Thursday, October 30, 2003

I have just heard that one of Greenbelt's finest friends and most popular
contributors, Mike Yaconelli, was killed in a car crash last night.

Mike first came to Greenbelt in the mid-eighties and kept coming back - he
has probably spoken to more people at the festival than anyone. We have
never had a more animated and entertaining speaker. Even this last August he
was still packing venues out, still inspiring people to know that they could
make a difference.

Like Karla, his wife, he loved the Festival and was a real kindred spirit,
part of our gang. He would do almost anything for us, particularly when we
had hard times. Many of us became firm friends and we will miss him hugely.

Think of him when you say your prayers, think of Karla and his kids and
grandchildren. We can be grateful that his bright spirit and mischievous
soul came our way.

Here is the message from the Youth Specialties website, the youth
organisation he founded and ran.

The Tragic Loss of Mike Yaconelli

Mike Yaconelli

El Cajon, CA, October 30, 2003 - Mike Yaconelli, owner and co-founder of
Youth Specialties, was involved in a fatal car accident late Wednesday
night, October 29, outside his hometown of Yreka, in northern California. He
passed away early Thursday morning, October 30. In addition to founding
Youth Specialties, an organization dedicated to equipping and training youth
workers through events and resources, Mike was the founder and general
editor of The Door (formerly The Wittenberg Door) and the author of numerous
books, including Dangerous Wonder and Messy Spirituality. Mike was also a
contributing columnist to Youthworker journal.

“Mike was the incarnation of his book titles, Dangerous Wonder and Messy
Spirituality. He lived a life of wonder and amazement at God’s grace. He
never claimed to be perfect; he just lived as he was—a man after God’s own
heart,” said Tic Long, president of events at Youth Specialties.

Mike’s life and work have inspired thousands of people, most notably youth
workers, through his writing and speaking. Mike exuded a passion for
following Christ and living out that faith in everyday life. Perhaps Mike’s
greatest contribution was his ability to encourage and inspire youth workers
for almost 30 years at the National Youth Workers Convention.

Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties, recently introduced Mike
at the National Youth Workers Convention this way: “I guess I could say he
is a wonderfully complex group of seeming contradictions. Many of you know
that Mike is extremely playful; and while many playful people are only that,
Mike is a deep well—a contemplative man with a mushy pastor's heart. Mike is
one of those rare people who truly lives in the upside-down kingdom of God;
he values mercy, change and truth (even when it's uncomfortable)…He's a
reluctant prophet, and reminds me of Jeremiah, but more fun. In my
imagination, they even look alike.”