Shelby Kennedy

The Story Behind National Bible Bee

We are all given the opportunity to make an impact on others. Shelby Kennedy always said she wanted her life to be like a pebble that hits a pond creating a ripple effect. She wanted her love for God and His Word to impact those around her.

Shelby had an infectious gift of faith. She radiated joy, life and hope to those she met. She was energetic, fun-loving and enjoyed adventures, travel, making memories, children, friends and family. Along with her family, Shelby dedicated her time to bringing the gospel to impoverished people in Mexico and Haiti in spiritual as well as practical ways. She was as dedicated comforting a hurting child as she was hammering nails or painting a wall. She lived out the admonition: “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…You are serving the Lord Christ.”

On May 31, 2005 at the age of 23, Shelby went home to be with the Lord after an intense struggle with cancer. During the most debilitating time of her illness, what energy Shelby had was focused on proclaiming Jesus Christ. Her testimony of hope in the midst of a fiery trial inspired those around her.

Much of what kept Shelby’s joy in her last days was time spent studying the Word of God. Her life was the inspiration for the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, a nonprofit ministry that began National Bible Bee in 2009 with the mission to engage young people in the memorization and study of the Bible and provide opportunities to proclaim God’s Word through local, national and broadcast venues.

Though Shelby’s earthly life is over, the Word that she loved endures forever. It is the Foundation’s hope that the Word will dwell richly in the hearts of young people of this generation that it may transform generations to come.