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Our Pastor

Tim Cruse grew up in a broken home.  He became the head of the house at a very young age – starting public work at age 12.  Working as many as three jobs at a time, he made sure the monthly bills were paid and helped care for his struggling family as they grappled daily with the negative effects of drugs and alcohol.


At the age of 15, he began working at the Stowe A-way Fish House in Concord, NC.  By age 17, he was named the manager – helping to give oversight to the employees, the facility, the deposits, and assisting with payroll.  He was also excelling academically in his public high school at the same time.  Elected President of the Student Body and of the National Honor Society for his senior year at North Rowan High School in Spencer, NC, he earned an academic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and one to Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.


During Christmas break of his senior year, he purposed to start attending church the first Sunday of the new year “to find out why God put me in this world.”  He trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior on January 4, 1981 at New Hope Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC, under the ministry of Pastor David Harrison.  Surrendering his whole life to the Lord, God called him to preach on February 22, 1981.  Instead of pursuing a career in either business or law, he yielded to God’s call.


Pastor Cruse met his wife, Rebekah (youngest daughter of Pastor & Mrs. Bobby Leonard of Monroe, NC), during his senior year at Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem, NC.  They were married on February 21, 1987.  Mrs. Cruse is our church pianist and has faithfully served with her husband these years.  God has blessed them with seven sons, three daughters, five daughters-in-law, one grandson, three granddaughters.



After working with the young people and serving on staff at his home church, Bro. Cruse became the Pastor of Shining Light Baptist Church on March 7, 1990.  Since coming to Shining Light, Pastor Cruse has led the church to expand its outreach and discipleship efforts, and its campus from 5 to 75 acres, with an additional 165-acre children’s home property 15 miles south of the church.  He has also started Shining Light Baptist Academy (K3–12), Shining Lights Preschool, a printing ministry – Shining Light Publishing & Shining Light Inspirations, a radio ministry – 88.1 FM, a bus ministry, several chapel ministries, a church-planting ministry – All Nations Baptist Mission, and a ministry that provides housing to single mothers with children – Fresh Start of Union County.  In addition, he has started the Harbour House Shoppes to help fund our children’s home, The Shepherd’s Place.


Pastor Cruse has preached in a number of churches at home and abroad, has written several booklets, gospel tracts and poems, and has had articles featured in Christian periodicals.  He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina Christian School Association and is also a board member of Ambassador Baptist College.  He is a 1986 graduate of Piedmont Baptist College with a Bachelor of Theology Degree and a Minor in Youth Ministry.  He has been honored with Doctor of Divinity Degrees from Ambassador Baptist College and The Crown College.


Tim Cruse preaches with conviction and compassion.  He believes in being genuine and being willing to pay the price to do God’s work God’s way.  God has taught him many life lessons first-hand and has given him a true pastor’s heart.  He loves all people and sees their value as made in the image of God and those for whom Jesus died. He believes, concerning the influence of one’s life, “the way to live after you die is to die while you live” – die to self and live for others.  His life’s verses are Jeremiah 18:6, “…cannot I do with you as this potter?  saith the LORD.  Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…” and Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Read the latest from our pastor at timcruse.com