned chapters.
The leaders are grateful for the quizzing material that the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library has available in French. Yacine provided quizzing coaches with a copy of Discovering John: Bible Study and Quizzing for Youth.
Enthusiasm about quizzing
The Paris 17th congregation hosted the first competition in October. Much to everyone’s surprise and delight, more than 70 children filled the room. Parents and coaches alike were amazed at how the kids answered questions and recited verses without hesitation. It affirmed the vision to reintroduce quizzing on the district.
The Versailles congregation hosted the second competition, also well attended, in February. The Egyptian congregation in Paris hosted the most recent competition in May.
The robust participation included a new team from one of the Paris congregations. For this final meet, Yacine asked that the kids be prepared for five additional bonus questions. The kids would hear the reference and the beginning part of a verse from the Gospel of John, and the first participant to stand would have to complete the verse from memory.
A team member from the Egyptian congregation in the “Moyens” group was unstoppable. Rather than waiting to hear the first words of the bonus verse, the boy would jump after hearing the verse reference and recite the entire verse from memory.
“This 6-year-old boy had basically memorized two entire chapters of John, word for word,” said Brian Ketchum, the quizzing announcer. “There was no way he knew what verses were going to be used for the bonus questions. He was quite impressive!”
The participating churches demonstrate the pride they take in hosting the meets by decorating their meeting halls and preparing little bags of candy for each child. Yacine awarded trophies and medals to award the winning teams and participants for all the hard work they had put into learning Scripture.
Safira Patrascu, mother of two of the quizzers from the Versailles congregation, explained that having her kids participate in quizzing was good for them.
“The kids were able to interact with other churches, usually so isolated,” she said. “Moreover, they were eager to learn the Word. It was very positive.”
After each meet, the quizzers leave encouraged by what they have accomplished and eagerly anticipating the next event.