Thursday, October 30, 2003

The loss of a friend

Just heard the news that Mike Yaconnelli died yesterday in a car crash. Many of you may not know the name but if you've ever used materials from Youth Specialties then you know Mike's work. He founded YS. Known affectionately to most of us as Yac he was a writer, a youth minister, a thinker, a lay minister to a small church in N. California, a father, a husband and more.

I met Yac only once at a Core workshop put on by YS near Pittsburgh. He had sold YS several years before but stayed on working with them. The workshop I attended was one of only a handful or so that he had planned on attending that year so I counted myself lucky. Yac's writing, on the YS home page plus in some youth journals, had always grabbed my attention. He had a knack for getting me to think even if I disagreed with him. His writing was always marked by honesty and a certain wit that appealed to me. I truly felt honored to meet the man that day at the Core.

Yac also worked to create a resource for youth ministry in YS that reached across denominational boundaries. It seemed to focus more on faith that form, more on power of relationships than on the piety of religion. I've never found a piece from YS that couldn't be modified quickly to be useful for my ministry.

I didn't know Yac, really at all, but I feel like I've lost a friend and a mentor. My prayers go out to his family and the folks at his church and YS. Somehow we will all have to carry on without him.


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