Thousands Celebrate Life of Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty

An estimated 12,000 people gathered this week for the memorial service of a megachurch pastor who succumbed to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma just one month after he was diagnosed.

Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty, whose network of Bible schools spans across 911 campuses in 93 countries, passed away on Nov. 22 at MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston.

He was 57.

On Monday, thousands packed the Mabee Center of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., to remember the pastor of the 17,000-large Victory Christian Center who helped plant ministries around the world. Over the course of 30 years of ministry, Daugherty founded Victory Christian School, Victory World Missions Training Center, the Tulsa Dream Center, and the International Victory Bible Institute, which has more than 900 campuses worldwide.

"I don't think I've been touched by any human being as I was touched by Billy Joe," commented ORU founder Oral Roberts in a video message presented Monday.

"His going is a great loss for us on a personal level, but his life is still with us," he continued. "I loved him next to my son, Richard."

In October 2007, Daugherty was named interim president of ORU after then-president Richard Roberts stepped down in the wake of allegations that he misused university funds. Daugherty also served on several boards, including ORU's, and as Oklahoma director for Christians United for Israel.

When he died last month, Daugherty left behind his legacy as well as his wife, Sharon, his children – Sarah and Caleb Wehrli, Ruthie and Adam Sanders, John Daugherty, and Paul and Ashley Daugherty – and his mother Iru Daugherty.

"We are sad to lose the presence of our pastor, shepherd, father, and brother," leaders of Victory Christian Center expressed in a statement. "We are thankful, however, for his life, love, and influence on the individuals and ministries he inspired for the last 30 years."

In lieu of flowers, Daughtery's family has requested that donations be made to Victory Christian Center Missions to continue advancing Daugherty's vision and ministry.

Among those who attended Monday's memorial service were Bethany World Prayer Center pastor Larry Stockstill and Lakewood Church co-founder Dodie Osteen.