Shelby Kennedy Foundation


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.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

Statement of Faith

  • We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God to man, the infallible, all-sufficient, final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (II Timothy 3:16)
  • We believe in one infinite, triune God: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. (John 1:1; Colossians 2:9; Acts 5:3, 4)
  • We believe Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Having lived without sin, He died and was resurrected in His own body for our atonement and resurrection. (John 1:1, 14; Matthew 1:23, 24; Hebrews 4:15; I Corinthians 15:1-4; John 2:19-21; Acts 26:23; I Corinthians 15:20, 23)
  • We believe in the bodily resurrection of all mankind: of the believer to an everlasting dwelling with God in heaven, of the nonbeliever to an everlasting separation from God in hell. (John 3:16-18; John 5:28-29)
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the believer, enables him/her to live a godly life. (Romans 8:13, 14; I Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18)
  • We believe in the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Core Values

1. Dependence on God

We believe that all things belong to God and that He rules over all, therefore, our sufficiency and strength are derived entirely from Him.

2. Humility

We seek to have the mind of Christ and to recognize our own poverty of spirit which compels us to treat others with respect and dignity.

3. Integrity

We believe that by trusting and following God’s wisdom and direction, not our own, our path will be made secure.

4. Passion For His Word

We are driven by the reality that the Word of God is more precious than gold and more satisfying and life-giving than water to a thirsty soul.

5. Gospel-Focused

We are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, proclaiming the message of salvation to a lost and dying world.

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.” – I Chronicles 29:11

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” – II Corinthians 3:5

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:3–8

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” – Proverbs 10:9

“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” – Proverbs 3:4–7

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” – Psalm 42:1

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” – Psalm 19:7–11

“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” – II Corinthians 5:18–19

Board of Directors

Dr. Michael Farris, Esq
Chairman of the Board

Tracy Baker

Debbi Kennedy

Dr. Jim Leininger

Cecelia Leininger

John Leininger

Greg Leininger

Gavino Perez

Ruth Perez

Ken Kennedy
Honorary Board Member

Interested in being part of the National Bible Bee?

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