Monday, August 26, 2013

Open Seattle


My first experience in youth ministry was at my home church in Federal Way, WA. The incredible youth pastor, Tim, decided to give students the opportunity to lead their own mid-week small groups, with adults alongside them as coaches. At the ripe old age of 16, I found myself leading and discipling a group of ten of my peers. It planted a seed that bloomed into the vocation of pastoral ministry to the emerging generation.

So it feels like a homecoming to be speaking and sharing at Open Seattle, an awesome new type of youth ministry event hosted by The Youth Cartel. It's hosted by Seattle Pacific University, and it's a one-day gathering of local youth workers from the Pacific Northwest.

There aren’t many places in the church where all ideas have the same opportunity to be presented. Everything is editorialized, shaped, and packaged. Every idea is filtered through a lens. 
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. 
Now that doesn’t mean you will automatically be appreciated or celebrated. It’s an open table and you have the chance to play with the big boys. There will be winners and there will be less-than-winners. Just like everyone has the same shot, everyone undergoes the same scrutiny. The point isn’t that everyone will be equally received, the point is that anyone can have the platform. 
No one gets paid to present at Open. Why? That wouldn’t be fair, would it? Those making presentations submit a proposal and chances are good that if they’ve got something to say that’s on topic, they will get a shot. Their only compensation is the chance to present their ideas, and free entry to the day. 
So what does it cost? We’ve kept it as simple as possible. Tickets start at $25 for the day. If we sell out early then that’s it. But as we get closer to the day, tickets will naturally get a little more expensive. 
True to the premise of Open, we aren’t out to make a lot of money. We are splitting any proceeds for the day equally with a local organizer and a local ministry recipient. We think that’s fair, and we will be 100% open about the money so you know who has made what. 
From top to bottom we want Open to be a different type of event. We set the table, invite all, and provide a day where the best stuff filters to the top. Why? Because we trust you. We are in this together. We care deeply about impacting the Kingdom and we know you do too. And we know that low control, high trust openness is the way to get there.

I love this manifesto. Contextualized, approachable, affordable, idea-sharing, and more than just megachurch pastors and well-known authors on the platform. In fact, there aren't big platforms; it's...well...open. These are people who live and breathe youth ministry in the green-and-grey environment of the Northwest. We just want to learn and share and grow and inspire.

For the first time, I'll be sharing some concepts and ideas from Leading Up as a seminar. I'll give some real-life examples and unpack a few new ideas I've learned since writing the book, especially since my move to Canada last year. Speaking of Canada, I'm also hoping that an Open Vancouver will be happening in the near future! If you're a youth worker in BC, shoot me an email about making that happen.

Join me October 26 for a day of learning, sharing, and dreaming about youth ministry and the kingdom of God. Sign up for Open Seattle here.

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