3 Benefits of writing an essay

For some, writing an essay can be a fun and creative process. For others, it can be a challenge and sometimes intimidating. However, writing an essay can often also be beneficial.

This fall, Georgia Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers, Inc. is holding an essay contest that offers 3 benefits:

The first benefit is that of spiritual growth. Students who participate in the contest will engage with the topic and scripture as they develop their essay. This provides an opportunity for students to grow spiritually as they examine their beliefs. Churches, ministries, schools, and families can use this essay contest as a discipleship mentoring process for high school and college students. Mentors are encouraged to engage students through intentional conversation related to the topic. Students can be guided to examine God’s Word prayerfully as they begin to write. An added bonus is for students to discover that writing can be an avenue to share their faith with others.

The second benefit is the development of writing skills. Through the process of this essay contest, students can develop their writing skills. Parents, mentors and teachers can assist students in setting intentional goals in the development of their essay by guiding them in the development of an outline, a first draft, and final draft. An offer by a teacher or a mentor to proof their essay can be valuable in this process. Feedback students receive help students grow as writers.

The third benefit is a college scholarship. The winners of our High School and College Essay Contests each receive a $500 college scholarship to use at the school of their choice. For more information regarding our Essay Contests, visit our essay webpage using this link: Essay Contests


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10 Tips for Kicking off a New Year of Bible Drill

Here are 10 tips to for kicking off a new year of Bible Drill:

  • Determine when and where you will meet. Be creative and flexible. You can meet on Wednesday or Sunday nights at church, Thursday afternoon in a homeschool group, or with a group of friends during the week at your house!
  • Plan a fun kick-off event to get kids and students excited about Bible Drill. Include some fun Bible Skill games as well as an overview/introduction of Bible Drill. Door prizes and food are always a big hit. Consider including parents (for Children’s Bible Drill).
  • Choose your translation (ESV, KJV, or CSB) if you are beginning your first year of Bible Drill.
  • Download Bible Drill cards in the translation of your choice from our website: https://bibledrillandspeakers.com
  • Download our administrative materials including our New Children’s Bible Drill Leader’s GuideOur handout on how to have a winning year in Bible Drill, and scoresheet. We also have similar administrative resources on our Youth and High School pages.
  • Create a Bible Drill calendar or checklist for the school year. List out all the dates related to Bible Drill: Bible Drill kick-off/parent meeting, dates you will have class, dates you will take a break (due to holidays, fall festival, etc.), Christmas party, special practices/activities, and dates of the Church, Associational, Regional and State Drills as well as which verse(s) you will be teaching each night. We’ve created a checklist for each age group that you can fill in your dates. Children, Youth, and High School.
  • Order Children’s Bible Drill Resources from https://www.lifeway.com/en/product-family/bible-skills-drills-thrills or contact Georgia Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers, Inc (maria@bibledrillandspeakers.com) for Youth Bible Drill Resources.  
  • Utilize new resources this year in teaching Bible Drill: (1) Family Bible Drill Devotions for Children’s Bible Drill – Alabama Baptist Bible Drill (2) Use the Verse Ring cards from North Carolina featured on our Children, Youth, and High School pages. These are Bible Study flash cards about the size of a baseball card. Choose your age group and translation, then download and print out on white card stock. This is a great printable to have your drillers cut out and use to review verses. They can be used whenever and however you meet.
  • Keep connected with Georgia Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers, Inc and other Bible Drill leaders by subscribing to our website/blog and/or by joining our Facebook group. By entering your email on our website, it will allow you to receive our latest Bible Drill updates by email. Joining our Facebook group is a great way to connect with other Bible Drill leaders in the state.
  • Be flexible in how you do Bible Drill this year. Having a schedule with the flexibility to meet people where they are will allow us to engage more kids and students in discipleship and hiding God’s Word in their hearts. Download our free ebook that shares strategies for Bible Drill to take place at home, online, at church, or outdoors

I hope you have a fun year as you help kids and students develop a love for God’s Word and to memorize scripture! We’d love to hear what you have planned for your year in Bible Drill!

What Bible Drill Means to Me

Each year we recognize Bible Drillers at the 3, 6, and 9 year milestones of participating at the Regional Level of Bible Drill. By the time students complete their 9th year of Bible Drill, in addition to learning Bible Skills, they have memorized 359 verses plus learned where 30 Key Passages of Scripture are located. At our State Drill this year, we asked two 9-year drillers (Will Bowick, FBC Monroe and Mary Carol Kletcke, FBC Cochran) to share what Bible Drill meant to them and/or how it helped them grow spiritually and their favorite Bible Drill verse.

These High School Students shared the following comments with us:

  • It’s a great way to learn scripture and have fun.
  • I just wanted to keep doing it (Bible Drill) over and over again.
  • These scriptures will stick with me the rest of my life.
  • I am going to miss it.

As I thought over their comments about their 9-year discipleship journey through Bible Drill, I asked myself, how many of us could view our last 9 years the same way?

  • Are we learning scripture?
  • Are we enjoying our time with God’s word (having fun)?
  • Do we want to go back to God’s word over and over?
  • Are we abiding in God’s word in such a way that His Word is with us throughout our lives?
  • Do we miss it when we are not spending time in His Word?

What does Bible Drill mean to you? To your church as part of a discipleship journey?

Congratulations to our 2021 Nationals Winners!

Our 2021 National Invitational Youth and High School Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament was held Friday, June 18th at Dallas Baptist University in Texas. Leala Hutchens, our 2021 State Youth Bible Drill Winner from FBC Cochran, received a perfect score award and tied for 2nd place in the National Youth Bible Drill.

Andrew Wisely (FBC Dallas, Southern Baptist of Texas Convention) won 1st place in Youth Bible Drill. Lillian Felton (FBC, Dallas, Southern Baptist of Texas Convention) won 1st place in High School Bible Drill. Jonathan Perkins (Prestonwood Baptist Church, Southern Baptist of Texas Convention) won 1st place in the Speakers Tournament.

Congratulations to all the State Winners who were a part of the 2021 National Tournament! Georgia will be hosting the 2022 National Youth and High School Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament.

Congratulations to our 2021 State Bible Drill Winners!

Our 2021 State Youth and High School Bible Drill was held on Saturday, May 8th at FBC Cochran. To qualify for the State Youth/High School Drill, drillers had to score 270 points or higher at the Regional Drill. In addition to memorizing the books of the Bible in order and being able to locate books and verses in 8 seconds, Youth Drillers learned 30 verses and our High Schoolers memorized 68 verses including Exodus 20:3-17 (The Ten Commandments).

Leala Hutchens was the State Youth Bible Drill Winner and Rose Reardin was the Youth Bible Drill 2nd place Winner. Both drillers received Perfect Score Awards. Leala and Rose are students are from FBC Cochran.

NenaBeth Mickle was the State High School Winner and MaryCarol Kletcke was the 2nd place Winner. Both drillers received Perfect Score Awards. NenaBeth and MaryCarol are also from FBC Cochran. As the 2021 High School Bible Drill Winner, NenaBeth received the Waldo and Sarah Woodcock $500 College Scholarship.

Congratulations to Jordan Sanvidge (FBC Jackson) and Rachel Frantz (FBC Garden City) for also receiving the Perfect Score Award.

Leala and NenaBeth will be representing Georgia at the 2021 National Invitational Tournament for Bible Drill and Speakers June 17-18 at Dallas Baptist University in Texas.

Teaching Bible Skills to the Next Generation

I will never forget a VBS teacher coming to me several years ago, shocked that the kids in her 4th grade class (most of who with their families were regular attenders of our church) could not locate passages of scripture in their Bibles. She said, “Maria, I had to stop what we were doing in class and teach these kids how to find a book, then a chapter and the verse!” As a parent and a Kids Minister, I feel it is a priority for kids to learn Bible Skills, especially how to locate Bible Books and passages of scripture. This year we are excited to offer an opportunity for Children and Students to develop their Bible Skills through locating Books of the Bible and Scripture passages.

* 2021 Children’s Bible Skills Exhibition – We will offer a Bible Skills Exhibition for 3rd-6th graders at our Regional Bible Drill Locations. This Bible Skills Exhibition includes Book and Scripture Searching Drills only. There will be 12 Book Calls and 12 Scripture Searching Calls. Children will have 10 seconds to locate the book or scripture passage. References for the Scripture Searching Drill will be taken from the current Bible Drill card. Children may qualify for the State Exhibition by receiving a score of 16 or higher at their church level. Children will receive a certificate. This is great for kids who are beginning to learn Bible Skills, new or potential drillers or for churches who were not able to resume their Bible Drill program in 2020-2021 due to COVID. 


2021 Bible Skill Exhibition for Students. – We will offer a Bible Skills Exhibition for 6th-12th graders at our Regional Bible Drill locations. This Bible Skills Exhibition includes Books and Scripture Searching Drills only. There will be 12 Book Calls (2 points each) and 12 Scripture Searching Calls (3 points each). A perfect score would be 180 points (60 from each judge). A Bonus point will be awarded to the driller who steps out first in 8 seconds on each call. Students may qualify for the Exhibition by receiving a score of 135 at their church level. Drillers who participate in the Regional Bible Skills Exhibition will receive a certificate. This is a great option for new or potential Youth Bible Drillers or for churches who were not able to resume their Bible Drill program in 2020-2021 due to Covid. Note that there is no State Level for the Bible Skills Exhibition for students.

For dates and locations, click here

For more information and to register, click here


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2021 Student Speakers Update

In 2021, Student Speakers may qualify for the State Speakers Competition by speaking at one of our in-person Regional Competitions. The top two speakers from each region will represent their region at the State Competition. Speakers have the option of advancing directly to the Regional Speakers Competition from their Church Competition. However, if your Association is offering a Bible Drill/Speakers Competition, it is a great opportunity for you to speak and to get feedback from the judges.

If a speaker is in quarantine or is unable to attend their Regional Speakers Competition due to Covid, their leader may send a request to maria@bibledrillandspeakers.com to participate via video submission. If two winners have already been announced for their Regional Competition, their speech video will be entered into the State at Large category for videos and the top two video scorers will advance to the State Competition. The deadline to submit these videos is April 26.

Due to covid concerns and the work that speakers put into a speech to compete for the college scholarships, it is recommended that they record a video of their speech before Regionals in that event that a video submission is needed. Our recommendation is that this video be recorded at your church at least two weeks prior to your Regional Competition

Dates for Regional Student Speakers Competitions:

April 13 – Tom’s Creek Baptist Church, Martin, GA (NE GA)

April 15 – FBC Douglas (South GA)

April 19 – FBC Lawrenceville (East Metro)

April 20 – FBC Cochran (Middle GA)

April 25 – FBC Douglasville (West Metro)

April 26 – Cassville Baptist Church (NW GA)

Registration is now open on our website. Register by clicking this link: Speakers

2021 Youth Bible and High School Bible Drill Update

In 2021, qualifying Youth and High School Bible Drillers can drill in person at one of the Regional Locations to qualify for the State Drill. This year, churches may choose to participate in an Associational Drill (if it is offered by your association) or they have the option of letting drillers advance directly from their church drill if their score qualifies them as an Associational Winner. Youth and High School Drillers must have a score of 225.

A leader may submit a request by email to maria@bibledrillandspeakers.com for a driller to qualify for the State Drill via video submission if the driller is in quarantine due to covid. This video drill must be submitted to our office by April 27.

Below are the dates and locations for Regional Drills:

April 13 – Tom’s Creek Baptist Church, Martin, GA (NE GA)

April 15 – FBC Douglas (South GA)

April 19 – FBC Lawrenceville (East Metro)

April 20 – FBC Cochran (Middle GA)

April 25 – FBC Douglasville (West Metro)

April 26 – Cassville Baptist Church (NW GA)

*New* 2021 Bible Skill Exhibition for 7th-9th graders – We will offer a Bible Skills Exhibition for 7th-9th graders at our Regional locations. This Bible Skills Exhibition includes Books and Scripture Searching Drills only. There would be 12 Book Calls (2 points each) and 12 Scripture Searching Calls (3 points each). A perfect score would be 180 points (60 from each judge). A Bonus point will be awarded to the driller who steps out first in 8 seconds on each call. Students may qualify for the Exhibition by Receiving a score of 135 at their church. Drillers who participate in the Regional Bible Skills Exhibition will receive a certificate. This is a great option for new or potential Youth Bible Drillers or for churches who were not able to resume their Bible Drill program in 2020-2021 due to Covid. Note that there is no State Level for the Bible Skills Exhibition for 7th-9th graders.

We are offering this new Bible Skills Exhibition option in 2021 in addition to our Traditional Youth Bible Drill because we recognize our churches are in various states of reopening. Some churches are on schedule with their Bible Drill programs while many others are “behind schedule” or were unable to begin their Bible Drill program this year.

Registration is now open on our website. You can register by clicking this link: Registration

Churches who have donated at the Member Level ($250 or more) for the school year of 2020-2021 will receive a 50% discount on their registration fees. Churches donating by March 31st will receive their discounted registration link by email.

2021 Children’s Bible Drill Update

In 2021, children will have the option to participate in Bible Drill in two ways and will have a new Bible Skills opportunity:

  1. Traditional, in-person State Drills in April – In 2021, churches may choose to participate in an Associational Drill (if it is offered in your Association) or they have the option of letting drillers advance to the State Drill directly from their church drill if their score qualifies them as an Associational Winner (a score of 16 or higher). In person State Drills are offered on the following dates:

April 13 – Tom’s Creek Baptist Church, Martin, GA (NE GA)

April 15 – FBC Douglas (South GA)

April 19 – FBC Lawrenceville (East Metro)

April 20 – FBC Cochran (Middle GA)

April 25 – FBC Douglasville (West Metro)

April 26 – Cassville Baptist Church (NW GA)

2. A State Drill at their local church/homeschool group – If a church/group chooses to do the Children’s State Drill locally, they will have until July 31st to register, hold the drill, and send us the results. Upon registration, churches will be asked to list the date of their “State Drill.” The state call sheet will be emailed to them 2- 3 days before their “State Drill.”

Children drilling at our in-person State Drills in April and those who participate in a State Drill at the local level will both receive their State certificates, ribbons, and 3-year awards.

3. *New* – 2021 Children’s Bible Skills Exhibition – We will offer a Bible Skills Exhibition for 3rd-6th graders at our Regional Locations. This Bible Skills Exhibition includes Book and Scripture Searching Drills only. There will be 12 Book Calls and 12 Scripture Searching Calls. Children will have 10 seconds to locate the book or scripture passage. References for the Scripture Searching Drill will be taken from Bible Drill cards. (6 from the current cycle card and 3 each from the other two cycles.) Children will receive a certificate. It is great for new or potential drillers or for churches who were not able to resume their Bible Drill program in 2020-2021 due to COVID.

We are offering these three options for 2021 because we recognize our churches are in various states of reopening. Some churches are on schedule with their Bible Drill programs while many others are “behind schedule” or were unable to begin their Bible Drill program this year.

Registration is now open. You can register by clicking this link: Register

Churches who have donated at the Member Level ($250 or more) for the school year of 2020-2021 will receive a 50% discount on their registration fees. Churches donating by March 31st will receive their discounted registration link by email.

This is the first post of three posts regarding 2021 Bible Drill and Speakers Competition. Our post next week will be about Youth/High School Bible Drill.

5 steps for developing a Speech

My good friend and Georgia Baptist Bible Drill and Speakers, Inc. team member, Karen North, recently wrote this article including 5 steps for helping students develop a speech for our Student Speakers Competition. Karen has worked with Student Speakers on the church, associational, and state level and is the mother of 4 Student Speakers State Winners.


“Who, me? Give a speech?”  “I could never get up in front of people.”  “I’m just a teenager – no one will listen to me.” Those may be some of the first thoughts that cross your mind when someone mentions Students Speakers Competition. If they are, you’re in good company. In Exodus 4:10, Moses told the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Paul addressed the issue of whether a young person could be an effective witness when he told Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity,” 1 Timothy 4:12. Just as Moses and Timothy went on to do great things for the Lord when they spoke up, Student Speakers Competition can be a way you as a young person can be a positive influence on others by sharing your story and how God has worked in your life.  

     “So, I’ve decided to try Speakers Competition. What now?” While the thought of writing, memorizing, and presenting a speech can be daunting, the best way to approach it is to take one step at a time: pray, plan, prepare, practice, and present.  
 
     First, pray about what God would have you to share – just as when you read God’s Word or do any work for the Lord, you should start out by praying about Speakers Competition.  Ask the Lord to guide you as you select a topic, organize your thoughts, write, and present your speech. Seek His guidance and ask Him to bring to mind things in your life where He has worked that might be an encouragement or serve as a lesson to those who will hear your speech.  

     Next, plan your speech. One of the simplest formulas for writing a paper/speech is “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” Try to find a good story or experience to open with to grab the audience’s attention, give them a topic sentence that shares the important point you’d like them to learn, then develop that point in the main part of the speech. Wrap up your speech by summarizing what you have shared and close with a sentence that challenges them to think and maybe follow through on what you have shared.  Organize your thoughts in a logical sequence to help the reader/audience to grasp the point you are trying to get across and help them retain what you have shared.  Try to make it personal by using your experiences as examples.

         Use resources to help guide your writing. The best resource to start with is the Georgia Student Speakers Guide which can be downloaded at https://bibledrillandspeakers.com/student-speakers-competition/. This guide not only has information about the levels of competition, but it has valuable information about writing your speech, delivering your speech, and understanding what the judges are looking for in your written speech as well as your delivery.  Suggested topics can also be found on the webpage. Also, gather a variety of resources that pertain to your chosen topic. Using sources in addition to the Bible is a good idea. Try to find a good story or experience to open with to grab the audience’s attention. 

     Prepare your speech by writing, revising, and having others proofread and make suggestions. Rarely is the first draft ever sufficient. Enlist the help of several adults to read and critique your speech. Suggestions of people to ask to review your speech are your pastor, English teacher, one of the senior adults in the church, or a Sunday School teacher. Having a variety of people to read your speech helps get input from a wider audience with differing viewpoints. Once you have a final draft, read it aloud to make sure sentences which may flow well on paper also flow well off your tongue.  

     Practice, practice, practice! Work not only on memorizing your speech, but on internalizing it – making it your own. Practice natural movements, looking at all areas of the audience, using meaningful hand gestures, and appropriate speed and tone of voice as well as appropriate pauses. Practice in front of a mirror. Have someone video you and then review the video to see what ways you can improve. Ask to be able to present the speech in different classes in your church, such as Sunday School classes, youth meetings, etc. See if there are opportunities to speak at neighboring churches. The more you practice, the more natural your speaking becomes.  

     Present your speech with confidence, knowing that you are sharing God’s story in your life. No matter the outcome of the competition, you have given voice to the message God gave you share. As the Student Speakers Guide says, “It’s about making a greater difference in the world, both now and for the rest of your life.”