Mark Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, youth worker, storyteller, disco dancer, husband, and father. He is the program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology.

Mark is the founder and director of The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks, a personal storytelling series and community-building project produced in Ashland, Oregon, in which a diverse group of community members tell true stories around a particular theme to raise funds for local charities.

Mark speaks and leads storytelling events each year at fundraisers and retreats for various non-profit organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, Compassion International, the Salvation Army, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Foundation, and MediationWorks.

Mark spent 20 years working with young people and the people who serve them (parents, youth workers, pastors) in congregational, camp, and conference settings. His research and ministry with young people has been ground-breaking in its exploration of spiritual direction, contemplation, and ancient spiritual practices as the basis of formation with young people.  In 1996, he co-founded the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project at San Francisco Theological Seminary, a grant funded project that sought to test the integration of contemplative practice and awareness within congregational youth ministry 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 Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Tonight, New York Times Online, Washington Post Online, 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.

Mark is the author of Contemplative Youth Ministry (2006 Youth Specialties), Growing Souls (2007 Zondervan), Downtime (Zondervan 2008), and Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers (Zondervan 2009).

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.  He is a popular speaker and retreat leader throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mark lives in Southern Oregon with his wife Jill, sons Noah and Joseph and daughter Grace.