Spring commencement exercises set for May 7 in Trojan Arena

Church of the Highlands pastor will provide keynote address at two ceremonies.

Church of the Highlands pastor will provide keynote address at two ceremonies.

Founding and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands Chris Hodges will provide the keynote address at commencement exercises at Troy University on Friday, May 7.

Two separate commencement exercises will be held in Trojan Arena, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Guests must escort the graduate into the arena. Overflow seating will be available in Veterans Memorial Stadium, with the ceremony being shown on the stadium’s video boards.

Graduates from the College of Education, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Communication and Fine Arts will take part in a 10 a.m. ceremony. A 3 p.m. ceremony will feature graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Sorrell College of Business.

In all, some 939 students from 30 U.S. states and territories and 17 countries are expected to participate in the exercises.

Church of the Highlands Senior Pastor Chris Hodges
Chris Hodges

Known for his relevant teaching style and his passion for raising up global leaders to fulfill the Great Commission, Hodges leads a congregation spanning 23 campuses with some 60,000 people attending more than 70 worship services each weekend. With a focus on helping people realize the spiritual journey that God has for them, Hodges leads people to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference. 

He co-founded the Association of Related Churches (ARC) in 2001, which trains more than 1,000 church planters every year (arcchurches.com). To date, ARC has planted over 940 churches all across the USA and now averages approximately 100 new churches each year. 

Hodges also founded a coaching network called Grow (growleader.com) specializing in training and resourcing pastors and churches to help them break barriers and reach their growth potential. Each year more than 4,000 pastors attend sold-out conferences and roundtables in America, Europe, Australia, and Asia led by Hodges and his team. These events train pastors and leaders in a simple yet systematic model based on his bestselling books What’s Next? and Fresh Air. Grow currently serves over 15,000 churches in more than 100 countries.  

His other books include The Daniel DilemmaFour Cups, and his newest book, Out of the Cave: Stepping into the Light When Depression Darkens What You See, a study of depression focused on the life of the prophet Elijah.

As Chancellor of Highlands College (highlandscollege.com), an accredited two-year ministry training college that gives students a chance to receive hands-on ministry training in a healthy college environment, Hodges is committed to placing leaders of character and competence into the harvest field. Students are currently being developed in areas such as Pastoral Leadership, Student Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Missions, Technical Arts, Worship, and Creative Arts. 

Hodges also serves on the Board of Directors of EQUIP, a global leadership training organization founded by John Maxwell. EQUIP has trained over 6 million leaders in 196 countries.

His educational background includes a BA in Management from Colorado Christian University and a Master of Ministry degree from Southwestern Christian University. 

Hodges and his wife, Tammy, have five children and six grandchildren and live in Birmingham, Alabama, where Church of the Highlands began in 2001. 

The ceremonies will be streamed live at https://www.troy.edu/live/