About

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“You will find Mark Yaconelli to be a wise and patient teacher with a lovely sense of humor. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find direction and validation and a lot of truly great suggestions in his words.”  —Anne Lamott

Mark Yaconelli is a writer, retreat leader, spiritual director, storycatcher, 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 producing personal storytelling events designed to help communities and individuals deepen relationships and cultivate compassion. Through The Hearth, Mark has produced and led events for The Boys and Girls Club, The Ford Family Foundation, Asante Hospice Services, Oregon Community Foundation, Austin Theological Seminary, The Church in Wales, and many other towns and agencies across the United States and United Kingdom.

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 worked with Dr. Frank Rogers and Dr. Andrew Dreitcer to design training programs and facilitate 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. He has been a retreat leader and/or keynote speaker for agencies such as 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 events 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 Seminary, a project that sought to test the integration of contemplative practice and awareness within youth working 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 JournalABC World News TonightNew York Times OnlineWashington Post OnlineChristianity 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 Between the Listening and Telling: How Stories Can Save Us (Broadleaf 2022), 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 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. They have three grown children–Noah, Joseph, and Gracie.

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