Photo: The Rev. Dr. Ken Lyons
ST. LOUIS, Mo.–– The Rev. Dr. W. Kenneth Lyons Jr., a retired pastor and district superintendent in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, has been elected to a two-year term as president of Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (PRAY), the organization that presents God and Country Awards.
Lyons serves as the conference coordinator of scouting ministries and a member of the Baltimore Area Boy Scout Council and president of the Council’s Interfaith Committee.
He is also the creator of Baltimore Area Boy Scout God and World Program., a study and award under consideration as a national BSA award.
“My first encounter with the God and Country Program (now PRAY) was in 1959, when I was 13,” said Lyons. “I was an active Scout and was fortunate enough to have a father who had been a Scout chaplain and recognized the importance of utilizing the then Boy Scout God and Country Award as a means of connecting Scouts with their faith.
“All my Scout buddies and I received the award from my father, the Rev. Dr. W. Kenneth Lyons Sr. In those days this award was one of three things that every Boy Scout wished to attain in the D. C. National Capitol Area Council BSA; Eagle Scout, God and Country, and a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch.”
Lyons served his first church in 1969, and has taught God and Country classes from that day to the present. “During the past years my PRAY classes have averaged more than 60 in attendance, possibly the largest in the nation,” said Lyons.
“These children and young people usually represent five to six different Protestant denominations, with many of these children having their first contact with the Bible and the Christian faith through the PRAY program,” he said.
The new president recommends PRAY programs as a evangelism tool.
“It is a fact that children and young people are more readily willing to enter the church building for a Scout meeting than for a worship service or Sunday school,” said Lyons. “Half of the children in our scouting programs have no church home but are in our church buildings once a week!
“I served a church for 20 years and during those years the church tripled in attendance and membership while at the same time we made a concerted effort to connect to the church’s scouting program through our church council, lay people serving in scouting leadership, and extensive use of the PRAY program.. It was no coincidence that those parents and children in scouting showed interest in our church, and the church grew because of it.”
Lyons says he is honored to be president of the PRAY board for the next two years. .”Our PRAY staff and board include some of the most creative and dedicated Christians you could ever find.”
For more information about PRAY, visit the website: www.praypub.org.