YREKA, Calif. -- Mike Yaconelli, owner and co-founder of Youth Specialties, passed away early Oct. 30 in a car accident, which happened near the town of Yreka, California where he lived serving as a volunteer pastor at the local Grace Community Church. The truck that Yaconelli was driving left the highway and hit a light pole. Police still does not know the cause of this accident, how his truck left the highway.
Yaconelli, 61, is one of the major figures in America who devoted himself for development of modern youth ministry. Youth Specialties is a San Diego-based ministry dedicated to equipping and training youth workers through events and resources. Youth Specialities has sponsored the National Youth Workers Convention for almost 30 years.
Yaconelli also was the founder and general editor of The Door and he has written numerous books and contributed himself as a columnist of Youthworker journal.
"Mike was the incarnation of his book titles, Dangerous Wonder and Messy Spirituality," said Tic Long, president of events at Youth Specialties. "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."
Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties, recently introduced Yaconelli at the National Youth Workers Convention as "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."
Although there is no physical presence of Yaconelli any more, the wonderful works he produced for God and his people will remain forever in everyone’s hearts.