Category Archives: Open News

Registration for Open Seattle is LIVE!

Open has been a dream of mine for about 3 years now.

It started as I traveled around the country listening to youth workers and telling them about national youth ministry events for my former job. Each time, if I shut up long enough to listen, I’d hear the same response. “Adam, that’s great… but it doesn’t really address the stuff we are facing here.

I hosted one of those gatherings with Jeff Kuess on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. What was meant as a listening stop really became an opportunity for some to express about how most youth ministry events really took the time to get to know Seattle. When I traveled to other parts of the country and heard similar things… I started to dream about doing training/ideation events in a new way, something that started with addressing local concerns and then went regional or national instead of the other way around.

All of those ideas were cemented when I started following, then later attending and speaking at, events in the technology world. At things like Barcamp and WordCamp, local experts and ideators were the stars of the day while folks from national organizations/companies really just used their resources to play host.

So when I joined The Youth Cartel last summer– I knew I wanted to do Open.

All that to say, I’m excited that Open Seattle is really happening. I have a feeling that it’s an answer to those complaints/laments/frustrations I heard around the country.

So the hosts are excited. The organizing team is exciting. The sponsors are excited.

Now the question remains… are you excited enough to pony up your $25 and spend the day with us? 

If so, hurry and buy your ticket now.

Open Paris is Official!

Today, I’m excited to announce our second city.

Paris, France | May 11th, 2013 (full details)

Did you say Paris? As in France? You realize that’s not North America, right?

Yes, Paris has always been a cultural hub and today is no exception. The City of Lights has an energy all its own. For centuries people have been inspired by and inspired in Paris. What’s not youth ministry about that? 

While this is mostly invisible to Americans there is a lot of youth ministry happening all over continental Europe. (Organizations which minister to nationals, expat communities, military, diplomatic communities, missions organizations, etc.) We’d love for Open to be a place where folks from all sorts of different backgrounds gather and exchange ideas on ways to minister to adolescents in their communities.

Of course, we’d love if friends from the U.K. & Ireland came over as well. Plus, as I’ve planned this I’ve talked to a number of friends who would love an excuse to learn about youth ministry in Europe. (wink)

Location, Location, Location

In the end, this is happening in Paris because of a perfect location. Our host is The American Church in Paris. It is a large, international Christian community in the heart of the city. (blocks from the Eiffel Tower) Rather than describe the church and location I’ve asked Dan Haugh, the local organizer and youth pastor at the church for Open Paris, to provide some pictures above.

But Paris is so expensive!

Typically, yes. But early May is before tourist season is in full swing so flights won’t quite be at their summer highs. Plus, Paris has a great rapid transit system so whether you arrive by train or plane you should be able to get to the location easily.

Additionally, because Open Paris is right in the heart of the city we’ll be utilizing nearby hostels. (Way cheaper than hotels!)

Make it a long weekend

Activities for Open Paris will be on Friday and Saturday, ending at 5 PM. I plan on staying and relaxing until Monday or Tuesday before heading home. You are welcome to join me!

We will launch the website, later this summer. All the details, tickets, speaker proposals, schedule, and sponsorship opportunities will be there later this summer. We are currently looking for additional partners. Email [email protected] for more info on that.

Beta test cities

Here’s where we are at with alpha test cities.

  • Seattle is booked for October.
  • Paris is coming together for next spring.
  • And the East Coast one… gosh, still not getting a firm answer.

Here are the cities I’ve talked to about beta test.

  • Chicago
  • Pittsburgh
  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Nashville
  • Wilmington, DE

What are other cities we should consider for beta tests? I’d love to see 1-2 places in Canada and at least one more out-of-the-US.

East Coast City?

With today’s announcement about Seattle, it was only a few minutes until I got my first question about an East Coast Open.

I’ve been talking to several folks about the idea of Open NYC or Open Boston. I’d love to see either of those cities in the alpha test year, we just need to work it out.

Ideally, we will host Open at neutral locations. College campus, community centers, things like that. A church could work if it feels like neutral space to all sorts of different kinds of people.

I also heard from folks interested in hosting Open in other major metropolitan areas. That’s a great sign for things to come.

On the look out

I’m exploring a bunch of options with a bunch of different cities. Here’s the one thing all of these conversations have in common. This thing is needed in youth ministry!

My hope for OpenYM is that I’m able to hold firmly to the Alpha year, a little less firmly to the Beta year, and then totally release this concept into the wild as soon as 2014.

Let’s make this happen. The best ideas in youth ministry come from the front lines of people doing youth ministry. My continued prayer is that Open isn’t just a fun experiment, but it’s something that radically alters the future of youth ministry.


We’ve been in an ongoing discussion with a host location to bring Open to Paris, France in spring 2012.

In some ways Paris is a bit of an odd location because there really isn’t a lot of highly organized youth ministry networking going on in the city. At the same time, where better to dream about and ideate about what is possible than a place with unlimited growth population?

What do you think? Would you come to Paris to hear from innovative adults who minister to adolescents? (Especially if we could offer an amazing location for Open, as well as very cheap options for lodging?)

photo credit: “If you have envy, you are alive.” Kat Clay via Flickr (Creative Commons) 

Putting this dream to reality

The idea for this event has stirred within me for several years. It starts with this question “What would happen if we just trusted the audience for a youth ministry event?

But it’s also built on this reality: “The best ideas in youth ministry are already out there. Someone just has to give them a voice.

On top of that, my idealism took over. “What would happen if we took the mystery about money out of it?

Those are the driving forces behind this quest. Let’s let youth workers decide what they need in a regional event. Let’s go out to discover the best ideas out there and give them a voice. And let’s be crazy open about the money side of things.

So that’s how I got started on this quest. Let’s create a movement of events that are open-sourced from top to bottom. The first round (Seattle, NYC, and Paris) will be alpha tested. We’ll refine and fix some things as we go. The second round will be a beta test as we explore how to release the idea. And then, just like in the technology world, we will release this open-source project to the ministry world. Take it, make it better, refine it for your context, and add the learnings to the greater project.