But what I have since discovered is that - for some things – I simply didn’t know that I didn’t know.
Earlier this year, I invited subscribers to this blog to participate in a survey about their local Bible Quizzing ministry. As an amateur statistician, even I knew this would not be a scientific study and it would have a large margin of error. Of the estimated 3,000 Teen Bible Quizzers and Quiz Leaders in the U.S., my sampling method would only capture those Quizzers and Quiz Leaders who are subscribers of this blog.
“So, what is the margin of error?”, your inner geek asks. “16%”, my inner geek replies. But I wasn't necessarily looking for precision of values. Rather, I was looking for patterns of evidence.
Here are the results to the survey questions and how they either fundamentally changed or affirmed my assumptions:
In churches that participate in Teen Bible Quizzing, an average of 26% of the youth are Quizzers. Remarkably, this representation of Quizzers remained fairly consistent regardless the size of the youth group.
67% of the youth representation on their District Council are Teen Bible Quizzers
As stated earlier, I readily acknowledge that my survey sampling method was not scientific, but from my experience this higher-than-average representation of homeschoolers seems directionally correct. While the main motivation cited by NCES for homeschooling is "a concern about the school environment", the next most common reason is "a desire to provide a religious or moral instruction". So, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that these parents are more favorably predisposed to enrolling their teens in Teen Bible Quizzing.
Armed with this intel, I see a definite opportunity for NPH or some other publisher to provide a quality home-school curriculum that coincides with each season’s scripture.
- 53% Layperson (parent of a current quizzer)
- 20% Layperson (not a parent of a current or former quizzer)
- 10% Layperson (parent of a former quizzer)
- 8% Youth Pastor (could also be a parent of a quizzer)
- 6% Pastor or Pastor’s wife (could also be a parent of a quizzer)
- 3% Layperson (grandparent of a current or former quizzer)
The data from this question provided the biggest “a-ha” moment for me. I thought I knew who would be all-in and seek to use Bible Quizzing as a ministry tool to lead their youth into a lifelong relationship with Jesus. For years I have been spending a significant amount of time during the off-season trying to ignite Teen Bible Quiz programs at non-participating churches on my District. Now I realize the reason for my low response rate is likely because I have been targeting the wrong audience. I have been sending letters, designing bulletins and flyers, writing emails, and delivering impassioned speeches to youth pastors and pastors. While they all believe in the value of this ministry, very few of them are willing or have the time to lead it. Instead, I will now be focusing my efforts to engage the parents of the teens I meet at District events. Especially the parents of homeschooled teens.
The next most popular form of practice questions are those printed using a subscription to Set Maker on the youthquiz.com web site. Here is the full list:
Despite having the scripture available to them at all times on their devices, one reason teens prefer the book form is the ability to customize it to aid in their study habits. Many quizzers highlight or underline unique, double, and triple words with different colors. Some make notes in the margins of key passages. For others, the lists in the appendix provide them with a distinct edge in their desire to master the material.
Recommended 97% of the time is a study resource designed to provide insight and application of the scripture – a daily devotional book. This is encouraging as it indicates a desire to first know the content of the scripture and then to understand it better. The full Top 5 list is as follows:
When this survey was given, no such product existed (to my knowledge) for the NIV 2011 version of the Quiz material. However, at the Nazarene General Assembly in June 2017, Jingle Seeds debuted this exact item. For those advanced According To quizzers, this will be a great resource.
Coming in at only 79% is a deck of Key Word flash cards. Since no product like this can be purchased, students make their own. They do so by putting the unique, double, or triple word on the front and the associated verse(s) on the back. The full Bottom 5 list is:
- Last year 30% of our regular youth were in Quizzing (survey said 26%)
- I am a layperson parent of a current quizzer (agrees with the most popular survey answer)
- 75% of my quizzers are homeschooled (survey said 67%)
- For practice questions, 50% of my quizzers primarily used the NPH app, 25% used Set Maker, 25% wrote their own (survey said 31% app, 25% Set Maker, 13% wrote their own)
- Study Material actually used:
- 100% used the Scripture Portion and Concordance (recommended by 100% in survey)
- 100% used official NPH Practice Questions (recommended by 97% in survey)
- 50% used Review activities (recommended by 79% in survey)
- 25% used Scripture audio (recommended by 97% in survey)
All in all, I’d say we were the typical Quiz program. How does yours compare?