Remembering Mike

Today is the anniversary of the death of one those people who have had a special effect, a deep impact on my spiritual life – Mike Yaconelli.  If you’re in youth ministry you probably know his name.  Co-founder of Youth Specialties, author of “Messy Spirituality” and “Dangerous Wonder”.  Books that I can not read at night because they get me so riled up that I can’t sleep.  He inspired me and still inspires me.

Mike Yaconelli and friend (and I love the shirt)

Every time I read his books or watch the video below I want to laugh and I want to cry.  Laugh for the joy and energy of the faith he expresses and cry because I know I’m still not the kind of youth worker he pointed towards.

Want to know what I want my faith to look like?  Want to know what I want my ministry to look like?  Want to know what I want my church to look like?  Watch the video below.  That’s who I want to be.

I got to meet Mike.  Youth Specialties was doing an event near Pittsburgh and I took the chance to drive down and see what this was all about.  At the end of his presentation Mike stood at the edge of the stage and greeted everyone who wanted to talk with him.  By the time I got up to him I was so choked with emotion I could barely talk.  I shook his hand and thanked him.  The line about a rule forbidding playing hide and seek in the organ pipes could have come from me, so I smile every time I hear it.  I don’t remember what I said to him only that he was warm and gracious despite the fact that I was the 30 or 40th person in that line.  I don’t get real “star struck” but that is one of the great moments in memory for me.

All these years later he still chokes me up.

Thanks Mike.  I’ll keep working on being Wonderously Messy.

“I just want to be remembered as a person who loved God, who served others more than he served himself, who was trying to grow in maturity and stability. I want to have more victories than defeats, yet here I am, almost 60, and I fail on a regular basis.”  Messy Spirituality

Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory  Mike Yaconelli

 (July 24, 1942—October 30, 2003)

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Filed under Faith, Thankful, Youth Ministry

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