I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.”
— Chuck Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, pg. 61
According to research presented in 2014 in Christianity Today, 7 out of 10 children who grow up in a church will leave the church at age 18. Five will eventually return, but two will leave and never come back. What has promoted this sobering statistic? In a study of 2,000 young adults, only 29% said that faith is their most important influence on parenting. According to this study referenced in LifeWay Kids director Jana Magruder’s book, Nothing Less, church and the Bible ranked last in where young adults look for parenting advice.
What can we do to change this statistic? What can we do to ensure that the kids we teach each week don’t grow up to leave the church forever?
Attention! Present Bibles! Start!
If you grew up in church, you may remember these commands from Bible Drill, but perhaps you thought Bible Drill was a thing of the past. Not only are SBCV churches still participating, but there has also been an influx this year of those starting or restarting Bible Drill as part of their children’s discipleship program. Beulah Baptist Church in Lynchburg began one this year because its leadership felt the need to better equip their children to know, understand, memorize, and apply God’s Word.
“The most important goal is to teach the children how to use their Bibles as a standard given by God to guide their lives,” says Teresa Russell, who leads the class. “If we accomplish that, we have met our goal, hopefully culminating in our children leading godly lives by glorifying the Lord in all they do.”
On Sunday nights at Beulah, 17 children (ages 4 to 11) gather around tables where each opens a profound treasure—the Holy Bible. They search with their own two hands to locate a particular book, story, passage, or verse and discover a message of love and truth from God. Older children read aloud while younger siblings learn, listen, and follow along. Within this room of young friends, the presence of the Lord is undeniable and something of eternal significance takes place—the learning of God’s Word, which will serve as a saving grace in the unknown ventures of their lives to come.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word… I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9, 11, ESV)
Weekly sword drills and Bible calls are used to help practice retention and increase speed, both of which are challenged at associational and state convention competitions.
First Baptist Church of Norfolk has been holding Bible drills for over 20 years. Under the direction of coordinator Vicki Blett, each year concludes with a drill competition in late spring. This year, Beulah Baptist will be joining them.
“Through the use of games, songs, drills, and Bible stories, God’s Word has never been more fun and more effective in building the church through the early discipleship of our youngest generation,” says Beulah volunteer Diane McGibbons.
Through Bible Drill, SBCV churches are helping solidify the faith of the next generation.