Sectioning Off Passages

The hate mail slowed this week, but I still have people thinking that I am attempting to trash Matt West. So Matt said to post the following in my next article: “Charles ‘George’ Lindsay has penned a well-written article that has tremendous merit and I am considering packaging his series and giving it to all new FQA program coaches. I appreciate the support, but please let Charles continue to write his series on coaching and leading programs, so he can benefit those coming to this website.”
When undertaking a new team, there is nothing more intimidating than looking at the 694 verses in Corinthians and your five new enthused quizzers and deciding how they will ever learn it all. A math major says that is about 139 verses for each of 5 quizzers. On the other hand, a Psychology major will tell you that you should find each person’s potential and give each quizzer a section exactly equivalent to his overall percentage of total ability. Finally, a drill sergeant would say that all five should memorize the whole thing. Obviously, there are variations of each (like everyone must memorize either the first half or the second half, they should all try to learn it all, etc.).

As opposed to the hard facts that I normally quote, I believe the closest to correct is the Psychology major. While I don’t think the statistics involved in figuring out sections should be quite so intricate, I do believe that each student has a unique capability that neither of the other two recognize. Some students just don’t have the mental capacity to learn 700, or even 300, verses. I don’t believe that we should tell these students that Bible Quiz is not for them. Football and Basketball Coaches do that all the time, and I find that to be troubling. When I was in school the kids who got cut from the basketball team were always give the option of being a manager, scorekeeper, or something else. I thought this was great. Now, their contribution was different, but it still helped and it still allowed them to cultivate a love of sports.

With Bible Quiz, it is even more egregious. In Bible Quiz, even a student who does not help the team in any way is benefited by the everlasting lift of memorizing Scripture. They have hidden the Word of God in their hearts and I think that is excellent. This is why leagues, like the FQA that Matt West has grown, are so vital. They allow quizzers who would not be a factor in a huge tournament to participate and contribute in some way. In the days of one event a year, only the best got to contribute. Even in the PQA, which I believe to be the best league around in almost every way, a student who is not a “star” quizzer rarely is able to contribute. Not being allowed to pass answers and the season-long striving to go 10-0 and have the most points really hamper these fringe contributors.

Now, even a quizzer who is greatly benefited from Bible Quiz can bring down a lot of other people. I have heard examples where this is the case. So, I think there is certainly a time where Economics dictates that the greater good is to let someone go, but I think that is by far the exception. I think sometimes quizzers, particularly myself and some of my friends that write for, get so involved with winning and losing that we lose sight of what it is we are really striving for–to encourage students to get in the Word of God every day. Some tournament officials believe that it needs to be a segregated tournament. Many denominations have their own quizzing leagues. But, I believe that something that allows anyone willing to memorize God’s word is the ideal for which we strive.

Recently, I was talking with a coach from a perennial Florida powerhouse. He told me that he noticed that he had three students this year that had capability of learning almost all of the material. What he has done is allowed those three to among them learn every chapter twice. Most of his students are capable of learning an equal fifth of the material, so he has them working in sets of five to learn the whole thing together. Finally, he has those who can barely eek out a chapter every month or so. These he has jumping on some of the weaker chapters of others for support. I think that is perfect. He has challenged every quizzer on his team and he has organized it so that all can contribute. I see great things coming from that team this year.

I only wish that every coach used as much common sense and inclusion when working with those who want to participate in Bible Quiz. Tune in next Tuesday, when I write the 4th article of this series on what makes a great quizzer and how a coach can cultivate that.

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