What to Do While You Wait


This week, my speech and debate club is going to be hosting a tournament. We will have over 120 students coming into Little Rock from four other states. Filling up a local school campus (which is out for Spring Break) will be competitors, coaches, parents, siblings, staff, and more. And that’s not even to mention community judges! (Have you ever tried to recruit community judges? It’s harder than it seems! Anyway, that’s a side note. Back on topic.)

During the tournament, the students will engage in speaking, debating, eating, fraternizing, and maybe sleeping (if they can find the time).

But there is one other activity necessary to all tournaments that all competitors despise: waiting outside competition rooms.

Don’t you wish we can eliminate waiting from tournaments? It would be so much more fun if you did not have to wait for 30 minutes before you gave your Persuasive, or for 45 minutes before your Apologetics round.

Unfortunately, it seems that waiting is here to stay. But what you do while you wait? You can stare at the wall, sigh endlessly, psych yourself up (or psych yourself out), talk with friends, or play a game on your favorite electronic device.

But why don’t you use that time productively? After all, I’m sure you have not covered every single Apologetics topic yet. What better time to fill in those holes in your box than sitting outside your Apologetics room!

Moreover, there are probably some other Apologists sitting around waiting too. Enlist their help! More than likely, some of them have the card you need—or at least have thought about the topic. At Nationals one year, I found myself sitting next to several National Finalists. You can bet I asked their help! (And if another competitor had asked for my help after I became a national finalist, I gladly would have given it to them. I was asked for help a lot with debate, but I don’t know if I ever was with Apologetics.)

I’ve written some pretty good cards sitting outside of Apologetics rooms. If I had some time before it’s my turn, I would whip out my box (technically boxes—yep, I had two) and see what cards I needed to address.

Here is an example of a card that I wrote once on the front and back of a single index card. I edited it a little bit when I eventually typed it up, but the card immediately below is fundamentally the same as the original pen and paper draft.


Analyze and respond to the statement, “I don’t need to go to church. I can worship God wherever I am.” –Anonymous

  • Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens….” (Nature)
  • 1. Analyze (What is this statement saying?)
    • 1. I can commune with God on my own.
      • There is nothing separating God and man.
    • 2. I don’t need to attend church.
      • “Lone Ranger” Christian
    • 3. There are no requirements.
      • God doesn’t want me to act a certain way.
  • 2. Respond
    • 1. We need someone to intercede for us.
      • Adam and Eve walked with God
      • The High Priests
      • Jesus
      • John 3:16
      • John 14:6
    • 2. We need to attend church.
      • Hebrews 10:24-25“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
      • Learning
      • Fellowship (creed)
        • Believers enjoy fellowship with God and with each other; we share, eat, and worship together, encouraging each other and urging one another to good deeds. Creed 35 – Fellowship
      • Accountability
    • 3. There are requirements.
      • Caveat: Not works-based, grace-based
      • Justification is by faith alone, but faith that justifies will not be alone
      • Still, we need to be holy.
      • 1 Peter 1:15-16“As He who called….”
      • Matthew 3:8 “Bear fruit….”
  • 3. Conclusion
    • Psalm 19:1
    • Jesus intercedes for us.


Now, you can see that this card does not have much written out. On the scale of a little content to a lot of content, this is definitely on the bare-bones outline side.

So, this card does require a fair amount of speaking off the cuff. For intermediate and advanced apologists, this should not cause any trouble. It might be a bit more of a challenge for a beginner, but then again we all need a good challenge sometimes.

When planning the card, I started with the outline. That is where you should always start! I used a very simple analyze and respond outline—a few points of analysis, and then responses to those same points. Once I had the outline established, I went back and filled in the content.

Notice that none of the verses are obscure ones from Habakkuk or anything like that. These are all verses that I had memorized or could quickly find. I think every Apologist should know these general verses, since they are so useful for many different cards. Even if you do not know the exact reference, you should be able to quote the substance of the verse and the book (if not the chapter and verse).

The rest of the card is just content off the top of my head. The creed is drawn from a list of creeds that my church uses with first through sixth graders. (That list is included with the Thoroughly Equipped curriculum.) Other than that, I came up with the sub points myself and through discussion with other Apologists outside the room.

Voilà! You now have a card where there was not one before. So the next time you are sitting outside of an apologetics room, take out an index card and start writing. That is what you should do while you wait!