What It Takes to Plan the World’s Largest Bible Competition

By Kelsey Ogletree, August 5, 2015

For Josiah Gorman, being hired as interim director, and then promoted to executive director, of the nationally renowned Bible Bowl wasn’t only a job; it was something he’d been subconsciously preparing for since he was a young boy. The now-25-year-old first became involved in the scripture competition in 1998 through his church as a fourth grader in Kansas City, participating for nine years until he reached the top level as a high school senior (he and his team won the championship in 2006). When he coincidentally moved to Cincinnati, the organization’s headquarters, to attend Cincinnati Christian University after graduation, he picked up a job taking care of odds and ends there a few hours a week.

“It meant the world to me,” Gorman says of working for Bible Bowl. Now he’s in charge of coordinating the annual national championship, which occurred June 23-26 this year in Cincinnati (though it rotates around the country each year). About 250 students and 70 teams met in hopes to follow in Gorman’s footsteps, earning the chance to compete for the title of national champion after making it through rigorous rounds of competition at the local and regional levels. Gorman reveals the rundown of the logistics now that he’s running the show; important lessons (and friends) he’s gained along the way; and what could be Bible Bowl’s biggest news ever: a game-changing contract with a major cable television network.

What exactly does the Bible Bowl national championship entail?

Our event runs over three days. On the first day, students register and take a 400-question written test in 75 minutes. There are two other competitions at the national event: a bee and the main tournament. We also have a banquet to honor the older students and host some activities for the kids. One year we did a three-on-three basketball tournament at the [NBA] Pacers’ [Bankers Life] Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. This year, we’re hosting a hangout at a local college with games and snacks.

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