How Will You Handle the Hot Seat?

JBQ Quizzing at Its Best


by Todd Papendick/ March 29, 2017

It’s game time—match on the line. Are you ready? Your actions and reactions during a JBQ quiz match will determine the stability of your quizzers and their ability to quiz under pressure. Just as water flows from a sponge that is being squeezed, your true character will be exposed in the crucible of competition. How can you prepare your mind and your spirit for those pressure situations? Here are a few tips I’ve found to be helpful:

  1. To alleviate pressure, it is important to prepare yourself and your team mentally. You must decide if JBQ competition is about points or training children. If children are the priority, decisions will be easier to make because the scoreboard will not influence the decision. However, if you are focused on wins and losses, you will increase stress and anxiety. Also, too much emphasis on points could lead down the slippery slope of situational ethics. When childrenand their parentsknow that points are secondary to character development, everyone will be more relaxed during a quiz meet.
  2. Another simple preparatory step that will decrease pressure is to have your quizzers learn the questions and answers exactly as written. By doing this, any response given by your team will not be subject to the officials’ judgment. But don’t think it is only the quizzers who need to study. Your assignment is to read the JBQ Guidelines at least three times during the week of any JBQ quiz meet. As a coach, you need to know the JBQ Guidelines as well as the quizzers know the JBQ material. When you are confident in your knowledge of the rules, you can relax during the quiz match. Again, your focus can be on the children rather than the officials or the situation.
  3. Finally, prepare your spirit for competition. In Romans 7:14-25, Paul says if we rely on ourselves and our own effort and intellect, then we usually end up doing the things we do not want to do. And the things we want to do usually end up undone. We must commit our ministry to Jesus. Allow His Spirit to lead us as we lead our team. Who does the Holy Spirit glorify? Jesus. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are a new creation in Christ. Your mission is to glorify Jesus. Are you setting the example to glorify Jesus in every situation? Then comes the words, “This match is officially open.” You have prepared yourself and your team, but now is the time of testing.
  4. To diminish stress during quizzing, follow these three guidelines:
  • Keep calm. Getting agitated will only cause more problems as you will not be able to think clearly. Your quizzers need a solid foundation upon which to lean. Not everything will go their way during quizzing, and they need stability and reliability.
  • Be honestly encouraging. You need to be positive but realistic in every situation. Your quizzers will not respond well to negative condemnation or unrealistic expectations. Be real and stay positive.
  • Do it right. You have set the parameters for building character while quizzing. Do not deviate from what you know is right. Humble yourself to admit when you are wrong and compassionately hold firm when you are right. Always forgive in any situation and move on. It is never good to make a big deal out of a situation even if it might have cost you a match. By following this guidance, your team will be able to relax and quiz properly.

You are the leader of your team. You need to think, act, and react as the servant-leader you should be. John tells us: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal … and began to wash his disciples’ feet ….” (John 13:3-5, NIV).

You are in Christ. You know who you are and where you are going. When you make Jesus the focus and serve the children entrusted to you, the pressure will dissipate, and you will be filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.