In the 1950s Youth for Christ was very active in the United States. One of its popular programs was Bible quizzing. Some of our Assemblies of God young people became involved in Bible quizzing in Youth for Christ.
However, there was a desire for a quizzing program more oriented to our Pentecostal persuasion and that would attract more Assemblies of God young people. As a result, districts within the Assemblies of God began Bible quizzing within the district. Each district chose its own book of the Bible for study, wrote its own questions, and set its own rules. Competition ended at the district level.
Owen Carr was district youth director for the state of Kansas 1953-1958. He pioneered Bible quizzing in that district and encouraged many young people to become involved. He could see the potential for this program, that it would impact a whole generation with the Word of God.
In 1962, Owen Carr became head of national youth ministries (then called National Christ’s Ambassadors Department). He discussed the possibility of bringing Bible quizzing to the national level, with competition beginning in each section of each district, then a district competition among those winners, then the districts in each geographical division of the Assemblies of God holding competition, and finally a national playoff.
The first national playoff was held at a National Youth Conference in Springfield, Missouri. Interest was high, and competition was animated.
In those years national youth ministries was in charge of the Saturday night service of the General Council. In 1963 the final playoff between the two top teams was held during the Saturday night service, before thousands of people. At one point an answer given by one of the quizzers was ruled incorrect. He challenged the ruling. Suspense was at a peak. You could have heard a pin drop, as thousands of people held their breath to see what the outcome of the challenge would be. Finally, a ruling was made. The quizzer was correct, and the quiz master was wrong. The place broke into applause. After that it seemed that, in the minds of the people in the audience, the competition was not between the two competing teams, but between both teams and that “mean old quiz master.”
In 1970 Owen Carr became pastor of The Stone Church of Chicagoland. Under the leadership of Youth Pastor Phil Waisanen, a Bible quizzing program was started. Phil served as coach. From the time that team entered competition until it won nationals, it was undefeated. (The only time it was ever beaten was in a practice season with the B-Team at The Stone Church.) First prize in those days was a trip to the Holy Land for the winning team. What a way to end the winning season.
Multiplied thousands of young people have been impacted by Bible quizzing. Many leaders in the local churches were grounded in the World of God by being involved in Bible quizzing. Many young people were led into full-time ministry and spiritually equipped for service by consuming large volumes of God’s Word. Some quizzers memorized whole books of the Bible. What a ready resource this amassed Bible knowledge has been for them in Christian service.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
Written September 3, 2001.