If your church youth have a knack for Scripture memorization and Bible factoids, Charlotte’s first-ever Bible Bee competition wants to make them a winner for the Lord and for potential college scholarships.

Sponsored locally by the nonprofit group Urban Restoration, the Bible Bee competition is open to individuals and church groups representing ages 7-18. Students who win in the local competition will be eligible to participate in a two-day National Bible Bee Contest in Washington, D.C., later this year, where $260,000 in scholarships will be awarded.

“This is very similar to the Spelling Bee, but it’s the first time we’ve ever had a national Bible Bee,” said Colin Pinkney, the Qcity’s local event chairman and Urban Restoration executive director. “This is a significant opportunity for African American kids to receive scholarships based on their Bible knowledge.”

A local coordinating group will sponsor fundraiser rallies to ensure that each local child who competes receives something — certificates, coupons or gift certificates. The group also will recruit volunteers to help coordinate study sessions. Forest Hill Church is leading the volunteer recruitment drive.

“We would like for Bible group leaders to nominate kids who display a talent for Scripture memorization and Bible knowledge,” said Pinkney. “We really want as many different churches represented as possible.”

Pinkney noted that other local Bible Bee contests are being sponsored in the Matthews and Concord communities. Pinkney said he signed up to lead the Charlotte initiative because he felt that it was important that urban Charlotte be represented.

Students may enter in three age brackets: Senior age 15-18, Junior age 11-14 and Primary age 7-10. The event is being sponsored nationally by the California-based Shelby Kennedy Foundation. The foundation’s namesake, Shelby Kennedy, was a 23-year-old Christian who died from cancer in 2005.

The national group said the goal of the Bible Bee is to help youth experience genuine spiritual growth and become bold ambassadors for Christ, while also promoting Bible memorization and knowledge.

Pinkney is asking interested parents or church groups to call 704-391-0022, ext. 44, and leave a message including an email address. They will be sent a follow-up email with a registration I.D. number. A $20 fee is required for the first child in a family, with a decreasing amout for each additional participant.

The registration deadline is April 30, with the local competition set for September 12. The national Bible Bee will be held Nov. 5-6. To learn more, visit the national Bible Bee Website at www.biblebee.org.

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