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Christian 12


James Richard Adams

August 21, 1941 ~ August 24, 2018 (age 77)


August 21, 1941 - August 24, 2018


James Richard Adams (Jim) passed away on the evening of Friday, August 24th, just three days after his 77th birthday, at Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro, surrounded by his loving wife and daughter.

Jim had a remarkable life. I don’t say that just because I am his daughter and am, admittedly, a bit biased. But Jim really can be counted among those who truly “lived out loud.” He began his preaching, drama, and writing ministries while stationed with the United States Air Force in 1960 at Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. He continued dedicating himself to the Lord and to his ministry for the next 40 years.

He has held pastorates in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Oklahoma, inspiring and touching lives through the power of God’s word across the country. He even served in evangelistic ministries in the overseas theaters of Japan, Taiwan and the Philippine Islands. Wherever the Lord led him, Jim was proud to go and share the message.

Born August 21, 1941 to a military family (retired Major and Mrs. Arey E. Adams) in Alexandria, Louisiana, Adams received much of his schooling while traveling across the United States. He graduated from Gallup High School in New Mexico and, while serving with the USAF, attended the University of the Philippines completing his English and history studies. In 1969, at the age of 28, he founded the Youth Afire Bible Ministry in Alexandria. Eventually, he shifted his Youth Afire ministry to Gadsden, Alabama where he entered full time evangelism.

Known for eight years as "the street preacher,” he ministered to young people during the drug culture years and maintained a full time coffeehouse known as 'The Jesus Way'' in Attalla, Alabama. He held numerous revivals, street crusades and youth crusades during those years, and created a traveling gospel singing-preaching team under the theme of Youth Afire.

Active for several years in tent crusade ministry in central Alabama, he joined The Chapel Inc. in 1971 as associate chaplain for NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) with founder Bro. Bill Frazier of Gadsden, Alabama. For three years, the pair ministered together at race tracks to tens of thousands of people across the nation. Along with this, Adams maintained his Youth Afire ministry through recruiting active youth ministers.

Adams worked as a columnist and editor of a number of southern newspapers during his career. As Managing Editor of the Free Press in Kinston, he managed the news room and wrote a regular column. He published many articles both for the secular and the religious press and wrote a number of books, for children and adults.

For the past 30 years, he ran Sheer Joy Ministries out of Pink Hill, NC. He wrote and performed dramas based on the life and the resurrection of Christ. A talented painter, he even painted his own backdrops to set the scene for each of the different characters. I’ll never forget the ending of one of the dramas he found himself being asked to do most often, where he’d step out of character but still dressed up, and sing a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “I Love You, Written in Red.” Through Sheer Joy, he also did puppet shows and fast-paced vacation bible schools, for the young and for the young at heart at churches throughout the Southeast and beyond.

All this seems so empty when it is written out like this, but everything he wrote or created carried with it a tiny piece of his soul. He gave of himself, always, and he will live on, not only in the family he “loved forever and always,” but also in the written works he shared and the inspiration he gave others through his ministry. It is hard to contend with a world that does not have Jim Adams in it, to tell a joke, to startle with a boisterous laugh, or to listen quietly when you feel the need to share without being judged. He’s done so much, and it all looks great on paper, but this was truly who the man was. A vibrant force in our lives and in our community who will be missed tremendously.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Patricia Adams and his children, Janah Renea, a professional artist; Amber Dawn, an athletic director for a high school in Alabama; Richard Lavon, in management with a national grocery chain in Alabama; Llewellyn Denise, a nurse in Colorado; James LaMont, retired USAF; and one son, Michael Arey, who died in 1983. Also survived by fourteen grandchildren and great-grandchildren and his special four legged friend, Pepper.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held:

Saturday September 1st at 1 pm.

Believers Fellowship 3932 NC 41 W Trenton NC  28585

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Believers Fellowship or Kitty Askins Hospice Center located at 107 Handley Park Center Goldsboro, NC 27534


Donations may be made to:

Kitty Askins
107 Handley Park Court, Goldsboro NC 27534

Believers Fellowship
3932 NC 41 W, Trenton NC 28585

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