Take a look at the top-grossing films over the past 10 years, and it’s easy to see that superheroes are in high demand. But this past year, teens on Southeast Christian Church’s Bible Bowl team have been studying heroes of a different kind: ones who faced lions, braved a fiery furnace and challenged false prophets.
Study material for this year’s Bible Bowl was themed “Heroes of the Old Testament” and focused on the lives of several giants of the faith, including Joseph, David, Esther, Elijah and Elisha.
Bible Bowl is a quick-recall program that allows students to compete over their knowledge of a selected book or books of the Bible by answering questions on buzzers in 14-minute head-to-head team games.
In addition to studying these heroes of the past, Bible Bowlers were greatly influenced by the superheroes of the present: the coaches and sponsors who help make Bible Bowl possible.
Ben and Megan Kuhl are former Bible Bowlers who give back to the program they enjoyed as students. For the past 13 years, the Kuhls have led the Teen Bible Bowl program (for grades six through 12) at Southeast.
“The game motivates in a big way, and winning games is great fun,” Megan Kuhl said. “But the real benefit comes later in life as the Word comes back to these students when they need it most, to guide their lives and give them peace and hope.”
Another longtime Bible Bowler and team hero, Suellen Barnes, has served the program for 13 years as coach, quizmaster, chaperone, organizer and host of events. She has also encouraged all four of her own children to participate.
“The Lord commands us in Deuteronomy to teach our children His Word when we sit in the house, when we walk along the road, when we lie down at night and when we get up in the morning,” Barnes said. “Bible Bowl is a great opportunity to fulfill this command.”
Bible Bowl coach and sponsor April Daugherty has been involved in the program for seven years. Her three children have all played Bible Bowl, and now Colin (who graduated in 2019) manages technology and social media for the program.
“Bible Bowl is a fun, very effective way to instill God’s Truth in our students’ minds,” April Daugherty said. “They’ll also be able to share the truth of the Gospel with a lost world that desperately needs to hear it.”
This past June, Southeast took six teams to Johnson University in Kissimmee, Florida, to compete in the 55th National Bible Bowl Tournament. Southeast teams placed third, eighth and 12th.
Two students placed in the top 20 on the written test: Chloe Powell (fifth) and Chris Dowdy (20th), and two students placed in the top 10 in the Quote Bee: Chloe Powell (third) and Kali Knight (eighth).
Powell, who has participated in Bible Bowl for nine years, encourages others to check it out.
“I firmly believe that Bible Bowl is one of the most worthwhile programs you can invest your time and energy into,” she said. “I have developed lifelong friends, dramatically enhanced my memorization skills and, most importantly, hidden away thousands of Scripture verses in my heart.”
Knight, a two-year Bible Bowler whose parents also volunteer, appreciates the support she receives from her coach Katie Elliott.
“Mrs. Elliot has been super supportive of me in all my goals and pushed me to go beyond what I thought I could do,” Knight said. “It’s amazing to have someone like her in my life who devotes her time to me because she wants me to learn God’s Word.”
David Jackson, coach of the third-place team, has been coaching Bible Bowl for nine years and is passionate about teaching the Bible to young men and women.
“Bible Bowl is supposed to be a game, but it is really an excuse to learn God’s Word and develop life-long relationships while having fun and goofing off,” he said. “We learn God’s Word more than you ever thought possible, but we have a blast doing it.”
One of Jackson’s players, Nick Askew, recently graduated from high school and has participated in Bible Bowl for 10 years.
“All in all, the last two or three years were my favorite in all my 10 years of Bible Bowl, and coach Jackson is the reason why,” Askew said.
Another Bible Bowl superhero who can’t be overlooked is Bruce Jones, a volunteer for 18 years who, in addition to coaching a Teen Bible Bowl team, has revolutionized the Beginner Bible Bowl program as its director at Southeast.
Beginner Bible Bowl is designed for kids in second through fifth grade and has fewer verses and a shorter season. Jones has recently been designated a National Bible Bowl board member and has served the organization by designing a program and teaching it to prospective coaches to show how easy it is to get a Bible Bowl program up and running.
If you’d like to find out how to help your kids meet new friends, develop memorization and learning skills, and encounter honest, real-life heroes who will inspire them to learn God’s Word, check out Bible Bowl this fall.
To find out more about Beginner Bible Bowl, come to the introductory parent meeting Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:45 p.m. in WC 470 at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus. Or email Bruce Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Teen Bible Bowl, come to the first meeting for the 2019-20 season Monday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. in WC 473 at the Blankenbaker Campus. Or email Megan Kuhl at email@example.com. For more information on Teen Bible Bowl, visit www.seccbiblebowl.org.