I wrote this just days after I meet and heard Mike Yaconelli had passed away. 7yrs ago.:
Words cannot express what I'm feeling right now. Abused. Yet joyful. Rethinking yet dangerous. I'm wondering after all the things I've heard if it was true. A zealot, a rebel, a thinker, a dream catcher. A friend. Mentor. One who did not or thought not he was a pastor yet pastored the smallest and slowest growing church in America yet pastored one of the largest as well. He's been called crazy. Mad. Jokester. Stepping out of the water and into the arms of the one who created him.
Now wonder they call him unthinkable. I mean afterall, how can God use such a crazy, messy, dangerous person and yet many looked to this one as a mentor. Mentor, peer, and friend. A lover of God. Why is it we like to tell stories of Yaconelli because its his stories that fit us too! He lovingly and ultimately was in love with Jesus. He knew Jesus and was Jesus to many.
Why do we love Yaconelli; because we love the God he served. He laughed, cried and were in pain when he was. To some he was son, husband, father, peer, co-worker, and mentor. To a lot of us, he was just plain crazy and a friend of God. He knew youth ministry; but also was concerned for the messiness that the church brought and the work that youthworkers did.
To me knowing Yaconelli was easy. I just needed to know Jesus. After all we only have one life and we need to do something. Mike did this. Youth Specialties may never be the same; yet it will beloved. Why? Because the ultimate "I am" and "Be" is with them.
I wish I could articulate my feelings as well as others. With the mixed emotions I'm going through. Having known Youth Specialties for years. Working with them the last couple of years via the listserv and now as a moderator with the Forum; I feel such a loss; but jealous because Mike is there with the Lord; in the ultimate renovatus. God bless.