JEFFERSON CITY—Children’s Bible Drill, formerly known as Sword Drill, has the potential to bring life change to boys and girls who stick with its proven method of memorization and recitation.
Jill Campbell, who coordinates the State Drill and serves as a local leader at Concord Baptist Church here, said she continues to be fascinated by the change that kicks in somewhere in the fourth and fifth grade, when a student finally understands what is required, trusts their learned skills, and executes the desired result. Seeing the many Bible verses come alive this way year after year within the souls of these children just thrills Campbell to no end.
“When a child comes in at the beginning of the year and maybe has very little Bible skills at all, maybe doesn’t even know the books of the Bible yet, the fourth grade year is the foundational year,” she said. “Even just their second year, the difference that it makes from September to April, how it progresses … every year, I always get into this panic thinking, ‘We’re not ever going to be in shape for the Drills, we’re not going to make it!’ And every time, they just astound me. They just pull it together at the very end, and they look sharp and they know their stuff, and it’s like, wow, God, You have brought them so far.”
Like many other areas of Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) life, Children’s Bible Drill is evolving away from more of a Baptist Building-driven approach to one where lay people like Campbell, a financial ministry assistant at Concord, are taking the lead through contract work. Sondi Scroggins, MBC childhood ministry specialist, continues to be a resource and an encouragement to the local leaders as they press on and try to create more awareness of the program.
Attendance at the State Bible Drill has fallen from 386 in 2003 to 197 in 2011, a trend that Scroggins and Campbell believe is about to change for the better. They have noticed in the last three years a more level number, with proven strength in southwest Missouri and potential to grow in other areas of the state. There also is a link to some of the larger churches in the state as hosts for State Drill events, places such as Concord, Ridgecrest Baptist in Springfield, Plaza Heights Baptist in Blue Springs, Miner Baptist in Sikeston, and First Baptist in St. Charles.
Awareness is a key part of the Missouri strategy. A video link on LifeWay known as www.lifeway.com/Article/Bible-drill-basics shows samples of the activity and will encourage more participation.
“They don’t even know what they’re missing,” Campbell said.
One of the purposes of Children’s Bible Drill is to learn how to apply the Bible to life. If a child participates all three years, he or she will learn 75 Bible verses, 30 key Bible passages, and the names and sequence of the 66 books of the Bible. Leaders like Campbell also make things interesting by use of games and activities along with a prize system.
A special kit that helps teachers get to know the ins and outs of Children’s Bible Drill is available under the name “Bible Skills, Drills & Thrills.” Campbell recommends that those who wish to start the program this year do so in September.
For more information or to schedule a time to learn more about Bible Drill, call Campbell at (573) 893-2876.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor