In the early hours of the morning, the light at the Kairos office in North America can sometimes be seen burning. Neighbors may occasionally wonder if someone accidentally left the office light on. Those who know Mike Shaughnessy can tell them otherwise. There is a high degree of probability that Mike is “burning the midnight oil” in the Kairos office, the next conference plans unfolding as he meticulously creates yet another “that was the best one yet” kind of retreat or conference weekend for the young people he serves.
Mike grew up a native of Orono, Minnesota, the son of the owner of the nation’s largest Ford tractor dealership. He worked in the repair shop, tended the family apple orchard, worked (briefly) for ABC television, and caddied at a local golf course. Little did he know that all these experiences would, along with many other things, prepare him for the life God has called him to live as a Servant of the Word. And Mike learned well from his parents and his various jobs, the value of hard, honest work and the need to rise to the occasion in order to respond to a high call.
During Mike’s high school and university days in Minnesota, many men and women were built up and encouraged by his godly and inspirational insights. In more recent years, whether as a youth leader or community coordinator, Mike has continued to serve the word. And as an elder in The Servants of the Word over the past few decades, he’s given brotherly counsel to those under his care while living in Minnesota, London, Germany, and Belfast — and continues to do so now in Michigan.
Figuratively speaking, Mike wears many hats. These hats enable him to speak the word in many places and seasons. One of the hats, which fits him rather well, is being the Kairos Director for North America. Through his years of tireless youth work in The Sword of the Spirit, Mike has trained countless young people to be effective college and high school campus outreach workers and put on retreats and conferences that target their unique needs and serve the truth of God’s word to them through worship and prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Mike wears yet another hat as he helps develop covenant communities throughout The Sword of the Spirit. The Lord has equipped him with extensive experience that enables him to give vision and words of practical wisdom to these communities and their leaders through both troubling and peaceful times. Many are the people who are grateful for God’s word spoken through Mike.
Not only does Mike enjoy an active life of speaking the word – he loves to pray the word night and day, and he writes it, too. Wearing his author’s hat, he has written A Concise Catholic Catechism, a valuable resource for teachers and students alike), as well as a creative and inspiring novel, The Archangel of Westminster. In addition, he currently writes the Kairos Youth Culture Newsletter, a monthly brief on the current trends in the world of youth.
Mike joyfully lives the word because he knows Christ the Word. He also has a zest for games of all sorts – word games, number games, contests, and sports – which helps him relate to people young and old. On a sunny day he may be found on the golf course taking a break together with his close community friends and brothers. Not many people can say they have hit two holes in one!
Many and varied are Mike’s gifts and talents. What Mike is best at, however, is serving wherever and whenever he is called upon. So tireless are his efforts that it seems he’s always able and willing to make time for anyone seeking a word of counsel, a bit of practical wisdom, or just a bit of brotherly fellowship.
Mike always has the light on, as if he’s waiting just for you!
This article is from our Easter 2009 Newsletter: View Entire Newsletter (requires Acrobat Reader)