According to a statement from Relevant magazine, the owner and co-founder of Youth Specialties, Mike Yaconelli, was killed in a car accident last night. If you don’t know Mike Yaconelli, he’s kind of a round, bushy-headed guy with way too much energy and enthusiasm. From what little I knew of him, he put that energy into creative ways to move the church forward and encourage youth pastors. The guy was a little out in left field, and that’s exactly where most Christians should be.
This is quite a loss, especially for his family, the church he pastors, and Youth Specialties. I guess God knows what he’s doing, but it never quite makes sense to us.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know Mike that well. I heard him speak a few times at the lone Youth Specialties conference I attended, and I always tried to read his columns when I could. I snatched up one of his books, Messy Spirituality, of course I’ve yet to have time to read it. I’ll probably dive into it next, furthering my tradition of reading about famous people posthumously.
I also e-mailed Mike a few times and interviewed him once in connection with One Life Revolution. Last I checked, the project had raised more than $700,000, but that’s only money. What’s more important is the people who were motivated to become involved and do something. Mike was quick to point out research showing that only 3% of evangelicals felt like helping to fight AIDS was a worthwhile venture. I think God has used this latest effort Mike was involved in to change some minds on that issue.
All of this while the hills around San Diego are burning.