ALLEN—Three students from Allen and Alice received first place in individual events at Texas Baptists’ 2019 State Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament.
Riley Smith, a junior from First Baptist Church in Allen, took first place in high school Bible Drill. Caroline Kemp, a junior from First Baptist in Allen, placed first in Speakers’ Tournament. Kristen Aguirre, a freshman from West Main Baptist Church in Alice, won first place for Youth Bible Drill. Seventy-one students representing 26 Texas Baptist churches participated in the state finals.
‘Treasure God’s word in my heart’
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 also has participated in Bible Drill since 4th grade. In her speech, “Why I Exist,” she shared recent experiences at a summer camp where she learned about how she was created to glorify God.
‘To glorify God and not myself’
“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 taught her the importance of memorizing Scripture, she noted.
“This year, I started to memorize on my own, finding verses that were important to me,” she said. “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 First Baptist in Allen, has worked with both Kemp and Smith several years and witnessed great growth among the students.
‘Teaches lifelong lessons’
“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 five years. She not only enjoys how Bible Drill helps her learn God’s word, but also how it has 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, emphasized 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, N.C.
“We know personal Bible engagement contributes to growing disciples of Jesus. That’s why so many churches value Bible Drill and Speakers’ Tournament,” said David Adams, director of discipleship for Texas Baptists.