Someone has said, “The measure of man’s life is not in its duration but in its donation.” This quotation aptly describes the life of Frank Kwesi Adams. Kwesi Adams was born on October 9, 1949 in Kumasi to Rev. Frank Adams, an ordained minister of the Methodist Church, and Mrs. Hannah Adams. He lost his father at the tender age of two.
Youth and education
He attended Nana Nketsia Primary School Esikado in Sekondi, and under the tutelage of his stepfather, the young Frank was able to sail through the storm of early life. He attended Technology Secondary School, and Opoku Ware School, both in Kumasi, where he obtained his GCE Certificate in 1968.
In his adolescent years, Frank was not only interested in books, and he had shown other interests earlier. For example, as a boy he had been blessed with a great voice and he loved singing. At the age of eight he passed an audition and gained admission to the prestigious Cathedral Choir of St. Andrew Anglican Church, Sekondi, as its youngest member. A young chorister in a procession of adults soon attracted attention, and most notably that of the church registrar, a lawyer and philanthropist named James Mercer. Mr. Mercer offered Frank a scholarship to continue his education at St. John’s Grammar School, a boarding school in Accra. Later, before venturing into full time ministry, Frank engaged in evangelization with the Singspiration Group, which worked through music performance in schools and churches.
Marriage and calling
Frank Adams was a family man. He was married on December 20, 1975 to Selina at Grace Baptist Church, and the marriage was blessed with three children.
He worked as a village teacher for several years, and then worked at Kumasi Brewery Ltd. as a clerk. Adam’s call to the ministry came in the early 1970s, while he was working at the brewery. Although Ghana was in a serious economic mess, his genuine love for God compelled him to leave this good job for pastoral ministry, which happened to be among the lowest-paying jobs at that time.
Theological education, ministry, and achievements
Ably encouraged and supported by his wife, Adams gained admission to Abuakwa Theological Seminary (now the School of Theology and Ministry, under Ghana Baptist University College) and graduated with the Diploma in Theology. After his training at Abuakwa Seminary, he worked as an associate pastor with Rev. Dr. Boadi at Grace Baptist Church, Kumasi, and later as the senior pastor and minister in charge in the same church.
As a man with a passion for academic study, he traveled to Switzerland in 1985. While there, he obtained a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1989 and a Master of Theology in 1991 at the Baptist International Theological Seminary, Ruschlikon, Switzerland, and returned to Ghana in that same year. In 2003, he earned a PhD from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in the United Kingdom.
On his return from Switzerland, he took up the challenge of serving as the first General Secretary of the unified Ghana Baptist Convention. The Convention had come back together after a separation in the late 1980s, and needed a skillful leader to unite it. He was able to steer the affairs of the Convention ably, as is evidenced by its’ rapid growth and development from 1992 to 2000. By the year 2000, the Convention had about 1,000 churches, whereas it had numbered fewer than 200 in 1992. He laid a solid foundation for the Convention’s administration and implemented the computerization of the Convention’s accounts, which ensured that financial statements were up to date for every single Convention church. He made frequent visits to all the churches and associations, especially in the North, which enabled him to become well-informed of problems in the field.
Another notable achievement was that he established a “Needy Pastors Support Fund,” which brought much relief to less-privileged ministers. His ability to listen and also to explain issues assisted in bridging the local church/Convention communication gap. This led to improvements in commitment and response levels to Convention projects during his tenure. When he left office, significant funds of reserves in Treasury Bills had been accumulated for use by the Convention.
His international visits brought the following two projects to the Ghana Baptist Convention: the Ghana/UK Support Group, which continues to help the Mafi and Frankadua Project; and the Convention/Spurgeon College collaboration with the Seminary (now the School of Theology and Ministry, under Ghana Baptist University College). Also, through his initiatives, many ministers of the Convention received support for further training overseas.
Frank Kwesi Adams’ sphere of influence also extended beyond Ghana, since he also served as the General Secretary of All African Baptist Fellowship (1997-2006). Through his wisdom and administrative skill, he worked hard to ensure that there was unity and peace among the Unions/Conventions in Africa.
Death and tributes
He died in 2006 while working on a project that aimed to build on the capacity of theological institutions to encourage leadership development for Africa.
In a tribute to him, his wife described him as a very humble person, while others described him as a man of integrity, a very caring person who always put others first. He also had a sense of humor, and was very jovial!
Rev. Dr. Steve Asante, the incumbent president of Ghana Baptist Convention, described him as a team player who was always ready to play second fiddle if needed–he never fought to be in the front. He was a man of prayer who did much to create space for the poor and the needy. At the ecumenical level, he worked for the principle that all denominations belong to the family of God.
Rev. Baffour Adu-Gyamfi, his Assistant General Secretary while he was in office, described him as a very honest person. Although Frank Adams did not live long, he lived a fulfilled life by making his personal contribution to the growth of Christianity in Ghana and in Africa at large.
Adesoji Olatunji Ajeigbe
“Celebration of Life” memorial service program for Rev. Dr. Frank Kwesi Adams.
Mrs. Selina Adams (wife), interview by author, September 25, 2011, Kumasi.
Rev. Dr. Steve Asante (President, Ghana Baptist Convention), interview by author, October 6, 2011, Kumasi.
Rev. Baffour Adu-Gyamfi (Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Kumasi, and Assistant General Secretary to Rev. Dr. Frank Adams), interview by author, October 11, 2011, Kumasi.
This biography, received in 2012, was researched and written by Adesoji Olatunji Ajeigbe, a student at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso.