Stephen Dale Stroope received his first degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1976. Just over 35 years later, he will be distinguished with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from HSU during the December 15, 2012, graduation ceremonies in Behrens Auditorium.
Stroope was called to pastor Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, in 1980 shortly after its founding. Since that time, he has led a congregation that has grown from 53 at its inception in 1979 to more than 11,000 today.
Stroope graduated from Hardin-Simmons University only three years before taking on the pastorate at Lake Pointe. With a clear calling to become a pastor early in his life, he was licensed to the ministry by Bethany Baptist Church in Dallas at the age of 15 in 1968.
Steve entered HSU in 1971 after graduating from Samuell High School in Dallas. At HSU, he majored in psychology with a minor in Bible, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
While a student at HSU, he was active in Baptist Student Union and was ordained at View Baptist Church in 1974 while serving as pastor there. He served as a speaker for youth banquets, crusades, and revivals in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Minnesota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Indiana. He also served as Young Life director for Taylor County from 1972 to 1974, was minister of youth and youth education at First Baptist Church in Abilene from 1974 to 1978, and was associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas from 1978 to 1980.
After graduating from HSU, he went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1981.
Today, in addition to his pastorate, Steve is a sought-after speaker, both nationally and internationally, and has co-authored three books: Money Matters in the Church, It Starts at Home, and Tribal Church. He also provides coaching to partnership churches and pioneer missionaries in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, Cuba, Russia, Mexico, France, South Africa, and North America.
It has been said of Steve that his spiritual gifts are evangelism, leadership, teaching, and talking to strangers on airplanes. He has a passion for seeing that the Gospel is presented to unchurched people in a culturally relevant style without compromising its truth. With a belief that one of the keys to an effective church is keeping a balance between evangelism and discipleship, Steve is a strong supporter of the small group ministry at Lake Pointe.
Stroope married fellow HSU student, Marsha Rimmer, who graduated in 1975 shortly before their first daughter, Rachael, was born. They welcomed their second daughter, Lydia, in 1977.
Steve and Marsha live in Rockwall, and in addition to their two daughters, have three grandsons and one granddaughter.
He will be presented with the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree during the 10 a.m. graduation ceremony at HSU. Some 232 students will graduate, Saturday, December 15, during the two ceremonies.