On May 21, 2023 Dr. Mike Harder was unanimously affirmed as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Spartanburg and President of ALIGHT formerly The Encouraging Word ministry.

ALIGHT is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit ministry. Supported by people who believe and share in our mission, vision and values. All donations made to ALIGHT are used strictly for the ministry of ALIGHT.


Dr. Mike Harder served as pastor of Kairos at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, TN. Kairos is a worship gathering focused on young adults that God has used to shape Nashville. He previously served as Senior Pastor at The Gospel Church in Nashville, which he planted in 2007. Mike completed his Ph.D. in preaching in 2022 from Southeastern Seminary, writing on the contextual preaching of Jonathan Edwards. He is the author of In Transit: What Do You Do With Your Wait?Jaded, and Deep Faith (coming spring 2024) from Lifeway.

Mike is married to Tabitha, and they have three daughters and a son. Mike was born in Bogota, Colombia as a missionary kid, and he has a heart for preaching the Word of God, loving people, and connecting people to Jesus.


P.H.D | Applied Theology: Preaching

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary



Master of Divinity

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary



Bachelor of Arts | Ministry

University of Northwestern