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, 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.

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 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 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 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. They have three children–Noah, Joseph, and Gracie.


  1. Pingback: Surprised by Love Friday, May 18 « The Hearth
  2. L. Marijke McCandless · March 20, 2015

    I too appreciate the healing and spiritual aspect of storytelling, and especially appreciate the connection to the hearth. Thank you for your beautiful work.

  3. John Foxlee · February 6, 2016

    A small point, but it’s the Church in Wales, which we’ll be welcoming Mark back in the diocese of St Asaph with open arms this Spring.

  4. Elizabeth kurecka · June 6, 2016

    Just read your letter to Annie that Anne Lamint posted on Facebook. You wrote everything that I believe. What church do you belong to? I can’t seem to find one that has the beliefs of doctrine I can follow. Thank you.

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