2010 Future Preacher Training Camp

Peter Ray Cole

There will always be a great need for sound Gospel preaching (Mark 16:15; 1 Timothy 4:1-5). For over 16 years, the West Virginia School of Preaching has helped to address this need by instilling in its students biblical knowledge and loyalty to the New Testament pattern.

WVSOP recently undertook a new initiative to reach out to the next generation of church leadership. On August 7, 2010, the School held its first Future Preacher Training Camp. The one-day camp was designed to challenge and train young men who want to prepare themselves for leadership in the Lord’s church. The thirteen young men who participated received over five hours of instruction from faculty members of the WVSOP.

Jeff Sole, newly appointed associate director of WVSOP and 2008 graduate, welcomed the participants and spoke to them during the morning chapel session on the topic of “Preparing Yourself Now to Be a Gospel Preacher.” Jeff briefed the crowd about the rigorous study and dedication needed to complete the two-year curriculum at the WVSOP.

When chapel was concluded, the young men left the meeting house of the Hillview Terrace congregation (sponsoring congregation for the WVSOP) and walked up the hill to the WVSOP campus with their instructors for the day. The first class, “Context: Interpreting and Teaching the Bible,” was conducted by Steve Snider, faculty member. Students then participated in reciting scriptures from memory. Prior to the one-day camp, students were given memory work to prepare. Many faculty members and parents commented favorably on the remarkable job the young men did.

D. Gene West, pulpit minister for the Hillview Terrace congregation and WVSOP instructor, led a class on sermon preparation. Following this class the students were served a lunch provided by the Hillview Terrace congregation. The next class, taught by faculty member Terry Jones, was an interactive session on homiletics, and students learned more about the presentation of a Gospel sermon. Five students— Jordan Barr, Zach Hammond, Benjamin Harris, Jesse Phillips, and Michael Jones—were then given an opportunity to present a brief 10-15 minute talk. For some of the speakers, this was their first time presenting a lesson before a crowd. The opportunity to be critiqued by the preachers present served as a great opportunity to receive advice on their lessons and presentations.

An interactive song leading and public reading class was delivered by Andy Robison. Each student was given the opportunity to demonstrate the techniques he was taught. Class time ended with “Introduction to Greek,” with Steve Stevens. Ladies from the Hillview Terrace congregation then served the faculty and students dinner. The day was concluded with a devotional led by Peter Ray Cole, 1998 WVSOP graduate, encouraging the young men to prepare themselves for leadership in the Lord’s Church.

The Restoration Movement advocated in the Upper Ohio River Valley over 150 years ago by men such as Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, and many others still thrives. The WVSOP continues to provide opportunity in different ways to encourage and prepare men to preach the Gospel. If you would like more information about the WVSOP, please contact Denver Cooper, director, at 304-845-8001.

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