Mike Yaconelli

Thursday, October 30, 2003

There is a file I carry around on my Pocket PC. It's a challenging article that reminds me what is important in ministry. I pull it up when I start to forget and loose a bit of focus, and I just read it. It's author is Mike Yaconelli, and he writes things that challenge me to go deeper. 

This is that article. (Also find it here)

Getting Fired for the Glory of God
by Mike Yaconelli

After spending time with youth workers from all over the world during the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention, there's no question in my mind that our calling to youth ministry and the current condition of the institutional church are on a collision course.

I'm beginning to believe that if those who are called into youth ministry follow the lead of the One who called them, getting fired is inevitable.

Why? Because, in general, the institutional church doesn't get it. The institutional church has become hopelessly corporate, hopelessly tangled in a web of secularism. Instead of the church being the Church, it has opted instead to be a corporation.

You disagree? Why don't you try these seven suggestions, and see how long you keep your job.

Keep Jesus #1.

Make your relationship with Jesus the first priority of your life, and expect the same from your church staff. Suggest that your staff meetings only allow you to talk about your relationship with Jesus. Forget about business; just pray together, and share your struggles with each other.

Be still.

Require as part of your job description paid time alone with God. At least one day a week of silence, three-day retreats every quarter, and one week a year for the entire staff.

Ignore corporate values.

Refuse to accept corporate values for evaluating your worth. What are those corporate secular humanist values?

How about

  • Size
  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • Speed
  • Technology
  • Busyness
  • Measuring
  • Balance
  • Power
  • Success
  • Good grades
  • Sports

Just ignore all those values and instead ?

Think small.

Keep your youth group small and manageable. Work hard to focus on a few rather than many. Don't let your group get larger than you can handle with integrity.

Be real.

Tell the truth. Tell students when you are doubting, struggling, hurting, and failing. Create an atmosphere of reality. Refuse to edit your meetings so that only the polished communicators speak and only the positive stories get told.

Put your family first.

Don't let a workaholic staff intimidate you into becoming a workaholic. Say yes to your family first.

Seek kingdom values.

What are kingdom values?

  • Time. Have plenty of extra time to spend with students one on one. Refuse to be too busy.
  • Awareness?sensitivity, empathy, noticing
  • Audacity?risk, courage, resistance
  • Intimacy with God
  • Humility
  • Grace

. . . . .

Notice: You don't have to confront the system. You can just get close to Jesus, seek intimacy with God, follow kingdom values?and it won't be long until you are out on the street. And guess who will be there with you? You got it?Jesus.



I found out that last night Mike died in an auto accident, so, his pen is silenced.

Who will be the ones to pick up where he left off?


  1. If even half of what he listed there is true, then I pity those that have to work in institutional churches. The only criticism I can find is it does kind of sidestep the issues of what to do if the PA goes pop, or you've got rain coming through a roof.

    But yes, he's dead on that Jesus needs to be the centre of it all.

  2. Sorry to hear that we won't be betting any more uncompromising insight from him though. He should now be enjoying the fruits of his labours.


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