Mark Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, storyteller, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, disco dancer, husband, and father. He is the founder and executive director of The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks, a registered non-profit that assists cities and service-based agencies in employing personal storytelling practices to help communities and individuals deepen relationships, address injustices, and cultivate compassion. Through The Hearth, Mark has produced and led events for The Boys and Girls Club, The Mexican American Cultural Center of Austin, The Ford Family Foundation, Asante Hospice Services, The Oregon Department of Human Services, Austin Theological Seminary, The Church of Wales, and many other towns and agencies across the United States and United Kingdom.
For five years Mark was the co-founder and program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion where he helped develop a unique set of practices and training programs for assisting individuals, organizations, and communities in creating genuine peace, healing, and reconciliation that change the world for good. While at the CEC Mark designed skills-based training programs and led retreats for agencies such as Prison Fellowship Canada, Religion and Politics, and The Mutare Pastoral Care and Counseling Center (Zimbabwe).
Mark is in demand as a speaker and retreat leader. He speaks to a variety of audiences each year across North America and the United Kingdom including The Greenbelt Arts Festival, Compassion International, The National Youth Workers Convention (U.K., Canada, and U.S.), The Salvation Army, The Global Gathering for Spirituality and Justice, The National Presbyterian Youth Triennium, and many other events and organizations. See his calendar for upcoming engagements or contacts for booking information.
Mark spent 20 years working with young people and the people who serve them (parents, youth workers, social workers, pastors) in congregational, camp, and conference settings. In 1996, he co-founded the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project at San Francisco Theological Seminar, a project that sought to test the integration of contemplative practice and awareness within congregational youth programs. He directed that project from 1996 to 2006.
Interviews and profiles of Mark Yaconelli’s work have appeared in the national media including the Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Tonight, New York Times Online, Washington Post Online, Christianity Magazine, and CBS Radio. Feature articles on his work with teens have appeared in The Christian Century, Immerse, Group Magazine, Youthworker Journal, and many other Christian publications in the U.S. and U.K..
Mark is the author of The Gift of Hard Things (IVP 2016), Wonder, Fear, and Longing (Zondervan 2009), Downtime (Zondervan 2008), Growing Souls (2007 Zondervan), and Contemplative Youth Ministry (2006 Youth Specialties).
Mark Yaconelli holds an MA in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union and a Graduate Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Mark lives in Southern Oregon with his wife Jill, together they have three children–Noah, Joseph, and Grace.