He has been very instrumental in the wellbeing of the youth. His primary focus is to reach out to the youth, relate with them, and disciple them with godly values and attitudes to transform the world. He is a compassionate, passionate and respected voice on youth and relational matters. He has also been involved in coaching, counselling, communication and consulting for both church and non-church-based groups for about three decades. This fine gentleman indeed has his mind and heart wired for the youth and reads the Bible with the youth’s eye. PENTECOST FIRE (PF) caught up with this great man, Elder Amos Kevin-Annan (AKA), who has served as the Deputy Youth Director of The Church of Pentecost for a record 16 years under three Directors.
PF: When were you appointed the Deputy Youth Director?
AKA: I became the Deputy Youth Director in 2004, some 16 years ago.
PF: What do you think went into your selection as Deputy Director?
AKA: I had no idea whatever culminated in the decision of my appointment. I only heard that my name had been mentioned at the Council Meeting that was chaired by Apostle Dr Michael Ntumy, the then Chairman.
PF: Were you consulted before the appointment?
AKA: No, no, no, there was no consultation. It was a typical Church of Pentecost style – according to the Pentecostal pattern appointment.
PF: How did you feel when you heard your name mentioned?
AKA: I wasn’t surprised, because prior to that, I was involved in Apostle Noble Atsu’s (now retired) work – more like an outsider coming in to provide some critical support for their work. [Apostle Noble Atsu was the first International Youth Director of the church when the erstwhile Pentecost Youth and Evangelistic Movement (PENTYEM) was phased out). I did that for about a decade. I once presented a paper at an international programme. During my presentation, I mentioned that I was a member of The Church of Pentecost. I remember that, after the presentation, Pastor Franklin Agbovi-Hushie and Elder Stephen Djabah came to me. They were surprised that there was a member of The Church of Pentecost who was doing a global version of youth ministry. So, I think they, being part of Apostle Noble-Atsu’s team, mentioned me
it to him. Prior to my appointment, I was somehow involved in the activities of the Youth Ministry with the National Executive Committee (NEC), I attended their mid-year meetings and was doing some training for them, although I was then a deacon. The current Chairman, then Pastor Eric Nyamekye, was one of the NEC members. The others were Elder Gibson Annor Antwi then the Deputy Director, Pastor Franklin Agbovi-Hushie, Pastor Frank Osei Wusu, Mrs. Kutin Buah, and Elder E.Y. Torsu (of blessed memory).
PF: What was the reaction of your immediate family (wife, children, etc.) when you were called to serve as the Deputy Director?
AKA: [Laughs]. I was then getting to four years in marriage, and even had a daughter. We take life very easy because we are guided by providence, so we know that whatever comes our way may mean that, the Lord may have something that He would be seeking to do beyond understanding. I have lived my whole life confirm the meaning of my name ‘Amos’, which means “One who bears a burden,” or “A burden-bearer.” All my life I have been lifting burdens off the shoulders of other people, particularly young ones. When the call came it was a very difficult decision for me to accept, because I was heavily involved with some global work at that time, but I had to accept it.
PF: Who was the Director at the time?
AKA: It was then Pastor Emmanuel Kwasi Acquah. Both of us were called at the same time. We served his first term together, but when he had one year to complete his second term, he was transferred to South Africa as a Missionary. Then Pastor David Nyansah Hayfron (now Apostle) was brought in to finish Apostle Acquah’s one year and then serve for two terms of eight years. That is why I still had one year to serve under the current Director, Pastor Ebenezer Hagan. So in all, I served as Deputy Director for 16 years, under three Directors, that is seven (7 years) under Apostle Acquah, nine (9) years under Apostle Hayfron and about one (1) year under Pastor Hagan.
PF: What did you bring on board as a Deputy Director?
AKA: [Laughs]. I am a product of God’s grace. This is not like academia or the corporate world; this is a pure church field, and therefore. The most significant thing that makes all the important decisions and difference has to do with the grace of God. So, I don’t want to talk about my credentials as to the things we were able to do at the Ministry.
The task required enormous grace, because when someone is called, he is not taken to the classroom and taught what should be done. So, we had to rely on the grace of God. Interestingly, a few months before our appointment, the then Apostle Acquah, who was Pentecost Students and Associates (PENSA) Travelling Secretary for the Ashanti Region, organised a programme in Kumasi I was invited to be the guest speaker. In fact, both of us were speakers at that programme which was about giving the baton of the fathers to the next generation. Then at the next Council Meeting, the two of us were called to lead the Youth Ministry.
PF: What was the Youth Ministry then, and now?
AKA: [Heaves a sigh]. Honestly, because I was “somehow” part of Apostle Atsu’s team, I knew some of the challenges that confronted them as youth leaders. The Youth Ministry, at the time of our appointment, had come out of two difficult eras. The first one was the PENSA era, which led to merging of PENSA and the then Witness Movement into the Pentecost Youth and Evangelistic Movement, (PENTYEM) which was led by Apostle Peter Ayerakwa (now retired). Later, there was a recreation and Pentecost Youth Ministry came out with Apostle Noble-Atsu as the International Director. With all these changes, it became necessary for the leaders to pay very close attention to what was happening with young people, especially the educated young people, in the church.
That was a big issue because that was the period of the upsurge of the charismatic movement in Ghana. That was the period when very strong, gifted and imposing characters were moving all over the place – on campuses and town fellowships. So, what became of it was that PENTYEM phased off for Youth Ministry and Witness Movement to emerge. Still the adult populace did not see the youth as any prospect for the work of ministry. So, there was some seeming tension between the older people and the young ones. The educated young elite felt as if they were unwanted persons in the church.
It was around this period that we were called (myself and Apostle Acquah) to take over the Youth Ministry. I found this a huge task. Therefore, one of the things that really caught our attention was how to bridge the gap between the young and the old in the church. So, when I became the Deputy Director of the Youth Ministry, my greatest passion was to make a statement for the youth, and also make a very bold statement for the need of the youth to have the old in their lives. In those days I tagged myself as “the bridge between the old and the younger generations”. It was quite a herculean task for us at that time. During Apostle Dr Ntumy’s Chairmanship, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah was then the Rector of Pentecost University College (PUC), now Pentecost University (PENTVARS), and also Patron of the Youth Ministry, he invited me to PENTVARS to handle students counselling issues. So, at it were, I became the first Students’ Counsellor at PENTVARS in 2006.
When Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah became the Chairman and he introduced the Apostolisation, he added me to the speakers. As a former Youth Patron, he knew how frustrated I was with the system. So, the wisdom that the elderly people guided me with, helped me to tone down, because we had come boldly with the energy to change things but I realised that the system was robust and one has to be careful.
Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah invited me to address the apostles and prophets during the annual Heads Meeting that takes place in November every year. It was a tough one and my Area Head, Prophet Edmund Ameyaw (now retired), then the Tema Area Head, had to pray for me before I went to the meeting. Through my presentation on “Engaging the Next Generation,” I made a case for the youth and why the Youth Ministry was important. I explained to them the state of mind of the youth of today, touched on what need be done. We discussed importance of the older people are, and then what would happen if the church fails to respond to in the right way. Thank God, the response to the presentation was positive. The Heads took the insights I shared with them as a clarion call that the information must go to all the pastors of the church. So, I was invited to speak at the Pastors Conference early the following year, for the church to understand these things, so that we will not lose our youth. This is because the issue of the future of the youth in the church is very important to the CoP.
When we (Apostle Acquah and myself) were at the helm of affairs at the Youth Ministry, we were very keen about what we were doing. We believed very much in the youth and were very passionate about the things of the youth. Eventually, what we saw was that God gave us favour in the hearts and eyes of the older generation, because we didn’t pitch the youth against their parents. One of my clarion calls was that, for the church to be strong in the future, we need two things: the first one I proposed was the insight (the experience and exposure) of the older generation, because the youth need those insightful things, otherwise, we will not understand what is happening. The second thing that I proposed at that time, was that we also need the foresight of the youth, because the Bible says that, young people shall see visions. Dreams are insight, visions are futuristic, so one needs a blend of the two for us as a church.
In fact, we didn’t put much into it, but today when I look at how this message was received then I see that God has done something very great. We give God all the praise. I doff my hat to Apostle Emmanuel Acquah because we responded to the challenge and by the grace of God things were turned around. These were the times that we set up what we called the “Issachar Generation.” The idea was to let the youth know the times and seasons they lived in and that, they should be positioned to respond to it properly. It was at that Pastors’ Conference at PENTVARS that I presented a paper on “The God of the Living is the God of the Youth” (Judges 2:7-9). The pastors really bought into it, and as soon as that meeting came to a close, I was told by the leadership of the church to get ready because I was going to travel across the length and breadth of Ghana to push the youth agenda forward, while my Director also had his itinerary. At any of those meetings, I explained the concept, “the generation of today” and “the generation of yesterday”. This created a deeper understanding of the issues of the youth. When we went on our treks, we trained the youth leaders and officers of the church with our concept. Again, between July and August, before the students go we attended several Youth Camp Meetings and spoke to the youth as well. So, we did not only engage the older people, but we also engaged the young people. Then during PENSA Conferences, where we were literally
tin charge, engaged the youth further, especially those within the school bloc. Basically, COP has the home-based youth group and the school-going group, so at any given time, the Ministry needs to have a balanced approach for each of these two groups.
PF: What do you think you will be remembered for at the Youth Ministry?
AKA: I don’t know what people will remember me for, but I pray that it would be said that someone once lived here who selflessly served the Youth Ministry and didn’t seek to make a statement for himself but sought to live for God, country, church, family and for young people. For me, to live is to die and to die is gain. God has given us the grace to reach out, relate with, and disciple young people to the point that the world cannot change them, but that, they would live and trust God’s grace to transform them into the anointed generation that will change the world. I pray that God will give us the type of youth the world cannot change. To me, it is our duty to turn them into global world changers. For me once I see that, my joy would be fulfilled.
PF: Do you have any regrets for serving at the Ministry all these years?
AKA: I am not sure I have any personal regrets for working for God. But in terms of that which relate to the work, my regrets will be that, along the line we lost some young people, who if we had acted a little faster, we could have gained them. Some have left the church for other ministries. Maybe we could have done more than what we did. When I sit down and take a retrospective look, there are some things, I would have done it differently given the exigencies of the now and the future.
PF: Now that you are leaving the scene, where do you envisage the Youth Ministry to get to?
AKA: For me, I have a lifetime calling into the Youth Ministry. The ministry has actually just begun. [Laughs]. My mentor, Rev. Mark Arthur of Foundation for Christian Leadership (He is dead though), said to me that, service to God really begins at age 40, although I didn’t understand him at that time. Then he said, “Have you heard the statement that life begins at 40?” Then I said, “Yes.” Then he said, “The proof of a person’s ministry in the Lord is better seen from age 40.” My mind is wired for the youth, my heart is wired for the youth, I read the Bible with the youth’s eye. So, I have given assurance to the Director, Pastor Ebenezer Hagan, that even though we are stepping off the scene, I have not abandoned them; I’m still very much part and available, whatever they need us to do, we will support them, because the work is big.
PF: What will be your advice for the in-coming Deputy Youth Director?
AKA: My response to that question is usually mixed, because in one breath I don’t want to be seen as guiding him on what the Lord wants to do with him. But be that as it may, I can say that, the person the leadership has settled on is very familiar with young people. He is an academic. I know him very well and I worked with him when he was the Presiding Elder at Kotei Worship Centre in Kumasi, I was a guest of his church. He has a COP foundation because his father was a pastor of the church, so he is not like an outsider. He also does a lot of work with international students. I am very confident that God will give him more of the same grace that we got.
He is a yielded vessel and he carries himself very well. I know the Lord will use him. He should stay strong in the power of the Lord’s might and the Lord God who called him and has brought him into this very challenging high demanding office of the Deputy Youth Director of The Church of Pentecost will use him to achieve great things.
May he not be moved by the things that he hears or encounters. He should understand that he is unique and he should let his uniqueness drive his vision. During my time I was strongly motivated by certain philosophies borne out of Scripture, that was in 2 Timothy 2: 4 (No soldier in active service entangles himself with everyday life so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier…). So, as a soldier in the army of God, he should know where to expend his energies and always seek to please the one who enlisted him. In our case, we are enlisted by two entities – God and the Executive Council of the church, by extension The Church of Pentecost.
PF: Any advice to the youth?
AKA: I love them to the maximum. I always remind them of what is written at 1 Timothy 4:12, which was one of my favourite texts. In this generation, exemplary lifestyles are almost becoming a luxury. It is so important that, the youth do not overrate themselves. They should also not underrate themselves – both are unacceptable. They should be an example to all believers (both adults and the young) in speech and in deed. Today, language which is unsavoury, intemperate and disrespectful of people is very rife on social media, in regular communication, on TV and on the radio. Our speech and communication should be that which is seasoned with salt. They should also check their conduct very carefully. They live in a generation where love has been distorted and “bastardized” and so God needs them to show the world how to love, not as the world does it but as the Lord does it. Their faith in God must be robust and resilient, unmovable, unshakable and undaunting, because there will be turbulent times where one’s faith will be tested and shaken. Finally, they should stay pure. Chastity today is becoming a forgotten virtue. I am imploring our young people that they should pursue the path of purity, because to the pure all things are pure, and to the impure, all things are impure.
PF: Are there any individuals or groups that you want to acknowledge for their role in your life?
AKA: There are many people that I want to appreciate, but I cannot mention them all. To the leadership of the church, I want to thank them most sincerely for the opportunity they gave to me to serve. It is both a privilege and honour. Privilege in the sense that, I deserving that responsibility, and honour, because, this has also brought us into contact with people we never imagined we could ever
to have come into contact with. All the three Chairmen that I have worked under, Apostle Dr Michael Kwabena Ntumy, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah, and currently Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye, and the various General Secretaries that I have encountered from Apostle Dr Alfred Koduah’s time, now Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, who is my senior from school. I am so honoured by the relationship we had with these noblemen and their spouses. They have been fathers and mothers to us. The International Missions Directors, the late Apostle Dr S. K. Baidoo who was my district pastor at a point, and then Apostle Emmanuel Gyesi-Addo was once my district pastor at Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC), Tema. So, you can tell the relationship the Lord has brought us into in this big family.
I want to thank the past and present members of the Executive Council, all the Patrons who have served at the Youth Ministry, all past and present Directors of the Ministry with their spouses, the ministry directors, especially the Women’s Ministry Directorate, for their support, all pastors who shared their platforms with me, Area Deacons and all officers of the church.
I wish to also to thank my mother-in-law, Deaconess Cecilia Berko and my father-in-law, Elder Bright Matthew Berko, who always pray for me. I also wish to express my gratitude to my brothers and sisters. I can never forget my wife, Evelyn and my daughters – Gyasiwaa and Afriyie – they have always been at the sacrificing end. They have to wait for me to return from meetings, sometimes I returned very late. I had at the last counted 20 different road accidents since I became Deputy Director, some were mild, and others are very serious. But in all these, the Lord has been with us I remember the very harrowing accident which I had when I was using my wife’s vehicle for a church-related work. But she lost that car. So, you see,1 the sacrifices that my family has to go through. I want to thank those at the Youth Office, the drivers – Elder Amuzu, Deacon Patrick, Patricia (Secretary) and Steve (IT guy), they have been so helpful, as well as all the people who have come in and gone.
I want to finally thank the National Executive Committee of the Youth Ministry, my local presbytery of PIWC Tema and Tema Area and all my Area Heads.
PF: Thank you, Sir, for the opportunity to interact with you.
AKA: The pleasure is mine, thank you.