That doesn't mean that Mike always agreed with what we're up to. In fact, he made it clear on several occasions that he wasn't sure about us, about whether we are right or wrong about what the church needs to become. And yet, he gave us a voice anyway. Over the objections of some of his longtime friends, Mike gave us opportunities to speak and to write.

You see, for Mike, it wasn't about being right or wrong – he was far too wise to think that any human or group of humans could really figure that out. For him it was about the conversation, about giving people with diverse views opportunities to get their ideas, half-baked as they might be, out into the public square. The church will only be stronger as a result, he thought.

That's because Mike had a great faith in the church. He believed there is nothing that the Body of Christ can't handle. Youth Specialties was merely a conduit, a place where people can say things that people in the church don't always want to hear – but often needs to hear. He said those kind of things most of his life, and he enabled others to say controversial, prophetic things, too.

Mike Yaconelli was a friend of Emergent. And in the emerging church conversation, nothing is more highly valued than that.

Tony Jones
For the Emergent Coordinating Group