Category Archives: Open News

honeymoon in Paris

Update on Open Paris

Open Paris 2014 is 1 month away!

Whether you came last year or if this is your first time… we think Open Paris is one of the most unique and incredible youth ministry events anywhere.

Three things I want to pass along:

  1. A fun thing that we’re going to do this year is a shared benediction between Open Paris & Open Seattle. We will be ending our time togetheron Saturday at The American Church in Paris just as the event is starting at Seattle Pacific University.
  2. This year we’ve added housing options for attendees to make it easier & cheaper for you to attend. You can stay at the church for €10/night; a nearby hostel for €30/night; or we’ll arrange for you to stay at a nearby Airbnb apartment for €50/night. Of course, you don’t have to use any of those options! We just wanted to make coming to Paris easier and cheaper for those who might need a little extra help.
  3. Our line-up of speakers and schedule for Fridayand Saturday is coming together. Here’s the list of speakers we have confirmed: If you have not registered yet, here’s the link:

If you have any questions about Open Paris please don’t hesitate to contact the organizing team.

adam mclane

May 16, 2014

Today we will be opening up speaker submissions for 4 of the 5 Fall Open events.

Here are the 5 dates & locations:

  • Open Denver – September 12-13 – Flat Irons Church
  • Open Vancouver – September 26-27 – Trinity Western University
  • Open Seattle – October 25 – Seattle Pacific University – Seattle, WA
  • Open Paris – October 24-25 – The American Church in Paris
  • Open Bay Area – Late November – TBA (City of San Francisco location)

Why I am excited to host Open Paris


In less than one month youth workers from across Europe and North American will be traveling to France for Open Paris.  This event is sponsored by The Youth Cartel and my church, The American Church in Paris, will play the host.


I am really excited about this opportunity to get a variety of voices from a multitude of backgrounds, traditions, cultures..and countries gathering together to learn and embrace our experiences.

I appreciate the vision of The Youth Cartel’s “Open” manifesto

Here’s a blurb from their own words…..

“We think something is wrong with that. Deep in our souls we know the solutions to the problems we face today are already out there, waiting to be discovered.

Open is just that. Open. The Youth Cartel sets the table, plays host, and invites anyone and  everyone who has an idea to the table for a day where we all have equal value for our ideas. Whether you are a big dog with 20,000 people writing down your every word, a college student with some crazy ideas, or somewhere in between, the table is open–we will give you your shot and equal time to share your idea.”

On a personal note, I have known Adam and Marko for over a decade now and our journey which began at YS conventions will now finds us within a stone’s throw of the Eiffel Tower sipping wine and discussing the latest theological and cultural trends impacting youth ministry.

Church and Eiffel Tower

The U.S used to have a market on all things “youth ministry” but the global community has much to say especially relating to shifting worldviews in secular societies.

Yes, our American counterparts (which I still include myself in) know how to budget and build bigger and “better” youth ministry programs at church.  European youth workers are navigating the often treacherous waters between secular and sacred within society. Ours are often the students who can speak 3-4 different languages, have fully stamped passports by the age of 12, feel more comfortable in airports than soccer fields, and are positioned to be the global leaders of tomorrow.  This is why learning how to minister to teenagers in a European context is crucial and a good lesson for all youth workers.

And Paris…well, to many it is still the heart of Europe and center of culture, fashion, cuisine and philosophy.  It is often said that what trends in Paris finds its way to NYC and then the world.  This is certainly true when it comes to fashion and probably the culinary world.

But ask any student of philosophical innovation, especially in the era of postmodernity, and the birthplace of these ideas….France!  This cultural phenomenon that scares the multitudes in America came from the minds of French thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and the like.  These brilliant minds arguably redefined thought, literature, culture…and religion… and similar minds are being educated currently in the same schools our students attend.

That being said, Paris is just one of many cultural centers in Europe which hold great influence on the rest of the global community.

I hope that Open Paris will just be the beginning of an European movement in youth ministry that brings together divergent views in a united passion of seeing God’s kingdom redefined in radical ways among today’s teens.

If you can, please come and join us or stay tuned to this blog for Open Paris updates, live feeds, and reflections as we celebrate new ideas in youth ministry and dream together what youth work can..and will be!

For more information about our location, speakers, seminars and to register please visit the Open Paris site:


It’s Update Day

Our first “national” email just went out for the 2013-2014 school year. What’s funny is that it feels like we’ve just crossed a finish line in getting enough info about each city to send the email. When in reality, it’s just the beginning of the ramp up to 5 events.

So, if you are new to Open, welcome. I’d love to have you check out one of our cities. If you are coming back for year 2, double welcome! Thanks for making our alpha test year a huge success.

Have any questions about Open? Leave a comment or send us an email through the contact form.

Open Paris registration is live!

header-v3Planning to come to Open Paris? Registration is now live! 

It’s been fun to be part of the development of our first Open outside of the United States. My hope in adding a non-US city right away was that Open will always be about “the tribe of youth workers everywhere” and not just “the tribe of youth workers in the United States.” (We’re currently talking about bringing Open to Canada, Mexico, and Germany.)

What’s different?

The organizing team has shaped Open Paris to fit the needs of Western European youth workers. Here are some things that are different about it from the ones we’ve done in Seattle & Boston.

  1. It’s 2 days, not 1 – We’ve added a whole additional day of optional stuff for Open attendees. There will be a half day of training, offered by Rachel Blom. There will be a dinner for any attendee on Friday night instead of a speakers dinner. That will be followed by a worship gathering and a Friday night activity. All that new stuff and the same price? Beautiful. 
  2. It’s in a church and not a college. I’ve been fairly adamant that Open meet in a neutral space. (Meaning not a church.) In Paris, The American Church in Paris is just the absolute perfect venue. Doing so has actually opened my mind to “big Open’s” and “little Open’s.” In smaller markets it might make sense to have Open in a host church.
  3. It’ll be by European youth workers, for European youth workers. I expected there’d be a mix of North American presenters. It’s just not looking that way. So far the schedule, which will be announced 7/10, almost all Europeans. (With us North Americans coming along for the ride.)
  4. We’re closing off Open Paris with a plenary-styled session. I’m really excited to have the other half of the Cartel, Mark Oestreicher, come to Paris with me to share during the closing. In the first 2 drafts of Open , we’d had a closing plenary talk. But we dropped that idea before we launched Seattle last year. Again, I don’t know if this will be something we add to very many Open events, but I do like it in Paris and I think it rounds out a very cool 2-days there.

So that’s the scoop. Lots more coming very soon. (Marketing stuff will get going heavily after 7/12)

Now accepting speaker proposals for Open Seattle

The Open Seattle organizing team is currently seeking proposals to speak at Open Seattle on October 26th, 2013.

Got an idea? Something working in your ministry that needs to be shared? Have a burden? A rant? Or just have some great training you’d like to pass along to youth workers in the Pacific Northwest?

If so, submit a proposal by June 1st. Here’s the link.

Open Bay Area is Officially On!

62124384_4b15e97fa2_nOK, it’s official! I’m totally pumped to see how God has orchestrated this to happen.

OpenYM will host it’s first California event on the campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (We’ll just say Golden Gate for short) on November 16th, 2013.

It’s still pretty early. But we’re in the process of putting together a great organizing team from all over the greater Bay Area. If you’re doing youth ministry in San Francisco, San Jose, East Bay, South Bay, Napa, SacTown… anywhere in driving distance. We want to hear from you! 

We are currently looking for members of the organizing team to partner with us, track sponsors, and would love to hear your ideas on how to make Open Bay Area help resource a wide variety of youth workers… we want this thing to be all about doing youth ministry in the Bay Area, specifically.

If you’d like to be involved in the planning, please contact us or leave us a comment.

Photo credit: Michael Liu via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Grand Rapids, it’s official!


Earlier this afternoon I got an email from Chip at Cornerstone officially confirming that Open Grand Rapids is officially on the calendar. For us, that means it’s a done deal and we can start telling people about it.

Being the Thursday before Easter I didn’t think it’d be a good idea to send out an official email announcement. But I was pretty excited… we’re working hard to add 5-7 new cities for the Open beta test year… but we just hadn’t landed one “officially, official” quite as triumphantly as this one.

So I posted it on my Facebook account, thinking 1-2 people might comment. Nope. Lots of comments, several shares, and a whole pile of questions.

Wow, awesome and unexpected.

All that to say, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing Open to West Michigan. Save the date.

Speaker submissions will be available over the summer. And we’ll work on all the fun stuff like hotels and speaker dinner details around Christmas.

Alpha Test Report

This past weekend we completed our Alpha test for Open with a successful Open Boston.

Here’s stuff that is working:

  • There’s a need in youth ministry for an upside down training event. (One which favors frontline youth workers in speaker selection.)
  • There’s a need for locally flavored youth ministry training.
  • Attendees at Open are happy with the earthy, organic feel. A lack of polish and the experimental feel is more a strength than a weakness.
  • Speakers are willing to participate without compensation. (At both Alpha tests we had many more speaker proposals than spots to speak, many proposals coming from outside of driving distance to the event.)
  • The quality of presentation is high. Presentations are equal to or nearly equal to those you’d experience at a national conference. But being locally flavored seems to make up the difference.
  • Finding sponsors, partners, and an organizing team has been fairly easy. (The levels of involvement help.)
  • The financial model works. In both cities all of the events bills were paid and profits were shared with the local organizer, a youth ministry-oriented charity, and The Youth Cartel.
  • The event model is sustainable. While the first Open was taxing on The Youth Cartel organizationally, Open Boston was not. As we build out the model and documentation expansion will become easier and easier.
  • The event model is infinitely expandable. I’ve fielded questions for a bunch of expansion cities here in the U.S. and internationally. Expansion is only possible because of the role of the local organizer.

Here’s stuff that needs improvement:

  • Coordination of marketing efforts between the Cartel & the sponsorship group needs to get better. We had great numbers at both Alpha tests, but we’ll need to build the branding more to increase the marketing reach and anticipation. 
  • We need better recording and sharing of the presentations. Ideally, each session is recorded and shared on this website. So far, we’ve only recorded 6 of the 30 sessions. I need to build a better mechanism for getting that done.
  • We need to continue to improve natural but effective ways for our sponsors to connect with attendees. Having the track sponsors act as room hosts was a great addition between our first and second test. But we still need a more effective way for sponsors to connect so they feel even better about their investment.
  • We need better documentation for what’s needed to become a host. Now that we’ve done two cities and talked to a bunch more, we need to make it easier to communicate what’s needed.

What about more cities?

I’m heavily engaged in talking to and finalizing our Beta cities for the 2013 – 2014 school year. There will be a few Open events this Fall and a few Open events next Winter. 6-8 cities added for the Beta phase.

Interest in hosting?

I’m still looking for a couple more Beta cities. (Contact me here.) Here’s what you need to know about bringing Open to your city.

  • You need to identify a location. Preferably a Christian College or other neutral institution. I’m not 100% against doing it in a church, it’s just not ideal. 
  • You need to help identify a local organizer. This is the person who will do the vast majority of the work of promoting the event locally, managing all the day-to-day logistics, etc.
  • Beyond the Beta cities, if you are interested in becoming a host/local organizer you must attend an Open somewhere else. It’ll be so much easier to pull it off if you’ve seen it.

So far, I’m very happy with the development of Open and I’m very much looking forward to the next phase of development as we solidify stuff and refine some processes.

Open at the Core

I’m in love with Roman Mars’ radio show, 99% Invisible. While riding the trolley to work the other day episode 23 about stopped me in my tracks.

Approaching our very first Open in just a couple of days I’m at the point in this experiment where the stage is set.

  • People are ALL IN. Literally, people are flying from other parts of the world to be at this. We’ve also sold a bunch of tickets.
  • People dig the idea. I’ve heard from youth workers all over who heard about what we’re doing in Seattle and are truly hopeful that this thing will take off.
  • I’m invested. There’s no way to play off that this isn’t one of my big ideas. I’ve got no one to hide behind.
  • My hypothesis seems to check out. Look, I sat on this idea for a couple of years. I refined it. I listened a ton. I talked to a bunch of people who organize stuff like this for other industries. I know the model works.

But until Saturday I won’t really, truly know if it works. No one will. It might be awesome and it might be a massive humiliation.

There’s no way to call it anything more than an alpha test on an experiment which believes that a ministry event, if designed with openness to its very core, can begat Kingdom building ideas.

That is my prayer.

That is my hope. 

That is why I am doing it. 

Take a chance… build the Kingdom. 

Perhaps that is why this podcast stopped me? It encouraged me in the very basis of the thought that building Open as an open platform (technology) and inviting the community to take it, remix it, add it with other stuff, and keep perfecting will actually work.

With me alone it’s just an idea. But with the blood sweat and tears of the community? Well, that Kingdom idea may take shape.