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OpenYM.org – When my dream starts to become our dream

It’s hard to put a finger on when Open started to become a dream. I can remember having conversations with Kristen in 2006 about the glass ceiling within the youth ministry world. The majority of the speaking/writing/training opportunities went to a relatively small group of people.

Sadly, even though I’ve since joined the ranks as “one of those people” there still isn’t a true, mechanical and democratic, way for folks on the front lines of youth ministry to get their ideas heard. There is lots of desire within the youth ministry world to hear from new voices. And there is lots of desire from folks doing ministry on the local level to share their ideas. But the path to connect those two groups has been fuzzy, at best.

That’s really the genesis behind Open. How do we connect those two groups in a way that helps the whole community?

That’s really been a dream of mine. When I talked about it I got a lot of nodding of the head and people would say, “Yeah, that’s really interesting.”

It was my dream. And it wasn’t catching.

Then last Fall something awesome happened. I started to talk to people about it who did more than nod their head. They’d stop me and go, “Hey, just a second. Let’s add ___ into this. This is exactly what we’re looking for.

I put together a little white paper and started to shop it around to people who loved that conversation. And it spread.

That idea has started to go from an idea that Adam had to an idea that many people in our tribe have.

So here’s how it’s rolling out…

Alpha test – Proof of concept

In this phase, I’m very involved. It’s my baby and I’m helping at every step of the way to make sure that the first 3 Open events are what I’ve been dreaming about.

Those first 3 locations are:

I hope to see you at one of those 3 first ones. Of course, everything will be recorded and shared with the YM community on openym.org for those who can’t quite make it to an Alpha test city. (for free!) But it’s awesome to see people coming from all over to check it out, too!

Beta test – Refine the concept

With the 3 Alpha cities rolling… Later this fall I’ll start to get serious about the next 6 cities. My hope is to add 4 new cities in the United States, one Canadian city, and an additional non-North American city.

I’m talking to folks in about 10 U.S. cities for what those 4 additional cities might be. Of course, I’m “open” to consider a bunch more. So if you’re in a metro area and are interested… let me know.

The goal for the Beta phase is really to work out the bugs and start to get things into a plan that anyone can follow. My hope is that of those first 9 cities that most of them will keep rolling and birthing new Open’s all over.

For instance, let’s say that some people from Portland come to Open Seattle and really dig it. So they come back with an eye on… “How do we do this in Portland to benefit our area?

That’s the my dream becomes your dream moment, right? And that’s why we’re doing the next phase.

Production – Out in the wild

After the alpha and beta test phases are done in 2013, early 2014. My plan is to document all the how-to stuff and release Open to the youth ministry world as a free, open-source regional training event.

So, just to be clear, if you’re interested in hosting Open _____ (your city) than you’d need to come to a couple of the Alpha/Beta test cities. Maybe come to one as an attendee or speaker, then come back to one as someone who wants to be a host… because if I know that I’ll make sure you see how the whole thing works! Then, as long as you’ve seen it and get the vibe of it, you can get approved to host one yourself and I’ll work with you to develop the partnerships, find the location, and help you promote it.

This is fun

I’m an idea guy. And I’m having fun watching as Open takes on a life of its own. It’s morphing, improving, and getting more awesome as it goes from a “me dream” to a “we dream.”

What is it going to take to convert your dream to our dream? 

photo credit: dreaming of cotton candy skies by K Nicoll via Flickr (Creative Commons)

2 Responses to OpenYM.org – When my dream starts to become our dream

  1. Josh Cole August 17, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    I love this idea, as one in youth ministry who would love opportunities to share what we are doing in youth ministry and to learn from others this sounds like a great concept. I might suggest for the beta sites some place south central ie Dallas, OKC or even (high hopes) Wichita, Ks. This sounds like an amazing event, traveling to the east or west coast would be expensive for someone like me located in Kansas and therefore would make it harder to attend (about 6 hrs drive time for a conference is my limit). Look forward to following the outcome of this event either way!

  2. Brandon Pachey August 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Adam, I cant tell you how bad I wanted to speak at Open Seattle….do hope Dallas is in the lineup somewhere, unless I move in which case Id go to the closest Open event and attempt to get plugged in.

    In short, I love what God is going to do thru this. And I must confess, I feel constantly now like you did when no one was listening. What I want more than anything in regard to what I think God has called me to do ultimatley, is for people to say “wait, lets plug into this….”

    His timing I suppose.

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