logoThe Layman's Bible

A potpourri of ideas and helps for the Sunday school teacher or youth leader

Train up a child in the way he should go...Prov. 22:6a


Contests can be both fun for the student and informative for the teacher. Some work out best as individual afforts, others are geared towards team work. Be sure to have appropriate awards for the winners. Small 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons work well. You could put their names on a poster and hang it on the wall, recognition in their newsletter would be an attactive incentive. For a big contest you might even consider a small plaque.

Here is a PDF file for a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place ribbon. They can be cut out and presented to your students for winning a contest, Sword Drill, etc. Also you can find lots of ribbons and blank award certificates on the internet.

Award Ribbons


5-5-5 Contest
Goes for 5 weeks, each week have a Sword Drill using 5 verses about the lesson, at the end name the 5 top contestants.


All Saints Treasure Hunt
Every week during the month of October put up a new list of questions in the Sunday school room. The answer to each question will be a saint from the Bible. There may be more then one question about the same saint.

The object is to “find” as many saints as possible.
Decide if you want them to work individually or divide up into pairs.
Encourage them to use just their Bibles and not to ask for outside help.
All answer sheets should be turned in to you at a set time each week. Or you could just have them turned in at the end of the month.
Award the top contenders.

Here is are links to the PDF files for each set of clues.

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5

Link to the PDF file with the answers.


Points Contest
You can set this one up to fit your particular class and situation.
Make up a chart and give 1 point each for any completed activity or task that you assign.

     Being there on time
     Reading so many chapters each week
     Inviting someone to the class
     Memorizing a new verse each week

Mystery Contest
For this contest you will have 4 mysteries and each mystery will have 4 clues. The clues should get a little easier each week. On the bulletin board or a wall have columns labeled Mystery 1, Mystery 2, etc. Under each mystery place the first week's clues- one for each mystery. Your class will have until next week's class time to guess the clues. They receive 4 points for each correct answer the first week.

The second week post the next 4 clues- one for each mystery. Again they have a week to come up with the answers. This time they would get 3 points for each correct answer.

Here is an example: Tom guessed Mysteries 1 and 3 correctly the first week. He received 8 points- 4 for each mystery. The next week he was able to figure out Mystery 4, so that week he received 3 points. Finally on week 4 he got the answer to Mystery 2 so he received 1 point for that one. So Tom's total score would be 12 points.

Here are some rules you might want to post:

Work on your own. No outside help.
You may use your concordance, computer, etc. just do not ask anyone for the answer.
One guess per week. Your answer must be turned in by the beginning of next week's class.
You will receive 4 points per clue that you guess right the 1st week, 3 points per clue the 2nd week, 2 points per clue the 3rd week and  1 point per clue the 4th week.

Here are links to the mystery clues that I used. Again, remember to use clues that are in keeping with the age and knowledge level of your group.
Another option would be to just use one set of clues at a time. You could use one each month. Put clue 1 up the first Sunday, clue 2 the next Sunday, etc. At the end of the month you could post beside each clue who answered correctly.

Mystery 1-- Clues 1 & 2 | Mystery 1-- Clues 3 & 4
          Mystery 2-- Clues 1 & 2 | Mystery 2-- Clues 3 & 4
          Mystery 3-- Clues 1 & 2 | Mystery 3-- Clues 3 & 4
          Mystery 4-- Clues 1 & 2 | Mystery 4-- Clues 3 & 4

Answers: Mystery 1- the disciple John
              Mystery 2- Bethlehem
              Mystery 3- Noah's ark
              Mystery 4- Elijah

Here is a PDF file with all the Mystery clues on one sheet


Race Contest
This contest will take a little more effort on your part but it generates a lot of enthusiasm.

Preparation: First, cut out a number of squares and curves out of 8 ½ X 11 inch paper for your race track. Tape these up on one of the walls of your room. Be sure to leave a tiny bit of space between each section of track so the students can see their progress. The length of your track will depend on how long you want to run your contest. I found that several small “heats” worked better than one long race. Be sure to post the winners of each race on the wall somewhere also. First, second and third place ribbons placed beside their names added to the excitement.

Here is a list of Bible verses related to racing; they can be placed around the room.
       1 Corinthians 9:24
       Galatians 5:7
       Philippians 3:14
       Hebrews 12:1
       2 Timothy 4:7

Clipart for trucks and cars abound so you can probably come up with a different vehicle for each student. Be sure to print or write their name on each one.
You can also be creative here. After a few races, my class decided they wanted animals instead of cars. So then we had a cage at the starting point and the students tried to see who could escape the farthest.

You will have to put some thought into preparing your questions. They will need to be on the same general level of knowledge as your students. Have two or three questions on each piece of paper.  Pass them out at the end of class and the students must turn them back in by the beginning of the next class time. The first question should be fairly easy, the second one a little harder and the third should really make them dig.

They can only answer one question on each sheet. If they answer question 1 then their vehicle moves one square; if they answer question 2 then they move two squares and answering question 3 moves their vehicle three squares. If they answered incorrectly they stay where they are.
An alternative is to have two questions and a bonus question. If they answer one of the regular questions correctly then they are allowed to try to answer the bonus question. The bonus question can be worth an extra two or three squares.

Here are the rules (you can copy and paste this into your word processor, enlarge it and post it somewhere on the wall):

Rules for Race Contest

 Work by yourself, cannot ask anyone for the answer.

Cannot use computer, internet or electronic device (to be fair for everyone).

You may use any physical paper Bible.

Can only answer one question on each set, if you answer more than 1 it will be disqualified.

You have one week to answer the question, it must be turned when you come into class.

You must answer 1 of the regular questions correctly before you can answer the bonus question. (This is only if you are using bonus questions)

Race Contest Questions


Paper Sack Contest
This is an interesting contest with lots of variety. Have the questions sheets prepared ahead of time and placed in a paper sack. Situate the sack by the door where each student can reach in and pull out a sheet on their way in.

They must answer as many questions as they can during class time and then turn the paper in to you on their way out. For this contest they are not allowed to use their Bibles or ask for help; they must rely on the Bible knowledge in their heads.

An interesting twist to this contest is that not all the questions relate to the Bible. They can pick up points if they are able to fulfill the requirements of the other questions. If you use the question sets I have here there will be 4 different question sheets each week so not everyone will be doing the same sheet.

Rules for the contest:

Reach into the bag on the way into Sunday school class

Must answer the questions during class, and deposit in basket on the way out

If you cannot answer any question just throw the paper away

There are four questions on each paper, just do what you can

Some questions will be related to the Bible, some will not

Be sure to put your name on the paper

All Bible questions are 3 points

Answer the Bible questions and mark the other ones if you get points for the thing required

Will post who is ahead on the board each week

Here are PDF files of the question sheets that I used. Please note that some questions may not be relative to your situation. You can copy & paste into your word processor and make changes as necessary.

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4
Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8


Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4
Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8


A Sword Drill is an excellent way to bring in other verses about the lesson and it is more interesting when the student takes part instead of you just reading the verse.



Teachers touch the future.