The Open Manifesto

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.

Join us.

Being your ideas, bring your voice, and let’s dream.


This is the driving document for Open Seattle, a new youth ministry event we just announced today. This is the first of what I hope will become a movement of Open events which gather all over to collaborate, celebrate, and innovate within our beloved tribe of youth ministry. The plan is to do two more as an alpha test, one in the Northeast and one in Western Europe. (Hosting info)

A fun story about this manifesto is that I wrote it about 6 months ago. I kind of woke up with this from a dream. It was one of those things that dragged me out of bed and I typed it as fast I could. For weeks I had been thinking about Open, I’d had conversations with about a dozen people about it, but I couldn’t put the whole thing into words until that morning. It’s crazy how creativity works. Sometimes you have to dig to find it and other times it attacks you and you just try to keep up.






11 responses to “The Open Manifesto”

  1. NorthCountry Avatar

    I’ve got mixed thoughts on this proposal because it sounds open but then… well it sounds closed too. Read through what you have written and hear it as a small nobody, (who I get the impression you are trying to give a voice to), who is not eloquent, is petrified of public speaking but has passion for ministry.  Are they going to feel welcome by your fourth paragraph about not everyone will be appreciated?  Just a thought that I felt I should share because we need to hear the good with the bad to improve.

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      Help me understand that pushback. Anyone has an opportunity to speak, but I can’t guarantee that the audience will give someone a standing ovation. Is that what you mean? 

  2. Trevor Hamaker Avatar

    It sounds pretty open to me. Great idea for moving things forward!

  3. Leebarnesiii Avatar

    Any way there will be an Open in the Deep South if this one works out?

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      Absolutely. I’ve already been talking to someone about Nashville as a beta site. (The Portland of the south is what I’ve heard folks calls it!) 

  4. Katy Johnston Avatar

    Sounds like an interesting concept. Where were you thinking for the NE event? Would it be possible to provide a livestream to the Portland event?

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      I’m talking to a few different people about a few different location in the Norhteast. NY, DE, PA, and MA. 

      A decision about livestreaming will come much later. All of the talks from all of the Open’s will be shared on the OpenYM site. (Either audio/video, depending on what we can pull off.) 

      Where would you like to see an Open?

      1. Katy Johnston Avatar

        I live in the Western Portion of NY, so any pasture of your choice would work for me! In all honesty, it sounds like the North East would work for me! Can’t wait to hear about the developments!

        1. Adam McLane Avatar

          Hey Katy, we landed on Boston. We are still working on the dates but it looks like it’ll be in Winter (Jan-Mar) of 2013 at a big Christian college. Looking forward to seeing you there.

          1. Katy Johnston Avatar

            Sweet. That’s definitely closer than the West Coast. A couple of car washes and I’ll be there!

  5. […] in the Fall, Adam McLane approached me with his Open manifesto, and asked me what I thought. I loved it. We talked, and it seemed to us that Seattle would be the […]

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