by Todd Papendick/ February 23, 2017
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on” (Hebrews 10:24, NIV).
Competition is a great motivator for kids in Junior Bible Quiz. However, as the culmination of another quiz season is rapidly approaching, we need to consider again how to motivate students to “Conquer the Cards.” The initial human reaction is to push more, work harder, and to stick with it longer. Jesus’ words for the church in Ephesus were, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance… Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!” (Revelation 2:2,4,5, NIV).
So what was that church missing that we can apply to our situation in JBQ?
Paul fills in the missing ingredients in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, “We remember before God our Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). What motivates our deeds? What prompts us to work hard? Why do we persevere? If we add faith, hope, and love to our deeds, effort, and perseverance, our children will attain the next level of the Bible Master Award.
The Faith Motivator
Faith is belief and complete trust in God. Our faith is not in the children, their parents, their intelligence, or their study habits. Our faith is in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. He took the curse of humanity onto himself on the cross so that we can enjoy His blessings. We can have confidence that He who began a good work in us (and our JBQ ministry) will carry it to completion. Have faith that His Spirit will supply (1) the creativity for you to set individual goals for each child, (2) the motivation for each child to strive for that goal, and (3) the ability to reach the goal. Combine faith in Him with your work, and you will attain your goal.
Perseverance Brings Hope
Perseverance produces character and character, hope (see Romans 5:4). Our endurance (perseverance) is linked to hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. This applies not only on a spiritual level but also on a human level when we set goals.
Jesus told the church in Ephesus that the key to their fall was the loss of their first love. What was their first love? It was God’s love for them. First John 4:10 states, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us…” (NIV). We cannot depend on our love in anything—whether vertically (toward God) or horizontally (toward people). Our dependence must be completely on His love, which He demonstrated by sending His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. His love compels us to have confidence in our work (1 John 4:17,18), to work harder (1 Thessalonians 1:3), and to honor each other (Romans 12:10).In our realization of His love for us, we can then channel His love to the children in JBQ. You will see more confidence, more effort, and more honor. Acknowledge the confidence, reward the effort, and reciprocate the honor. When the kids attain the goal, be sure to award their accomplishments. Try to do this publicly so these positive characteristics that you are rewarding permeate your JBQ ministry. “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV).