Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us


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“Now more than ever, we need a teacher and a book such as this.”-Anne Lamott, New York Times best-selling author

“Mark Yaconelli ushers us into rooms full of authentic stories, where facades fall and suffering and joy are metabolized.
This is an immersive, elegant meditation, an offering of grace.”—Kirsten Powers, CNN Senior Political Analyst and
the New York Times best-selling author

“Mark Yaconelli finds the answer in the heart of the one democracy that we all share—our stories. A lot of things can be taken from us—our houses, our bank accounts, even our lives—but Yaconelli recognizes that nothing can take away the power of storytelling.” —Colum McCann, National Book Award winner

“Mark Yaconelli is one of those rare human beings who sees all the way into the deeper places—and rarer still, one who can find words to help our hearts grab hold of what is waiting there for us. For a world so afflicted with isolation and disconnection, this beautiful book is medicinal.”—John Pavlovitz, author of If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk

The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places

gift of hard things

“Anyone seeking knowledge and union with God will be informed, edified, nourished, and utterly charmed by The Gift of Hard Things.  It is a book absolutely after my own heart.”–Anne Lamott

Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers

Every heart feels wonder.  Every heart knows fear.  Every heart aches with longing.  Awed, we whisper, “Thank you.” Frightened, we cry, “Mercy.”  Yearning we plead, “Show me the way.”  More than a book to be read, this is a book to be explored.  It is a book of stories, divine poetry, holy verses, mystical inspirations, and spiritual exercises that seek to uncover the hidden communication between you and God.

You can read an interview with Mark Yaconelli about Wonder, Fear, and Longing here.

There are reader comments and reviews of the book here.

You can purchase the book in the U.S. here, or if you’re in the U.K. you can purchase it here.

Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus

“The definitive book of the decade on youth ministry”

–Christianity Magazine

“The purpose of integrating contemplative presence in youth ministry is not to turn kids into monks, it is to deepen our awareness of god, others, and self so that we might become fully alive.”

–Contemplative Youth Ministry

Reviews of Contemplative Youth Ministry are hereherehere, and here.

I did a number of interviews on Contemplative Youth Ministry, here are a few of them, herehere, and here, an audio interview from Princeton seminary here.

If you live in the U.S. you can purchase the book here.

If you live in the U.K. you can get your copy here.

Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray

“Downtime is a book about tending the life of prayer within young people.  Over fifty spiritual exercises are presented that will help parents, youth workers, and pastors provide a countercultural ministry for youth that slows kids to the speed of God.  My hope is that Downtime will encourage you to discover creative strategies for providing young people the spiritual leisure they need to hear the prayer God is already praying within them.”

You can read a review of the book here and here

You can purchase the book here.

Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry

From 1996-2004 I directed the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project at San Francisco Theological Seminary.  This was a national project that sought to explore a contemplative approach to youth ministry.  Growing Souls is a collection of stories, experiences, interviews and insights from many of the people involved in the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project.  There are interviews with youth workers and youth, profiles of four churches involved in contemplative ministry, there are also descriptions of all the practices, processes and teachings used within the project.  Here are comments on the book:

“I wish I had Growing Souls 20 years ago, but reading it today has helped my own soul grow.  Every yoth worker who wants students to walk with a sense of the beloved-ness should stop what they’re doing and read this book.”–Kara Powell, Executive Director, Fuller Seminary Center for Youth and Family Ministry

“If contemplation is a long, loving look at the real, then this contribution is contemplative in the truest sense.  Mark Yaconelli is a truth teller.  He and his co-authors tell the truth about contemplative youth ministry–it’s beautiful and messy, introspective and relational, Christ-centered and justice-oriented.  Anyone involved in ministry with youth in any way will benefit from the practical encouragement within Growing Souls.”       —Jeremy Myers, Assistant Professor of Religion, Augsburg College.

“Simply put, Growing Souls places persons before programs, listening before teaching, Jesus before the youth minister, our historic spiritual heritage before the latest fad, silence before noise, and hospitality to the poor and needy before our materialism.  Contemplative Youth Ministry, and this, its companion volume, have affected my teaching and ministry.”–Dean Borgman, Center for Youth Studies

You can read reviews here and here, as well as a particularly kind review by Auntie Helen (no relation) here.

You can purchase the book here.