Whoever thought that a street boy, perched in a tailoring kiosk in Suhum Amponsah Market with his well-known drunkard father, and whose mother was the daughter of a chief fetish priest, could be saved and have the opportunity to be schooled and become a Minister of the Gospel? Isn’t it sheer grace? Who is this person? How did he come out of obscurity and attain prominence? Indeed, with God, all things are possible. The man in perspective is the indefatigable Apostle Ing. Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, the outgoing General Secretary of The Church of Pentecost, who has served the Church, God, and the country in that capacity for the past ten years.
Apostle Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi is not ashamed of his ugly and hopeless past, from which only the mighty hand of God could snatch him and give him an expected end. No wonder this man is so passionate about evangelism and soul-winning. Whenever he mounts the stage to preach, he narrates where God took him from and where he is now. His testimony is so touching that it leaves most of his listeners weeping and eager to hear more.
Through him, his drunkard father, and his idol-worshipping mother, came to the saving knowledge of Christ. Today, he can pride himself on building a formidable and well-respected Christian family.
46th General Council Meeting Elections
In the next few days, The Church of Pentecost will elect a new General Secretary to replace Apostle Kumi-Larbi at the upcoming 46th Session of the General Council Meetings. This meeting will take place from May 3rd to May 5th, 2023, at the Pentecost Convention Centre (PCC), Gomoa Fetteh in the Central Region. The event will have His Excellency Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, as the Special Guest of Honour.
This piece does not attempt to speculate in any way about who will become the next General Secretary of the largest Pentecostal/Charismatic Church in Ghana. Rather, it seeks to eulogize the achievements of the hardworking outgoing General Secretary and his life experiences. Additionally, it will highlight the position of the General Secretary, which is regarded as the second-highest position within The Church of Pentecost.
How it all began
In 2013, when the “gentle giant,” Apostle Dr Alfred Koduah ended his second five-year tenure as the General Secretary of the Church, the then Chairman of the Church, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah, noticed a young Apostle named Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, who was in charge of the Asamankese Area of the Church at the time.
Looking back over the past ten years, the general consensus among the Church populace is that Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah could not have chosen a better person, as Apostle Kumi-Larbi has exceeded all expectations.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi served under Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah for five years and has worked with the current Chairman and newly elected President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), Apostle Eric Nyamekye, for the past five years. With tenacity, enthusiasm, and zeal, Apostle Kumi-Larbi has carried out the implementation of the Church’s Vision 2023 of the ‘Possessing the Nations’ agenda.
Chairman Eric Nyamekye sometimes wonders whether the General Secretary even sleeps since he is always on the move to ensure the realisation of the vision. In one of the events organised by the Church in November last year, Apostle Nyamekye virtually wept when he introduced Apostle Kumi-Larbi and indicated that he [Kumi-Larbi] would be attending the annual conference for the last time in his official capacity as the General Secretary of the Church.
Election of the General Secretary
The Church of Pentecost is touted for its excellent governance structure, which has enabled the Church to endure the test of time and emerge as a prominent, thriving global Church.
Chapter 3 of the Church’s Constitution outlines the Administration of the Church, which specifies the various administrative structures and how the Principal Officers (Chairman, General Secretary, and International Missions Director) and other key officers are selected.
Article 14 of the Constitution sets out the qualifications for the General Secretary as a mature Minister of the Church with a good standard of education. The General Secretary’s duties include: managing the Church’s correspondence, being accountable to the Chairman for the Head Office Administration, serving as an ex-officio member of all Boards and Committees, holding the official seal of the Church and reporting to the General Council on the Headquarters Administration’s performance.
The Church of Pentecost’s method of selecting its key officers has upheld the Church’s sanctity, unity, and rapid and sustainable growth. The Church does not have elections or contests for higher positions or offices. Instead, suitable persons are chosen to occupy leadership positions in the Church through a ‘calling’ (nomination), subsequently affirmed through a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ voting system. This selection method eliminates lobbying and campaigning, which typically results in factionalism and disunity as has been the case in some churches. In Acts Chapter 1:12-26, Peter and the other Apostles prayed before selecting Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot. Similarly, in The Church of Pentecost, people are called/nominated to occupy higher positions upon careful consideration and reflection through prayers.
The process for selecting the General Secretary of The Church of Pentecost involves several steps as outlined in Article 14 (3) of the Church’s Constitution. The process begins with the 15-Member Executive Council, led by the Chairman of the Church [after prayerful consideration], presenting a candidate from the list of eligible candidates to the Electoral College for open discussion and secret ballot. The Electoral College is made up of Members of the Executive Council, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, National Heads, and Area Heads. The Electoral College will then conduct a secret ballot election, supervised by an Electoral Commission appointed by the Executive Council, with the candidate elected by a simple majority. Finally, the candidate elected by the Electoral College will be presented to the General Council, the highest decision-making body of the Church, for approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting.
The elected General Secretary, like the two other Principal Officers of the Church, will serve for a term of five years and may be re-elected for a second term only, i.e., he cannot be elected to hold office for more than two terms.
During this two-term tenure, Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi has done an excellent job handling the Church’s affairs. Due to his front-line involvement in pursuing specific national agendas, he is well-respected among Ghana’s ecumenical bodies.
The personality of Apostle Kumi-Larbi
Apostle Kumi-Larbi is a man known for his high level of integrity and is highly esteemed by both ministerial and non-ministerial staff at the Church’s Headquarters. He has a humble disposition, respects everyone, promotes team spirit, exhibits level-headedness, maintains good human relationships, demonstrates ingenuity, and takes work seriously. Anyone who has interacted with him will forever remember these qualities. He adopts an open-door administration, listens attentively, and addresses all issues brought to his attention promptly. Apostle Kumi-Larbi is not interested in using his position to lord over others, knowing that power can corrupt. His prayer has always been to occupy the Office as a Christian and to leave as a Christian without blemish. Fortunately, his prayer has been answered, and he is leaving the Office with clean hands.
Profile of Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi
Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi was born on 24th December 1964 at Asamankese in the Eastern Region to Mr Samuel Opare Kumi and Madam Florence Akosua Odi, both from Abiriw-Akuapim and of blessed memory.
As an engineer by training, he started schooling at Suhum Presbyterian School and obtained his Middle School Leaving Certificate in 1979. He then continued his education at Koforidua Secondary Technical School. He passed the GCE ‘O’ level examination in 1984 and proceeded to the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (PRESEC, Legon) for his GCE’ A’-Level certificate in 1986.
During his pre-university National Service, he taught for one year at the Suhum Presbyterian JHS (from 1986-1987).
He subsequently gained admission at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and graduated with a BSc. (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering in 1991. During his post-university National Service, he taught at Takoradi Polytechnic, now Takoradi Technical University, from 1991-1992.
In 1995, he was awarded an OSW Scholarship to pursue an MSc degree in Infrastructure Planning at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. He completed the program in 1997. Additionally, he has finished the School of Theological Education by Extension (STEE) program at Pentecost University and has been awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. He is currently a member of the Ghana Institution of Engineers (MGhIE).
He worked with Twum Boafo and Partners, a Consulting Engineering firm in Ghana (1992 to 2000), during which he engaged in Structural, Civil Engineering and Road Design and Construction Works. His experience in road works includes pavement and geometric designs, hydrological studies and the design of drainage structures. He was also involved in the design and supervision of some significant projects in the country, including serving as a Resident Engineer for the Rehabilitation and Completion of the Accra and Kumasi sports stadiums for the CAF-Under 20 Youth Soccer Tournament (1998-2000), Design and Resident Engineer responsible for the construction of the SSNIT flats at Tema Community 5 and Ho (1992-1995), Assistant Design Engineer involved in the Feasibility Studies for the Reconstruction of Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange-Mamfe road (1994-1995); he was involved in the structural design and detailing for a warehouse and offices for VRA at Aboadze Thermal Plant site office, Takoradi (1999) and a Consulting Engineer for The Church of Pentecost projects (1993 to date).
Call into full-time Ministry
Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi was called into the full-time ministry of The Church of Pentecost in 1999 and has since served as District Minister for Kojokrom, Awoshie and Michel Camp districts. He was appointed an Area Head in 2011 and was responsible for the Asamankese Area. He was called into the Office of Apostle in 2013 and elected as the General Secretary in 2013.
He is married to Mrs. Rose Ama Dansoa, and they have been blessed with four sons.
Apostle is very passionate about evangelism, discipleship and selfless leadership with integrity.
By Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako
About the Author:
The Author is a Senior Editor at The Church of Pentecost General Headquarters & a Communication Expert.