DALLAS—Three students received first place in individual events at the 2019 Texas Baptists State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament. Riley Smith, a junior from First Baptist Church of Allen, took first place in High School Bible Drill; Caroline Kemp, a junior from FBC Allen, took first place in Speakers’ Tournament; and Kristen Aguirre, a freshman from West Main Baptist Church in Alice, won first place for Youth Bible Drill.
The tournament was hosted at FBC Allen on Saturday, May 4. At the state finals, a total of 71 students participated including 28 youth, 23 high schoolers, and 20 speakers, representing 26 Texas Baptists churches.
Smith, a homeschooled student, has been involved in Bible Drill since 4th grade. One of the best components of Bible Drill for Smith is the emphasis on knowing and memorizing Scripture.
“I have a love for God’s word and want to learn more, always wanting to treasure God’s word in my heart, like Psalm 119 describes,” Smith said.
Kemp attends Allen High school and has also participated in Bible Drill since 4th grade. In her speech entitled, “Why I Exist,” she shared recent experiences at a summer camp where she learned about how she was created to glorify God.
“A lot of my life, I’ve been seeking to glorify myself and try to impress people,” Kemp said. “Over the summer, it dawned on me that my purpose is to glorify God and not myself. As I tried to change, I realized how incapable I am of doing that apart from Him."
“Bible Drill has given me not only a respect for the Word, but knowing that the Bible is important and we are supposed to memorize it,” Kemp continued. “This year, I started to memorize on my own, finding verses that were important to me. As I’ve grown older, those verses have meant more to me and really helped me in my walk with God.”
Pam Davis, Youth Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament coordinator for FBC Allen, has worked with both Kemp and Smith for several years and witnessed great growth among the students.
“What’s more exciting to me than seeing Riley and Caroline succeed is seeing how it’s changed their character,” she said. “This ministry helps mold the character of students and teaches them lifelong lessons.”
Aguirre, a freshman at Alice High School, has been involved in Bible Drill for five years. She enjoys how Bible Drill helps her learn God’s word and has also allowed her to build a strong connection with her fellow Bible Drill participants at her church.
“Through Bible Drill, you learn how to spread God’s word with others,” she said.
Her Bible Drill leader, Wanda McDaniel, shared about Aguirre’s commitment to the program and dedication to learning Scripture.
“Kristen stands out in the group,” said McDaniel. “She sees the good in everything.”
Kemp, Smith and Aguirre will compete at the National Invitational Tournament for Bible Drill and Speakers’ June 13-14 at Parkwood Baptist Church in Concord, NC.
While only three can represent Texas Baptists at the national event, they are representative of hundreds of Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament participants across the state. David Adams, director of Discipleship for Texas Baptists, said, “We know personal Bible engagement contributes to growing disciples of Jesus. That’s why so many churches value Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament.”
If you are interested in starting Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament in your church, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.