Training qualified officials is often one of the most overlooked needs in having a successful Bible Quiz ministry. When neglected the entire ministry suffers. Each team should have two trained officials and a coach attending the quiz meets with them. Let's look at how we can accomplish that together.
Being an official is a rewarding ministry. Our goal is to encourage the teens in their study of God's Word. The teens love to have officials who are kind, impartial and fair.
The most obvious place to start is with family members of the quizzers. Parents, grandparents, even older/younger siblings.
Often overlooked are the elder members of your congregation. We have had a lot of success in asking some of our older members to join us at the quiz meets. They feel valued and are encouraged to see the positive things going on in teens' lives today.
Sunday School teachers are often willing to give a Saturday here and there to help with quiz meets.
We realize that youth pastors are often overworked but don't forget to include them. If they can make it to at least one meet per year it will help them to see the benefits of Bible Quiz and will bring added support to the kids and the ministry.
How to train officials?
The best place to start in training officials is with scorekeeping. It is a concept that can easily be shared in just 10-20 minutes and most people can do well with this. It is very hard to try to explain all the rules of TBQ to a new person unless they watch you during practice or attend a quiz meet.
Once a person has seen a practice or a quiz meet you can then begin to train them for the role of a judge. Encourage them to simply focus on the rules of what makes an answer correct and incorrect at first. If they are willing to join some of your practices then use your practice question sets as a time to explain how to rule in different situations. If attending practice is not an option we can often help a judge learn as they go as long as they have read the rules.
Our ultimate goal is to have our judges become quiz masters. I always let my new quizmasters know it is a role where you learn something new every meet and to not feel intimidated.
At all the league meets in Indiana we give 5 bonus points each round for each official that a team brings (max. 10). This has often determined the outcome of a match. This fact can often motivate the teens to "beat the bushes" in trying to find someone to help.
If a team does not bring officials it is understood that the coach will be required to fill the vacancy. This creates a hardship on the kids as they must then go through the quiz meet without the guidance of a coach. Sometimes it is easier to find a parent who is willing to follow the team and help as a coach before they would want to be an official.