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To stir enthusiasm for Bible memory, he faced a Larry-the-Cucumber fate

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (BP)–Words to one of the VeggieTales “silly songs” sung by Larry the Cucumber keep running through my head.
Perhaps it’s because the videotape has been played incessantly at my house by our 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. More likely, it’s because I now can identify, appearance-wise, with Larry the Cucumber.
One may wonder how I got myself into this fix, but those who know me best aren’t really surprised.
It all began last September.
My wife, Michelle, who is a minister to children, was seeking a way to instill more knowledge about the Bible in the children of Earle Street Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C., beyond that taught during the Sunday school hour. Last year, I experimented with the Children’s Bible Drill curriculum in a Royal Ambassador group I led, and Michelle asked about expanding the program. She then enlisted the Girls in Action leader, Jana Payne, to serve as co-teacher.
For six months, the group averaged about seven and was progressing through the material well. But as drill time approached, some understandably grew apprehensive about appearing before the entire church — not to mention an association. After all, none of them had even seen a real drill. They would be the first at Earle Street in more than 25 years.
In March, we let them decide if they wanted to participate in a church drill. Two girls agreed to “go for it.” There was still a lot of memory work remaining, and some extra incentive seemed appropriate. “If we are willing to go before the church and association, what would you be willing to do?” they coaxed.
I pondered the possibilities. “OK,” I offered, “I’ll shave my mustache and beard.”
But, no. I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I added, “And, if you make it all the way to the state drill, I’ll _______” (Let’s just say I’ll favor my dad more than ever).
Sydney Hammond and Lyndsey Jones set to work. On April 7, they breezed through the church drill, qualifying for Greenville Baptist Association’s drill that weekend — where I appeared clean-shaven.
Both scored high marks at the association drill and advanced to the state level. Pastor Jim Wooten called for a “day of reckoning” during a Wednesday devotional on “Speaking Before Thinking.” Out came the shears. The father of one of the girls did the “whacking,” as my wife winced in horror. The girls finished the deed later.
Since that night, I’ve had to put up with people wanting to “rub my head for luck” and a barrage of “cutting remarks” — “Can I use your head to clean the tub” or “I’m washing the car and I need something to scrub my tires.”
But would I do it again? Most definitely.
Two girls gained a new love for God’s Word, and others have said they are eager to get involved in Bible drills next year.
As Michelle aptly put it in a prayer at the church drill: “May this not have been about repeating verses from their heads, but about hiding God’s Word in their hearts … that they may be able to call upon these words throughout life.”