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In just two weeks, 360 participants from across the nation will gather together in Covington, KY to participate in the National Bible Bee Competition (NBBC). If you’re one of these contestants or are a family member of one of these contestants, there’s no doubt that you are eagerly anticipating this day. However, many of you, and especially those of you who are first-year contestants, are likely feeling a bit anxious about the logistics of the competition itself. What will NBBC be like? How will it work? Will it add to all the stress I’m already feeling? Hopefully, this post can help assuage some of those anxieties and put you at ease regarding NBBC 2021.

While contestants in previous years took an online Multiple Choice Test to determine entry into semi-finals, this year that test will be taken at home prior to the competition on November 10th so that time can be allotted to more fun and fellowship instead. There won’t be any competition on Wednesday, so use that time to enjoy yourself and meet new people. Fellowship is a huge part of NBB, so step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to the other contestants, introduce yourself to alumni and learn from them, or ask someone you already know to involve you in any activities that are going on.

On Wednesday afternoon, all the contestants will compete in a series of fun games, so use that time to acquaint yourself with new people. Even if you’re coming to NBBC already knowing many people there, find people you haven’t met before and reach out to them. You could both make a new friend and encourage someone who needs it. While the temptation may be for many of you to study every spare moment you have, make sure you’re intentional about setting aside time to engage with the community at NBBC as well; many of these friendships are not only encouraging but can end up lasting a lifetime.

Preliminary oral rounds begin on Thursday morning and run until the afternoon. Many contestants, including myself when I was a contestant, view this as the most stressful part of the competition. It’s easy to become lost in thought and anxious about everything that could go wrong in orals, but I would encourage you to put all those fears aside, and continually remind yourself why you’re there to recite. Make your recitations about glorifying God rather than furthering your own career. Enjoy the opportunity to proclaim God’s Word to people.

Oftentimes while waiting, participants will take time to pray and encourage one another before each enters the oral room one by one. I would encourage you to do this with your group to help center yourself before you begin reciting. When you enter the oral room, you will stand with your back turned away from the audience directly facing the judges. If it helps, you can close your eyes to help tune out any distractions. I’ve found this strategy effective in helping me put all my focus on reciting the passages.

After orals, there is no more competition unless you make Semi-Finals. If you make it, then praise God for the opportunity to proclaim His Word to even more people! If you don’t make it, praise God for that too, and enjoy the extra time you’ll have to meet new people and fellowship with other like-minded believers. If you’d like to learn more and view the full schedule for NBBC, refer to the family handbook on the dashboard. And remember, if you find yourself lost or confused at any point during the competition, the Alumni Service Team will always be around to help you with anything you need. I will see you there!

Written by NBB Alumnus: Dylan George