Michael Hodges, son Chris Hodges, founder and senior pastor of the nearly 40,000-member Church of the Highlands in Alabama, returned to the pulpit this month in what appears to be his first public engagement since he was removed as pastor of the church’s Greystone campus for a “moral failing” just over a year ago.
An AL.com report said Michael, his father and brother, David, spoke at separate campuses of the Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, from Feb. 16 – 17 during an event billed “Hodges Takeover.”
Michael reportedly spoke at the Lake Norman campus of the church while his father spoke at the main campus. His brother who is a member of the Freedom House congregation spoke at the South End campus.
A summary of Michael’s address to the church was not immediately available when The Christian Post reached out to Freedom House on Tuesday and representatives said they did not record it. Church of the Highlands representatives could not also immediately confirm whether or not Michael’s Freedom House engagement was a formal re-introduction to public ministry when contacted by CP.
Church of the Highlands did not disclose what Michael’s “moral failing” was in the fall of 2017 when he was stripped of his leadership responsibilities, but after his father announced his removal, all his social media accounts as well as at least one belonging to his wife, Katie, were disabled. The church has also scrubbed all references to him from their website.
The Rev. Larry Stockstill, who took over from his father as pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, told AL.com that Chris Hodges had “asked me to take charge of the process of bringing discipline and long-term restoration to Michael.”
Prior to being appointed the Greystone campus pastor, Michael had been on Church of the Highlands’ staff since 2015, serving in capacities such as director of ministry partnership and placement, and member of the Highlands College Team, which teaches students at the church’s ministry training program, AL.com said.
In introducing Chris Hodges to speak at the main campus on Feb. 17, Freedom House Pastor Troy Maxwell called him a longtime friend.
“He’s been a friend of our family for a very, very long time,” Maxwell said. “We met playing golf. He’s been a mentor to me, a friend to me, golfing partner. He’s influenced our church. He’s influenced churches all over the world.”
Hodges thanked Maxwell for inviting his sons to speak and said no other pastor had ever given his sons an opportunity like that.
“My favorite people like my favorite people,” Hodges said in response.
“Your pastor today has not only invited me to speak but two of my other sons, the one that lives here and one that lives with us in Birmingham, are speaking at the other two locations,” he continued.
“There’s never been a pastor in the history of my life who has given my sons, so thank God for the opportunity to stand here but thank you sir for loving my sons the way you do. You’re a true mentor, you’re a dear friend. I mean it. If you want to love somebody, the best way to love somebody is to love the people they love,” Chris Hodges added.