Tribute to Rev Nelson Aaron Banda, general of the faith


“Taciturn” (A man of few words)

Those who knew Nelson Banda closely would unanimously agree that the term “taciturn” adequately described the man’s personality.

He was a man of few words. This characteristic was largely manifested in later years, when he answered God’s call to public church ministry. Be that as it may, he remained essentially a man who spoke sparingly – speaking only when spoken to and rarely initiated conversation.


The author first met Nelson Banda in 1995 at Assemblies of God School of Theology (AGST) campus (since converted to Malawi Assemblies of God University (Magu). He and Rev Benito Chisamba (the incumbent deputy president of Malawi Assemblies of God and senior pastor of Bethsaida Falls Church) were part of the first contingent of students (including the author) who enrolled into the newly introduced Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree programme at AGST. The programme was conducted under the auspices of Global University, USA, and administered locally at AGST as its local branch.

Upon the successful completion of his studies in 1999, Banda and his family pastored at Area 24 Assemblies of God Church in Lilongwe – a church which he and his wife resurrected, revived and grew while he was still a student.

The church had 13 members when the Bandas arrived. When they finally left after six years of full-time shepherding, the church had multiplied exponentially to more than 300 members.


From Area 24, Banda and his family were transferred to Kawale Assemblies of God, where they pastored for yet another six years before they accepted to oversee and pastor Victory Temple in Area 25. Nelson remained the senior pastor of Victory Temple until his sudden death on November 17 2022 – having shepherded the church for 11 years.

Offices Held at National Level

In 2004, Nelson got elected into the National Executive Council (Nec) of the Malawi Assemblies of God as treasurer general. He held this position for two consecutive terms (2004 -2012).

Thereafter, during the General Council of August 2012, he was unanimously voted in as deputy president, next in line to none other than Rev Dr Lazarus Chakwera, who had been re-elected as president of the Assemblies of God Church for the 25th time consecutively.

However, Dr. Chakwera (now Malawi State President) resigned as President in May 2013. The resignation of Dr Chakwera as president catapulted Banda into functioning and executing both the duties of president and deputy president in an interim capacity as the church waited for official and formal elections to be held to choose a new president.


Banda came from Chafisi Village, Traditional Authority M’mbelwa in Mzimba District. He was the first born of Aaron and Jonazi Banda in 1952. After him, came two more boys and a girl.

From primary school, Nelson went to Likuni Boys Secondary School. Upon completion of his studies at Likuni, he enrolled in a two-year veterinary training course, which qualified him to work as a veterinary assistant with the Malawi Government. He remained with the Veterinary Department for two years and, then, resigned upon securing a job with Air Malawi. Dissatisfied with his job at Air Malawi, he sought employment with clearing agents Manica.

He worked at Manica for about three years before landing a lucrative position with traveling agents, AMI Rennies. He continued working with AMI Rennies for 15 years.

Conversion and call

Two significant events happened in Banda’s life while working for AMI Rennies that dramatically, and permanently, changed the course of his life.

First, he had a personal life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ. In A-B-C lingo, Banda made a wholehearted decision to convert and become a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of his life.

Secondly, he received God’s unmistakable call to ecclesiastical ministry. To prepare adequately for this ministry, he gave up his lucrative job at AMI Rennies to enroll as a student at Assemblies of God School of Theology (AGST) in 1995.

As intimated above, he became part of the first group of students to get enrolled into the newly introduced Bachelor of Arts degree programme at AGST. The next four years of Banda life were some of the busiest. He found himself wearing quite a number of hats– husband, father, student, pastor, teacher, counselor and mentor.

Although Banda was born in a Christian family, he never knew Jesus Christ personally as savior and Lord until he was 30 years of age. Most people have come to know Jesus either by somebody witnessing to them or hearing God’s word at some Christian retreat or conference or their parents leading them.

Not Banda. Neither anybody witnessed to him nor took him to some revival meeting of any kind. Nelson came to know Jesus by simply reading a tract which he either picked up from the street or somebody gave it to him. After reading the tract, the Holy Spirit convicted and convinced him to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

This milestone incident that changed his life happened in 1982. From 1982 forward, the man never looked back until his sudden departure last November 2022.

By the time Banda came to living faith, he had already met and married the girl of his dreams, Rebecca Mzumara, who he lived and spent life with for more than 44 years.

That is Banda in a nutshell. He was a man of deep convictions. Once he made a decision over anything he believed to be right, he would go for it unreservedly and wholeheartedly. Nobody, and nothing, would dissuade him to change his mind to go in a different direction. One saw this trait of the man manifesting all over the place: schoolwork, job, marriage, Christian faith and ministry.

Nelson Banda – the man of God

The last time the author saw and met with Banda was in 2016. He invited me to be the guest speaker at his church, Victory Temple. After the service, he and Mama Banda extended an invitation to me to have lunch with them at their house– which, admittedly, was a great honour. It was the first time for me to fellowship with him in a home setting. Even in his own house, Banda was not different from any other settings the writer had encountered him; he was cool, calculated, calm, quiet and reserved. Conversation was scanty with him.

What he lacked in voluminous words he made up in plentiful laughter and smiles. During the visit to the Bandas’ house, the writer asked him a question: “How would you answer a man who complains that Assemblies of God as a church emphasises ‘tithes’ too much. They even take off people from church membership if they don’t give tithes”.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he answered promptly and calmly: “Roy, go tell that man to join a church that doesn’t emphasise tithes or even require it. Those types of churches are all over the place. He can easily find one”, end of conversation. Wow! what an answer. Simple, yet full of deep wisdom.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker