Dr Mike Thorburn is the lead pastor of Bayside Community Church. He and his wife Dawn started Bayside in 2003.
Bayside began in 2003 with a group of 30 as the redevelopment of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Church. He is best known for his straightforward method of Biblical teaching which combines truth, humor and practical application to create a message that is relevant and easy to understand.
Mike was born in London, Ontario, Canada. He lives in San Jose with his wife Dawn and they have three children. Mike has a Doctor of Biblical Studies degree from Masters International Divinity School, Indiana, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Heritage Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Canada, a Bachelor of Theology degree from London Baptist Bible College in London and an environmental chemistry degree in Air/Water Resources Field Technology from Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology in London.
Here’s some personal info from Mike:
I became a Christian during my first year of university in 1980. Up to that point I would describe myself as being pretty much anti-God, anti-religion and especially anti-church. I was a good person, I had friends but I hated anything to do with religion and in my heart I began to realize that I was “a lover of things and a user of people.” Despite all kinds of academic and athletic success I had this deep, inner emptiness.
In November of 1979 someone gave my father a small Bible. He didn’t want it and gave it to me. That night I read the book of Matthew and wondered if there really were people who were Christians the way Jesus taught and not just the hypocrites I saw. I started attending a friend’s church on Sunday nights in January of 1980 and watched the people. I can’t remember the music or the sermons — I just remember watching the people, wondering if they were genuine or pretenders. On Tuesday, February 5th my father called me into the family room and asked me why I’d been going to church. After telling me that religion was a waste of time he forbid that I ever attend church again. That night he died in a car accident on his way home. The next Sunday at church I remember standing up and saying, “I don’t know how but I know that God is working in my life.” It was a few weeks later that I began to understand from the Bible that anyone — raised in church, not raised in church, good, bad, indifferent — can become a follower of Jesus by sincerely asking God to come into your life and giving Him control of your life. That night I prayed for forgiveness, I asked for God’s power to turn my life around and I asked Christ to take control of my life. Since then I’ve learned that there are lots of “Christians” but very few people who want to be like Christ — not the robe, beard and sandals thing — but the “fruit of the Spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
After graduating from college with a degree in environmental chemistry I began working for 3M Canada. I had been a volunteer with Youth For Christ for three years and in the summer of 1984 I was encouraged by our youth pastor to go to Bible College and study to become a youth pastor. That began a whole new journey.