The only thing missing from the Brainerd Assemblies of God Church Wednesday night was game show host Alex Trebek as youths practiced for their upcoming Junior Bible Quiz competition.
The "Jeopardy!" style quiz game tests knowledge of Bible verses and concepts.
Assemblies of God's team members in the experienced division are Santiago and Roddy Continenza, Christie Johnson and Jayme Doucette.
The team recently placed third in the state competition, and is now headed for the regional meet where they will face teams from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan.
Proudly showing off the silver medal he received at last week's state meet, the team's star player, Santiago Continenza, placed second in the state individual competition.
Santiago and Roddy Continenza agree the best part of JBQ is "Learning God's word," they said simultaneously.
JBQ is a national program, involving about 10,000 first through sixth-grade students across the country. All of the students are given the same sets of questions to study and memorize.
The questions are given to the children in advance, and those same questions are asked during a competition. The Quizmaster serves as the game's host, asking questions of the children. Questions are worth 10, 20 or 30 points depending on level of difficulty.
A 10-point question, for example, would be, "How many books are in the Bible?" while a 30-point question would ask participants to recite, word for word, a Bible verse.
Two teams of two to eight children compete against each other. Competitors are from a variety of denominations, including Assembly of God, Southern Baptist and United Methodist.
Of the 103 JBQ teams in Minnesota this year, Brainerd's team often competes against Little Falls, Princeton, Staples and Casino Assemblies of God teams.
"They just love the competition of it," Carmen Continenza said of her two sons in JBQ. "This is a very competitive program."
Armed with buzzers that light up indicating which player rang in first, Brainerd's Assemblies of God team knew most of the answers before the Quizmaster finished reading the questions.
Pat Nelson, JBQ coordinator and fourth-grade teacher at Harrison School, said students are expected to study JBQ questions about two hours per week.
"Junior Bible Quiz is a wonderful program to involve children in, allowing them to study God's word," Nelson said.
The team will be practicing weekly in preparation for the May 8-10 regional competition in Bloomington.
By, the way, there are 66 books in the Bible.
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