SWBTS General 2

Bible Drill yields spiritual benefits for children, parents

SBTC to offer training at EQUIP

July 20th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

HOUSTON—Blood flowed after a car door smashed into the head of a fourth grade boy whose mother panicked until the youngster spoke up, quoting Psalm 56:3, a verse he had learned at Bible Drill practice at Midland’s Fannin Terrace Baptist Church: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

The episode is one of several recalled by Claudia Tomlinson, long-time Bible Drill sponsor at Fannin Terrace, who said the Southern Baptist competition encourages discipline, humility, friendship and even family togetherness in memorizing Scripture.

Doug Lamb, Tomlinson’s pastor, affirmed that Bible Drill gives children confidence in handling the Bible and challenges parents to become more familiar with Scripture as well.

“[Bible Drill] helps implant into the soul the seed of God’s Word as they move through life,” Lamb told the TEXAN.

Veteran Sunday school teacher Pat Elam of La Junta Baptist Church in Springtown echoed Lamb’s sentiments, calling Bible Drill “fun” and a way for kids to “know their Bibles” and “plant God’s Word in their hearts.”

The Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament have long been staples of Southern Baptist churches, with associations and state conventions holding annual competitions. Children in grades 4-6 participate in Children’s Bible Drill. Students in grades 7-9 take part in Youth Drill, while older teens, grades 10-12, compete in the High School Drill and Speakers’ Tournament.

During Bible Drill competition, a caller issues a command and students have seconds to locate chapter and verse in their Bibles as well as quoting Scripture from memory. In the Speakers’ Tournament, students prepare and deliver four- to six-minute talks on assigned topics.

Youth and high school competitors can advance to state and national competitions.

Daniel Engstrom, who sponsors Bible Drill with his wife, Terri, at Arlington’s Tate Springs Baptist Church, described it as “a way to memorize Scripture and to also have a little fun competition,” adding that “competition is a very small part” and that the benefits come from the students learning God’s Word.

Sharon Reitzammer of North Oaks Baptist Church in Spring was tapped by her pastor to lead Bible Drill in 1989 and was later recruited to direct the program for the South Texas Baptist Association. Her students have advanced multiple times to state competitions and twice to nationals.

As Reitzammer initially explored Bible Drill, she realized its impact would be both “present and future” for children, something she said has proven true for nearly 30 years.

The SBTC has sponsored Bible Drill competition since 2002 and awards college scholarships to first, second and third place state finishers in the youth, high school and speakers’ competitions.

Emily Smith, SBTC associate for women’s and children’s ministries, serves on the Bible Drill’s National Invitational Tournament procedural team. The 2017 national tourney was held in Brunswick, Georgia, June 15-16.

Bible Drill’s importance cannot be overstated, Smith said.

“We see the value and life skills that Bible Drill/Speakers Tournament provides for children and youth,” she said. “This is why we are dedicated to providing training and a quality program for [them] to compete at the regional, state and national levels.”

To assist churches in starting Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament programs, the SBTC will offer training at the EQUIP conference Aug. 12 at Champion Forest Baptist Church, Smith said.

Veteran coach Marcia Wood, who has 24 years of experience in Bible Drill, will lead the EQUIP training.

“My goal is to share [my] passion,” Wood said, adding that not only will she provide “a glimpse” of the program and how to implement it in a church, but she hopes to impart “the vision of how having children and youth memorizing God’s Word will be a blessing to the entire body of Christ.”

Wood’s own children benefited greatly from the competition, she said. “My shy, soft-spoken fourth grader learned to be confident in front of a group. My son continues to memorize Scripture, taking a leadership role in his church.”

For competitors, Wood emphasized, “They will never look back and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t spent time learning God’s Word.’ That just won’t happen. God’s Word is alive, and it lives in us.”

Rickey Wilson of Arlington’s Cornerstone Baptist Church has coordinated a successful Bible Drill and Speakers Tournament program with his wife, Joyce, for the past eight years. Wilson’s children, now grown, participated even before that.

“God’s Word is the foundation of our faith,” Wilson said, adding, “If they don’t have God’s Word in them, they pretty much don’t have a fighting chance in the world. … They will either choose God’s Word or the word of the world.”

For more information on Bible Drill training at EQUIP, visit sbtexas.com/equip.

SBTC Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament 2018


  • April 6-7 at First Baptist Church, Odessa, and Spring Baptist Church, Spring
  • April 20-21 at First Baptist Church, Euless

State Finals

  • April 28 at the SBTC offices in Grapevine