“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, Best-selling author of Traveling Mercies  and  Operating Instructions.

For over twenty years Mark has led workshops and retreats for churches and social justice communities across North America and the United Kingdom.  Below is a sampling of workshops Mark leads for parents, youth workers, pastors, and community activists.

  See below for a listing of retreats and workshops or calendar for upcoming events.

The Power and Practice of Personal Storytelling: A Workshop for Community Transformation

Based on the successful pesonal storytelling series The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks in Southern Oregon, this workshop will focus on practices and strategies for creating a local, personal storytelling series that strengthens community, heals shame, cultivates compassion, and builds inter-generational relationships. Through presentation, ritual, contemplative processes, and narrative exercises participants will develop the skills and practices for creating their own community storytelling series.

This is Your Life: A Retreat in Self-Discovery

A retreat for people who long to come home to themselves.  Using a variety of storytelling, creative, and contemplative practices, participants explore the dynamics of their own history, fears, and longings in order to deepen their own sense of self and calling. Based on over fifteen years of leading contemplative retreats in the United States and United Kingdom, Mark brings a collection of gifts as a spiritual director, contemplative teacher, and storyteller to create a safe place in which people can identify and respond to their deepest yearnings.

Growing Souls: The Spiritual Life of Teenagers

Based on twenty years of study and practice, Mark uses stories, creative exercises, scholarship, and spiritual practices to help parents, pastors, youth workers, and church leaders understand the unique longings of the adolescent soul.  Workshop includes practical strategies for helping young people deepen their awareness of God, self, and other.

Mark does a fantastic job of moving from theory to practice.  He uncovers the angst that lies beneath much of what we call youth ministry and helps us transform that fear into loving attention to God and young people.  A master storyteller, Mark is able to show how a youth ministry based upon ‘practicing the presence of God’ is not so much about technique, but about how we as adults live our lives in relation to ourselves, our God, and our youth.”—Daniel Wolpert, Presbyterian pastor and Co-Founder of the Minnesota Institute for Contemplation and Healing.

From Anxiety to Love: A Contemplative Approach to Youth Ministry

Teenagers make adults anxious.  Adults make teenagers anxious.  God makes everyone anxious.  Maybe that’s why youth ministry suffers such high amounts of burnout?  Based on ten years of research in the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project (and Mark’s book Contemplative Youth Ministry), this workshop engages participants in creative exercises, contemplative practices, teaching sessions, discussion, and tested strategies to help churches, parents, and youth workers develop ministries that transition from anxiety to love, isolation to community, passivity to compassionate action.

Contemplative Youth Ministry is refreshing rain for dry youth workers and barren youth ministries. More than the same old youth ministry tips and tricks, Mark gives principles and practices to soak in God’s grace, love and power.”—Kara Powell, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Youth and Family Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary

Come Home: An Invitation to Rest

We get lost.  We get overwhelmed by our roles, responsibilities, and relationships.  We lose touch with the center of ourselves–our own heart, our longings, the Sacred Source who called us into being. Meister Eckhart once wrote, “God’s at home, we’re the ones who go out wandering.”  This eight hour retreat is about returning home to the One who loves us.  It’s about remembering that before we are ministers, we are seekers, people in need of the love and mercy of God.  Through spiritual practice, silence, music, conversation, and a variety of contemplative exercises we’ll seek to encounter the One who is home.

The Three Desires: A Retreat Exploring Human Longing

There are three yearnings that burn within every human being: to be a blessing to others, to accept and express who we are created to be, to feel connected and received by a greater Source of love and compassion. Through creative exercises, contemplative practice, storytelling and discussion we will explore the unique way in which the Christian spiritual path empowers us to embrace a life of contemplation, creativity, and compassion.  Hear Mark’s talk on the three desires at the Cheltenham, England Greenbelt Arts and Justice Festival here.


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