Every school begins in the mind before it becomes a reality. The West Virginia School of Preaching had its beginning in the good heart of the late and lamented R. C. Oliver, who upon his retirement from Freed-Hardeman University remarked how good it would be to have a school to train preachers in West Virginia. He planted the seed in the minds of Wirt Cook, Charles Pugh III and W. Terry Varner. Soon thereafter, these men contacted Emanuel Daugherty to become involved in this great undertaking. These four men began looking for an eldership of the Lord’s church to take on this project. Brother Denver Cooper suggested that the elders at the Hillview Terrace church might be interested, and after a meeting with them, they eagerly took on the work of having the school in Moundsville. Having been asked by the elders to serve as the first Director, Daugherty resigned his work with the Dewey Avenue church and moved to Moundsville in February 1994. The school’s first classes were held in the Hillview meeting house in the fall of 1994. The elders of the church in that first year were Paul Harris, Howard Sole, Walter Masters, Harold Jones, and Arnie Goodnight.
The first school session opened with six full-time students in August of 1994 and a faculty of Wirt Cook, Denver Cooper, Emanuel Daugherty, Charles Pugh III, W. Terry Varner, D. Gene West, Bert Jones, and Steve Stevens. In the fall of 1995 the first annual Victory Lectureship was conducted with Texas evangelist and editor of the Firm Foundation, Buster Dobbs, as the keynote speaker. The growth and progress of WVSOP caused the overseers to make plans for a new facility to house the school. Property just east of the Hillview church parking lot was purchased and ground was broken in September of 1997–a new school building was under way. The new school was very generously supported, especially by the Hillview Terrace members, and this new facility greeted the students as they began the 1998 fall term.
Many of the wonderful, faithful elders, deacons and members who helped to establish the school have gone on to their eternal reward–God bless their labors! Directors, faculty members and staff have changed–God bless them for their loyal service! Emanuel Daugherty resigned as Director after nine years and many hours of service and many miles of travel. The Directorship was turned over to Denver Cooper in 2003, and in 2010 brother Jefferson Sole came to work with WVSOP as Associate Director. However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Above all our goal remains the same– to teach and train men for the greatest work in the world–preaching and saving the souls of men and women, and building up the church of Christ all over the world. The Lord has blessed the Hillview Terrace church of Christ and the West Virginia School of Preaching, and we are confident he will continue to do so as we strive together to carry His gospel to the world.