Kenny Conley: A Children's Pastor Wrestles with Theology and Practice

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

Kenny Conley's website  Children's Ministry Online is fast becoming one of my favorite websites.  Kenny has posted several really interesting series recently.  He's been exploring his own church's policies on childhood baptism .  He has offered thoughts on leading children to Christ, and he is now exploring the larger topic of childhood spiritual development  I've listed  some links below to what he has been posting. Here is what I love about Kenny's approach.  As I read his blog, I have a kindred spirit.  He is a passionate children's minister who is wrestling with some of the most important questions that pastors in our field will face.  Kenny is passionate about every child who wants to be baptized actually hearing the gospel and believing it before he or she is baptized.  He wants to guard against children believing that baptism saves them.  He takes seriously the warnings against causing little ones to stumble, and he is willing to re-think his church's current practices in order to lead it to be more biblically faithful.   Kenny wants to let his parents drive.  He believes that the Scriptures show them to be a child's primary faith trainers.

My primary concern with Kenny's approach is the thought that becoming a follower of Christ is simply the result of a child making an informed decision to do so.  Kenny is a big fan of Lifeway's ABCs.  While the approach is simple (and therefore easy for a child to understand), it places the emphasis on the believer's role in the process (Admit, Believe, Confess).  It puts the emphasis on what we do rather than on what Christ has done and the Holy Spirit is doing.  Click here for Sojourn's Childhood Baptism and Church Membership policies, and compare them to Kenny's thoughts...

On Kids' Baptisms:

On Leading a Child to Faith (The ABCs):

On the Faith Development of a Child

  • Episode 1
  • Episode 2 (worth repeating in full)I’ve been thinking more about Mark 9:42 that I referenced in yesterday’s post. Although I don’t see this verse as speaking to those who carelessly lead children to faith, I have a healthy fear of careless evangelism. Are there children that I’ve led to faith by having them repeat me in saying a prayer who are not right with God but they think everything’s okay because they said a prayer? Or they think everything is okay becasue they got baptized. Did I enable this false way of thinking? I know, I know. I can’t control everything. It’s still the choice of the child to live out their faith. But was I clear? Did I clearly communicate that following Christ is more than saying a prayer, but daily living for him. I have a healthy respect for this. As I talk to children about coming to faith, I try to make sure they understand this.
  • Episode 3
  • Episode 4

HT: Henry Zonio: Elemental Children's Ministry

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