At First Christian Church in Smithville, TX, reading the Bible is a central focus. For nearly 25 years, FCC Smithville, led by Pastor David Huegel, has shared a “Bible Olympics” program with all kinds of churches – from neighboring Houston-area Disciples, to ecumenical partners in other states, and now, the world.
In Jan. 2018, Rev. Huegel took his Bible Olympics curriculum to Costa Rica, at the invitation of Iglesia Mana in Coronado. This event was centered on the book of Luke, which Huegel prefers to use at a church’s first Olympics because of its “simpler storytelling” structure.
As with all Bible Olympics competitions, Huegel led the participants through four events: creating a timeline of important events as a team, answering Jeopardy-style individual questions, writing and performing a skit about the scripture, and answering individual questions about specific passages in a final lighting round.
This trip to Costa Rica was the second international edition of the Bible Olympics – Huegel traveled to Chile to host an event last year, while his sister was working there for Global Ministries.
Stateside, Huegel has brought the program to a variety of Christian churches, leading games in both Spanish and English.
Although he grew up in a Disciples family in Mexico, Huegel had had no experience with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada until after he graduated from seminary. In the years since his American ministry began, he as interacted with Disciples churches in a variety of cultures.
He sees the Bible Olympics as a program that can bring diverse kinds of churches together. Debating specific theological interpretations of Scripture, Huegel says “just isn’t as productive as having people come to the Bible on their own.”
When people are given a framework about what to believe and what not to believe in the Bible, there’s no room to grow, he says. “When you give people the Bible and allow them to come up with their own questions about it, that’s very different. You’re letting the Holy Spirit touch them through those questions.”
“I believe in this day and age, in this country, we can’t hear each other. We need a conversation partner that’s not just in one group or another, because the Bible isn’t this or that, in terms of our modern categories. Instead, when Jesus comes and speaks to us, everyone should be free to be challenged, accompanied, and understood.”
You can learn more about Bible Olympics, and how to host your own event, from FCC Smithville’s website.