Doctoral student tackles Bible drill
OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (BP)--Competing in the youth Bible drill at Tulip Grove Baptist Church were three seventh-graders, one-eighth grader and a doctoral candidate.
Tulip Grove's participants included minister to students Alec Cort, who has been practicing every Sunday since Jan. 7 alongside the seventh- and eighth-graders.
Pam Reasonover, who led Bible drill practices on Sunday afternoons at the Old Hickory, Tenn., congregation with Rosie McClurkan, was impressed that Cort accepted the challenge. For 25 years, she has taught the importance of Bible drill and Scripture memorization, but Cort, 34, is the only adult who has stepped up to participate.
"I never extended an invitation to Alec. It was his idea to participate," Reasonover said, adding, "I let him participate in the church drill, but he's not going on to the associational drill" sponsored by the Nashville Baptist Association.
Cort, who plans to graduate with a doctorate in philosophy and education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in December, was joined in the Bible drill by seventh-graders Timothy Wier, Phillip Lundy and Daniel Mathis and eighth-grader Andrew Sepulveda.
"I'm impressed when teachers do as they say -- like actions," Reasonover said of Cort, who joined Tulip Grove's staff in 1999. "I'm impressed with a minister who will get in there with the youth and study. It's hard.
"Alec is setting an example that Bible drill is important. He is practicing what he is preaching. He also sings in the youth choir. He's 100 percent, because he is doing it.
"This is the first year that we've had all guys in the Bible drill," Reasonover continued. "Sometimes guys think it's not cool to be a part of Bible drill as they get older. Last year, it was all girls in the drill."
Cort said his first reason for participating was to lead by example to get more of the church's 80 students involved in Bible drill. "I'm there to pave the way for kids who might be intimidated and to inspire them to come," he said.
His second reason for joining the March 25 competition was "personal accountability" to memorize Scripture. "I am slack on memorizing Scripture," he admitted. "It is now a measure of accountability for me to become knowledgeable of Scriptures. It's a discipleship of sorts.
"My research in youth ministry has shown that the majority of students are not studying Scriptures," Cort said. "I support the Bible drill program, and I think it will help them."
Cort, who placed second in the Tulip Grove drill, had a perfect score and stepped out first three times to recite a memory verse.
Marcia Knox is a writer for the Baptist & Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.