OTTERBURNE, MB – Those of us who live in Southern Manitoba know Mike Thom as CHVN 95.1 FM’s radio morning show host. Listeners appreciate his upbeat and fun-loving personality. While he views part of his job is to encourage believers, he also sees his role as an evangelistic opportunity to share the good news of Jesus daily to those who haven’t heard the gospel.
While many consider the radio station as a resource for the local Church, the team at CHVN also hear from a wide range of listeners, including men and women in prison as well as those recovering from addictions at Teen Challenge. They hear from people who stumble on to the station at ‘the right time’ and hear a song, story or word that impacts their life in that moment.
Mike graduated from Providence with a BA in Youth Leadership and a minor in Bible & Theology Studies (2009). Proclaiming the good news of Jesus is his passion. He has experienced firsthand God’s life changing power. As a young man, his addiction to drugs spiraled his life out of control. He lost jobs (including his first job in radio) and dropped out of university. Reaching rock bottom, Mike planned to end his life. It was during this time that he says, “The Holy Spirit intervened and I surrendered to God.”
Not knowing what to do next, an acquaintance gave Mike an admissions package to Providence and he applied. At first, his application was denied, but he tenaciously pleaded with the Admissions Counsellor for a week. He knew he needed to get away from his current situation, or he would never get clean. Mike said it was by God’s grace that his application was approved, “I might not be alive today but for that decision.”
He enrolled in the Business program but shared that “God had other plans.” On his first day at Prov, he walked into the wrong class and heard the professor talk about helping and guiding young people through their growing years which immediately piqued his interest. (He also happened to notice a very cute girl in the class.) He switched his major to ‘Youth Leadership.‘ It was here that Mike was mentored by professors, encouraged and cared for – all within the Providence community – which he describes as being “huge” for his personal and spiritual growth.
At the start of his second year, he remembers one day driving into Niverville and literally crying out to God, asking how he was going to pay his tuition and bills. He drove by a church sign that read: “This Week – Mike Fast.” Even though he realized the sign was announcing the name of the speaker that week, he still responded as if God was speaking to him personally. So he fasted and prayed. (He also began dating the ‘cute girl,’ Katie, who he saw in that first class. She is now his wife and the mother of their two children.)
That same week, he remembers telling Katie that he didn’t believe he was called to ministry but rather he felt he was paying penance for his past. The next day, when he checked his mailbox, he found a note. It had a name and number on it. He didn’t recognize the name but decided to call any way. The man who answered said he was a pastor in Winnipeg, and he was interested in interviewing him for a youth pastor position. Mike was totally honest about his past, sharing that he was 14-months sober at the time of the interview. He didn’t think anybody would hire him, but to his surprise, they did. His prayer for finances was answered at the same time his role in ministry began. He spent the next 10 years at Willowlake Baptist Church, first as a Youth Pastor and then Lead Pastor.
While Mike was enjoying his part time work in the church, he still had a love and passion for radio. In his last year at Providence, he began talking to God about his future, mentioning his love for both the church and radio. “I love ministry, but I’ve always loved radio. It’s one of my truest loves. There is nothing like it!”
In the fall of 2010, CHVN 95.1 and Ignite 107 announced a ‘Who Wants to Be a Radio DJ’ contest which Mike entered. He won the contest and became the morning cohost. He was using his passion, gift and love for radio and ministry, working part time at both. Mike was able to use his pastoral and theological training at Providence to be successful in both these jobs.
In 2016, Mike moved to radio full-time and became CHVN 95.1 FM’s Program Director while maintaining his morning cohost position. He says a large part of his job is to proclaim the good news of Jesus daily to those who need to hear it. With the pandemic going on, people are all over the map on how to deal with the time we are in, and he feels called to remind people to be a light in a dark world. “Prov gave me all the tools I needed for everything to fall into place for God’s call on my life.”