The Youth Cartel

Open Updates


Open is a series of open-source styled events that we do at The Youth Cartel. We shamelessly favor regional trainers, basically turning the normal youth ministry training event upside down. No one gets paid, all of the speakers notes (sometimes audio) are shared on the website, the process for becoming a speaker is open, and we even post the budget online.

What is it?

It’s a 1-day training conference for anyone involved in youth ministry. This isn’t one of those things where people just show up and anyone with something to say can grab the mic. Each Open has 2-3 tracks of learning with 5-7 presentations in each track. The speakers are well-prepared, the training they are offering is straight from their own experience in the field, and the day takes on this amazing feeling of peer-to-peer learning.

We keep it cheap at $25 per person. We wrap it in an opening and closing ceremony, there’s freebies, there’s a nice long lunch break so you can connect with people, and we host an after party at a local restaurant so you can connect with people over some chicken wings or a beer. (Gasp, an event that’s OK with saying beer!)

We try to set these things up in ways that are fair and make sense.

  • Does that speaker make sense? Yup, let’s find a spot.
  • How do we make speaker selection fair? Open submissions are as fair as you can get.
  • Who wants to be a partner on it? Let’s make it fair and open that up and let people self-select. Sounds fair to me.
  • How will people know where the money goes? Just post it online, makes sense to me.
  • To make it local, it makes sense to have a local team of organizers with the Cartel a minority voice, but bringing expertise. Seems totally fair to me.
  • If there’s a profit we split it 3 ways between the local group, the Cartel, and a local charity. Seems fair to me.

Updates Galore!

Last year, we launched this puppy with two alpha sites, Seattle and Boston. Both went great and we learned a ton about how to pull them off.

This year, our beta test year, we’ve got 5 on the schedule and probably have 2 more to add for Winter/Spring 2014. Here’s the latest updates and how you can get involved.

Paris – (10/18-19/2013) The organizing team has met a couple of times. For me personally, the level of difficulty is off the charts as we try to keep a local feel. We did another round of speaker submissions to get more Western European voices. Other than Marko and I… I think we’ll be the only NA people up front at all. And that’s beautiful.

Seattle – (10/26/2013) The speaker submission period ends June 15th. So far, I’m liking what I’m seeing. As usual, we’d like to see more submissions from women and more submissions from outside of the evangelical world. Building on last years success and adding Brian Aaby to the team, it feels like we’re going to have a break out event.

Bay Area – (11/16/2013) The organizing group is currently recruiting speaker submissions and getting the word out. This one is coming together quickly and I’m really excited to have a Bay Area event… it’s such a complex part of the country with a lot going on. I can’t wait to see what God will do with a room full of passionate people.

Boston – (2/8/2014) Later this summer, we’ll get the ball rolling on Open Boston. We’ve secured a date, February 8th, and we know we’ll be back at Gordon College. I can also see Open Boston going to 4-5 tracks this year as we build on the slam dunk that was last year.

Grand Rapids – (2/22/2014) Holy moley there’s excitement for Open GR. No new location has generated the buzz of Grand Rapids. We’ll be getting things going later this summer, I’m feeling like we might hit capacity at Cornerstone.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

One reply on “Open Updates”

Leave a Reply