Alva Chester Nelson, was born May 7, 1927, the son of the late Pernella Bean and famed early twentieth century preacher Chester Henry Nelson, in Deweyville, Texas. In a rural country town in Texas and of the metropolitan of Deweyville, he observed his father's ministry. He entered the public school system of Port Arthur, Texas, and continued on until his graduation from Phyllis Wheatley High School in Houston Texas. Bishop Nelson matriculated from Union Theological Seminary, Mount Hope Bible College & Theological Seminary – Houston, Texas, Texas Southern University – Houston, Texas. He has earned his Bachelors of Theology, Masters of Divinity, Doctorate in Ministry, and Certificate in Philosophical Studies.
Bishop Nelson has held many and varied positions in his local jurisdiction during his earlier years before pastoring and while pastoring. As the Youth President he took the youth department all across the country sharing the good news of Jesus Christ while in crusades and attending national conventions often being called an “evangelical fireball”. Bishop Nelson held leadership positions in the Sunday School, Music departments and he served his father the Late Bishop C. H. Nelson as Personal Assistant and in the state as an 1st Administrative Assistant.
His pastorates include First Church of God in Christ – Corrigan, Texas 1953-1960, Progressive Church of God in Christ – Houston, Texas 1951-1976, Compton Chapel Church of God in Christ – Beaumont, Texas 1966-1980, Nelson Temple Church of God in Christ – Crosby, Texas 1976-1980,Greater Houston Temple Church of God in Christ – Houston, Texas 1980-1983,Nelson Memorial Pentecostal Church of God in Christ – Houston, Texas 1983-2007. While at his pastoral success was remarkable. During his tenure, the churches of which he pastored grew in number tremendously.
Bishop Nelson – has been married to the lovely and anointed Bettye Ransom Nelson for 43 years. Bishop Nelson has eight (8) biological children; Alva C. Nelson, III, Reginald, Gwendolyn, Jacquelyn, Alvaneeta, Brian, Mia, Marquise and two adopted daughters Joann and Torie, fourteen (15) adorable and remarkably gifted grand-children.
However, with the acknowledgement of Bishop Alva Nelson’s remarkable success as an urban pastor and Community/Civil Leader, it is his remarkable gift as a preacher, which has earned him a place among the pantheon of American preachers. His is a language, which bows to the glory of heaven, and the power of a living Lord. In him the scholarship of a professor; the language of a Shakespearean writer; and the tradition of radical progressive African-American preachers converge to form a preaching moment which transcends the ordinary and escapes into a world of the Spirit. His skills at proclamation have been honored by invitations to appear numerous times before the International Churches of God in Christ during the Holy Convocation. He received invitations to be one of many guest preachers at the Prayer Bowl held each year at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. He has served as Executive Board Member Prairie View A & M University Ministerial Conference, Houston Ministers Against Crime, Houston Business and Professional Men, Board of Regents C. H. Mason Bible College, United States Chaplaincy Board, Harvest Time Church Preparation Fellowship Board. Once being honored by Gospel Monthly Magazine “Preacher as the Year”. The Houston Defender African- American Newspaper named him as “Minister of the Week” on numerous occasions.
For some 65 plus years Bishop Alva C. Nelson has preached an uncompromising gospel and still at age 87 he is called to be keynote speakers at various occasions locally and nationally.
Bishop Alva C. Nelson
Husband, father, friend, gospel prognosticator, theologian, masterful preacher, eloquent teacher, explosive evangelist, resident vessel of wisdom of the Jericho City Champions Church, but after all of these titles and accolades given he is quite simply a Child of God.