Mike Yaconelli goes to heaven


I am grieved beyond words to hear this announcment from Youth Specialties:
“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.”

Thanks Jason Clark for the news.
I got to hang with Mike just 8 weeks ago at Greenbelt Festival in England. It was the first time I had actually met him in person. He was hugely popular at Greenbelt but always had time for people. He was very encouraging to me. I shared with him what I saw in the emerging culture and of the different movements going on. He had lots of time for me and even asked to spend more time. I got to pray for him right before he spoke. I put my hand on his shoulder to pray for him and I looked up at the thousands of people in the grandstands, and I felt God say that he wanted to Mike to speak “straight up” to the people – to tell it like it really was, to tell them exactly who they were. Maybe his humor was just HONESTY. Maybe he carried part of how God sees us.

He made jokes about his age, connected with everyone, connected them with God. The Door was also fantastic. It is still a model of Christian satire and irony – something that we desperately need in the church. We need to laugh at ourselves and Mike Yaconelli showed us how.
We will miss you, Mike. May many more rise up in your place.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Very touching tribute, Andrew. I never met Mike, but through his writings he conveyed the humor and sense of wonder and love for Jesus at a level I hope to achieve.

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for sharing that personal moment, Andrew.

  • Laura says:

    I met Mike at the Youth Assembly for the Church of Scotland in September 2003, i was inspired by what he told. I am currently reading his book which is showing me a different side to my religion. Mike was a great asset to the weekend one that i will remeber. Sympathy goes to Karly and the rest of his family.
    God Bless

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