The National Bible Bee (NBB) summer study host program provides a great opportunity for adults to invest in the lives of young people by encouraging them as they study and memorize God’s Word. Hosts partner with the NBB to equip participants to study Scripture by providing support, answering questions, and encouraging participants. In 2022 there were 237 hosts from 41 states. Let’s hear from three hosts about what inspired them to host.
Sheri George has been hosting a National Bible Bee summer study group in Missouri since 2018. Here’s Sheri, explaining why she started hosting, and why she continues to do so.
“I originally heard about the National Bible Bee years before looking into it. Later, I looked into it because my son was looking at a summer full of farm work but not much else, and he wanted to be mentally challenged. I remembered hearing about the NBB, so I searched online and found there was still time to sign up. There were no host groups anywhere near us or in the city we are closest to, so I ordered the materials just for my son and he did the whole study alone that first year. Most of us (the rest of the family) were not involved… yet. After our first year attending the National Bible Bee Competition in 2017, we were amazed at what we saw and we were hooked! On the drive home, my son asked, ‘Mom, would you be a host next year?’ And how could I say no?
Hosting for the National Bible Bee has been a great blessing as we have met people we would have never met if not for the summer study. Few people from our own church are involved in our group, but so many families from other churches have joined our group and our friendship with these families that is built on the foundation of God’s Word is amazing. I’ve heard one young girl in our summer study say to her mom, “Mom, you have to talk to the other parents! We can’t let these meetings end just because summer study is over. These are our people!”
That statement alone made hosting a huge blessing for me. I am so little on my own, but God used my small amount of ability to make something wonderful.
I have heard so many testimonies from our summer study group participants that it is hard to choose just one to share. This year, we had a participant who was not saved. By the end of the summer study, he wanted to be “redeemed” he said, and he gave himself over to the Lord and was baptized the day after our Proclaim Day event. What a joy!
Hosting has definitely challenged me to study longer and harder than I would have without the summer study and NBBC, and in doing so, I have more of God’s word hidden in my heart. Because of the National Bible Bee, I have now memorized whole chapters of the Bible – something I never thought I was able to do. But God has shown me that no matter my age and no matter how busy life is, anyone can memorize scripture. It is impossible to completely meditate on God’s word if it is not memorized – at least for me. There are too many distractions in the world. But as I memorize scripture I ask questions about it and I dig deeper than I would have without the summer study challenging me to do so.
There is so much joy in hosting, I think I leave each meeting feeling more blessed than the participants. I’ve seen how the National Bible Bee has impacted so many lives and have seen the work in my family’s life as well. The Word of God is so powerful that I will continue to host as long as I am able!”
Rachel Johnson has been hosting a summer study group in Ohio since 2017 (although she took a year off to help in an unofficial capacity). Here’s what Rachel has to say about her journey as a host.
“I heard about the National Bible Bee through a Teach Them Diligently conference that I attended in Spring of 2016. Some of the children there recited large portions of Scripture and I was very impressed by that. In 2016, we participated in the NBB summer study for the first time. We were alone, other than knowing that my sister was also doing it with her children. Due to some learning disabilities in our family, the Discovery Journal was quite an academic stretch for us, as well as learning the inductive Bible study method. We almost quit part way throughout the summer, but by God’s grace we finished, thinking that we would never spend the summer doing that again. Thankfully, God had other plans! My daughter Sarah wanted to take the qualifying test just to see what it was like. She qualified! Needless to say, traveling to Texas for Nationals was not something we had planned to do. Our church helped support us financially and we were able to go. It was amazing! I still get goosebumps and am very emotional when I think about walking into that huge auditorium filled with all those families who love God’s Word. One of my children gasped and said, “You mean there are other people like us?” It was a life-changing moment for us. I immediately called my sister and told her, “We HAVE to do this again next summer! I understand now what the National Bible Bee is and how impactful this could be to our families.” The next summer we decided to co-host a summer study group. Year after year, as more and more families have been impacted through the NBB, God has grown our group, both in numbers and in the strength of our bonds of affection.
The National Bible Bee is one of the best tools I have found for immersing families in God’s word. Once people are in God’s Word, lives are changed! I have seen participants (including some of my own children) come to salvation through this time of study. We can never assume that children (or even parents!) from “Christian” homes are saved. I see my job as host as an evangelistic outreach. I have watched my own family, as well as many others be sanctified through this time spent studying and memorizing. That motivates me to put this tool in as many families’ hands as possible so they can be changed too! I’m humbled year after year that God would allow an insignificant, sinful housewife like me to be part of His kingdom-building work in this way, and it’s hard to balance my personal life with the demands of serving as a host. My summers are crazy busy, but hosting is absolutely worth it! It is so rewarding seeing lives changed.
Even if your group is struggling and you don’t see a lot of growth or people finishing the program, remember that you are planting seeds and may never know the impact that you had! Don’t give up or be discouraged. God sees your work and it is a sacrifice of love for Him!”
Laura Craig also hails from Ohio and has hosted since 2016. Here’s why she has continued to host each year for the past 7 years.
“We learned about the National Bible Bee from several families we know, and I have been a host since the first year our children participated because there was no one in our area who did NBB. We actually did not participate in the National Bible Bee when we first heard about it because we were already memorizing as a family per my husband’s guidance, so Bible memorization has always been a part of our family culture. After watching the National Bible Bee Competition online one year our older girls became even more motivated to memorize. I liked what I saw in the contestants: encouraging others, excitement about God’s Word, a desire to live for Him, and joy in life and friendship. The NBBC was not just about winning a competition but about encouragement, excellence, relationships, and proclaiming the Scripture that was in those children’s hearts and lives. I was amazed and wanted all that for my family. We jumped in the next year ready to go and since there was no host near us, hosting seemed natural.
Hosting is an amazing way for adults to mentor children, but even more than that (at least for our group) is that my husband and I have the opportunity to mentor these younger Christian families as a whole, teaching them how to teach their children to learn, know, and love God’s word in a fun, exciting, and stretching environment. It has allowed me to reach into the lives of believing families and spur them on in their study of the Word. Our families have grown in confidence, in knowledge, and in public speaking. What an honor to witness these young children grow and mature as they learn to speak up and speak out about God. Sometimes families begin the summer totally on board but then lose interest as other activities take over their time and effort. But even in that I have been able to encourage them to just do a little more than before. Every verse they memorize and every passage they study brings more of God’s Word into their hearts and lives. God presents us with excellence in Scripture, so excellence is a goal to seek after, but helping people step-by-step to learn to seek excellence is very important. There should not be shame or discouragement in learning God’s word. Each step is just as important as winning senior finals. It’s ALL God’s Word. We will not all attain earthly prizes but we can all attain the eternal treasure God offers us through His Word.”
These hosts are from different areas, and their groups are very different, but the one thing they all have in common is a desire to encourage and support young people as they study and memorize God’s Word. If that is a desire the Lord has placed on your heart, being a host for the National Bible Bee is a great way to do that.
Hosts sign up and receive access to all NBB summer study materials including discovery journals, memory passage cards. There is also an online host community on the NBB social community where hosts can share testimonies, ask questions, share tips and advice, and offer support and encouragement. Register to be a host today!
Written by NBB Alumna: Janese Hurst