THE PATHFINDER BIBLE EXPERIENCE
27th August 2017
‘The teaching of the Bible should have our freshest thought, our best methods, and our most earnest effort.’ For effective study to take place, children need to be deeply interested, excited and fully engaged. That just about summarises The Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), that most Scottish Mission Pathfinder Clubs are warming-up to.
PBE is a team based challenge that tests the group of Pathfinder's knowledge of sections of scripture. Each year a new block of scripture is assigned by the North American Division (NAD) based coordinators. Excited Pathfinders, in teams of six each, commit to immersing themselves in learning, understanding and memorising various passages of the Bible. There are four levels of competition for us in the Scottish Mission: Area, Mission, Union, and Division. At each level, the teams scoring 90% or higher of the highest score at their testing site make 1st place and are invited to go on to the next level.
As stated in the PBE Manual, the official guide and rule book for all levels of PBE play, the entire concept of PBE ‘was developed to help Pathfinders and young people meditate and reflect on what the Bible says and how it applies to their lives. It features ideas for application to help Pathfinders use what they study and apply it to their daily experience at home, school and church.’ 
Starting off with an intense Bible Bowl competition on the book of Judges at our Scottish Mission Pathfinder and Adventurer Camporee two years ago, our new focus, practiced at this summer’s Camporee saw Adventurers and Pathfinders compete against a standard as opposed to against each other. That means, all those achieving a score of 90% or more, win or advance to the next stage. So while only the winning unit was whisked to a ‘5 Star treatment’ by uncle Bernie, the former SM President, at ‘The Newstead’ 2 years ago, all those achieving a score of 90% or more were guaranteed special treats and a night in one of the comfy Aberdaron Adventist Campsite cabins at our recent Camporee in Wales.
In between the two Camporees, our Pathfinders joined the South England Conference (SEC) run PBE 2017. Paisley Pathfinder Club where the Scottish Mission representatives at the Union level finals held at Stanborough Park Church in England early this year. Paisley Club did very well to achieve third place for their first time participating. At those finals, eight teams from the UK got more than 90% and flew to Chicago to the NAD for the General Conference finals where, once again, all eight gained first place. The standard of the British finalists is evidently very high, so much that one club achieved an astounding perfect score.
Early signs of exploring PBE are that, when properly planned and run, it is highly addictive, contagious and deeply exhilarating. Practising and meeting together adds adrenaline that stirs participants on to higher levels of recollecting particularly since any and all can advance based solely on their efforts.
As witnessed by the Pathfinder Clubs currently running it, PBE is a key resource to revolutionise the spiritual lives of Pathfinders, families and entire churches. The winning teams are comprised of not only eager Bible students who in most cases memorise chapters and entire book(s) but also churches incorporating the Total Church Involvement approach. While they each have study coaches they also involve the church leadership and other members of the local church to help with things like sample tests and friendly competition within the church and where possible, the home too.
In preparing to teach God’s word to children, God instructs parents, ‘Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.’ PBE creates a platform for living out such scriptural guidelines.
Furthermore, we have counsels that state, ‘In order to interest our children in the Bible, we ourselves must be interested in it. To awaken in them a love for its study, we must love it. Our instruction to them will have only the weight of influence given it by our own example and spirit.’
As Scottish Mission Pathfinder and Adventurer sponsors, we are incredibly excited and amazed with how, through the Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE), the Lord is and can lead our Pathfinders deep into the Bible. Our Mission Pathfinders can dig deeper and go beyond the reading and memorising. They can practice authentic biblical living as they experience the transforming power of the Bible to restore us into God’s image. We commend this programme to our Pathfinder Clubs. Clubs will need to start preparing as soon as possible.
In bringing PBE to the Scottish Mission, we are very grateful for the support received from our Pathfinder Advisory consisting of all club leaders, their churches and the Mission leadership. We are also grateful for the practical assistance given by Pastor Kevin Johns, SEC Pathfinder Director and Marcia John whose vast experience shown when she joined us at our recent Camporee in Wales. Thanks to Stanborough Park Church PBE coach Yetunde Bright for spending some time to help prepare Paisley Club for the PBE 2017 Union finals. The enthusiasm and support shown by Pastor Dejan Stojkovic, the BUC Youth Ministries Director has also been a source of much needed encouragement to run the PBE.
The 2018 testing season for PBE will be over the books of Daniel and Esther. Both books cover the post-exile time period with various themes in common. Also included will be the SDA Bible Commentary Introduction for both Daniel and Esther. The following are the PBE suggested testing dates (both dates and relevant venues for SM are yet to be confirmed): Area Level: February 3 (Area 1: Aberdeen, Crieff, Dundee and Musselburgh. Area 2: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley).
Mission Level: March 3
Union Level: March 24
Division Level in Orlando, Florida: April 20-21.
PBE 2017 Union Finals: Stanborough Park Church
 EGW, Education, p. 186.
 Deuteronomy 6:6,7, The Message Bible.
 EGW, Education, p. 187.