Latest Updates!

A few things to pass along about Open Seattle:

  1. We’ve now finalized the speakers for Open Seattle. We’ve confirmed Jim Hancock who will be presenting his talk, Helping Teenagers Help Friends in Crisis. You can check out all of the presenters and topics on the website.
  2. Registration is $25 until October 9th. After that it’s $35 per person. Register here.
  3. Seattle Pacific University is our host. Check out parking information, lunch info, and what to expect.
  4. Printable flyer. A few people asked for something they could print out and take to network meetings, forward to others, stuff like that. Click the link below and download our flyer. Thanks for inviting people!

We look forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!

2013 schedule & registration!

It’s been approximately forever since we’ve posted an update on Open Seattle.

First off, yes it is happening! Was there every any doubt?

Second off, it’s better than ever!

Third off, head over to the schedule to see this years line-up of topics and presenters. We’re still nailing down a couple of details, but you’ll be able to see the flow of the day and get an idea of the great mix of presentations coming.

Fourth off, registration is now available. While we don’t anticipate selling out we do anticipate have more people than last year and the space at SPU is limited. So make sure you register early!

Let us know what you think about the schedule and topics for the day in the comments below!


Sponsor Spotlight: Crista Camps

Tell us a little bit about you, like what are you all about? 

CRISTA Camps exists to proclaim the gospel and build servant leaders.  We do this through hosting groups and camps at each of our beautifully located and uniquely themed properties, Island lake and Miracle Ranch. With high energy service, great food and incredible adventure activities, we are dedicated to providing an exceptional camping experience specifically tailored for each group that comes to our properties.

When it comes to youth ministry, what’s your organizations passion? 

We see ourselves as a tool for the local church.  In regards to youth, our camps provide a unique environment that sets students and leaders up to get to know each other and God in a deeper way. Camp provides the opportunity to get away from the distractions of normal life and consider what is most important in life, namely loving God and others.  Practically, we love to come alongside youth leaders by taking care of many of the retreat details, so they can focus on building relationships and having a blast with their students.

Who are we going to meet at Open Seattle? What’s their story? 

Erik and Jon will be attending Open Seattle.  Erik is one of our program directors and Jon is the Sales and Marketing Director.  Both have a background in youth ministry at churches here in the Northwest.  As with so many people, camp and the relationships formed there, played a huge role for both Jon and Erik’s spiritual development.  Jon has been with CRISTA Camps for 6 years and Erik for 2.5.

What are you excited about for Open Seattle? 

We are excited for the opportunity to network with youth workers and see and hear what God is doing through those youth workers in the region.

What you need to know for next Saturday

Here’s the email that just went out to registered attendees. If you didn’t get it, or for those who haven’t registered yet, here’s everything you need to know. 

By this time next Saturday morning Open Seattle will be underway. The organizing team wanted to pass along several updates to you, we’re hoping this email is a one-stop shop for you as you prepare.

  • Doors open at 8:00 AM, we start at 9:00 AM – We recommend being on campus by about 8:30 AM so you’ll have plenty of time to get parked, checked in, etc.
  • You don’t need your ticket to check in – When you registered you got an email PDF of a ticket, that’s really just your receipt, we won’t need it. Just come to the registration table in the lobby of Upper Gwinn and we’ll get you checked in. (badge, t-shirt, stuff like that)
  • Campus location & parking – Follow this link for a map for both
  • Wireless internet & electrical outlets – Yes to both. Please feel free to bring your laptop or tablet to take notes. We’ll give you instructions for accessing the wireless on campus when you arrive. There are plugs in the meeting rooms.
  • Lunch – Lunch is not providedHere’s a link to on campus and off campus lunch options. Also, feel free to bring your own lunch! We’re giving you 90 minutes for lunch… so meet someone new.
  • Print the schedule – Several of you have asked for a printable version of our schedule. Here’s the link for that.
  • Notes, slides, recordings – We are planning to record everything. (Video or audio) Speaker notes/presentations will be posted pretty quickly, expect the videos to appear in the weeks after Open Seattle. (The idea is that all talks from all of the Open’s everywhere will be shared at
  • Tickets are still available! – The deadline to register for $25 is Monday. After that it’ll be $35 and late registrations won’t be guaranteed a t-shirt.
  • Consider sponsorship – We had several hundred dollars in unbudgeted expenses pop up this week. If your church or organization would consider becoming a sponsor ($100 or more) that would help us a ton. (Here’s our budget)
  • Thank a sponsor, partner, and host – We can’t say this enough, we’ve got great partners for this event… it simply couldn’t have happened if all of us hadn’t collaborated together. So check out our sponsor page and hug ’em on Saturday. Great people and great organizations are behind Open.
  • Join the Facebook event – There are several folks looking for rides, wanting to meetup, and stuff like that. Join the Facebook eventto keep up with all of that stuff.
  • All of this information is also on the website – We’ve tried to summarize what you need to know in this email. Pretty much, everything you see here is also at in a more detailed format.

If you have any questions not covered… please let us know! ([email protected]) We can’t wait to see you next weekend.

Adam, Mike, Jeff & Jonas – Open Seattle Organizers

Speaker Spotlight: Leena Prindle

Leena’s talk at Open: Youth Ministry while Working in Children, Youth, Family ministry setting

How long have you been ministering to teenagers?

I was on peer leadership ministry teams as as high schooler in church, then kept going through six years of college as a volunteer and amazingly have had 12 years professionally working in congregational youth ministry. So approximately 22 years.. Wow, how does that happen?!

Why teenagers?

I love the conversations about life and faith and how God works in and through their lives. Also, I am passionately an advocate for teenagers to those who are fearful or annoyed by them. They are worth as much investment as the cute babies and toddlers and college students with potential. I want them to know they are loved and have something to contribute and want to help prove that to the adults who don’t believe it.

Tell us about your day-to-day role, what do you do?

Director of Faith Formation for a congregation of 150 worshiping on a Sunday.
Coordinating programs and education ministry for early childhood, elementary, Jr./Sr.high, and adults. Volunteers, administration, interns, curriculum, retreats, children’s sermons, teaching classes for all ages, event planning, relationship building, mentoring/supervising interns. Also admin of social media for the church.

When it comes to ministering to teenagers, what’s your passion?

Empowering teens, their families, and adults who care about them in faith and their God given gifts – to better know, love, and serve the Lord.

What are you hoping for at Open Seattle?

That everyone will walk away with either a new tidbit of information, a moment of rest and renewal, or a new ministry connection to give them direction in ministering to the teens in their lives.

Lunch options

We’ve built in a nice, long lunch break for our day. It’s 90 minutes! 

Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and you’ll get outside into Fall’s fresh air, make a new friend, and just relax for a bit.

Pictured above are all the off-campus options you’ll find near campus on Google Maps and SPU has their own list right here.

But lets say you want to hang out at SPU for lunch? (Totally cool, the organizers are doing that!) Here’s a list of options for you to consider that are on campus:

  • Lunch in Gwinn Commons Dining Hall (2nd Floor) serves lunch on Saturday from 11:30am – 1:00pm.  Cost: $9.20 (CASH only)
  • Corner Place Market (Lower Gwinn):  Convenience Store – Open 9am – 8pm
  • Subway (Lower Gwinn inside the Corner Market):  10am – 8pm
  • Common Grounds (across from Gwinn Commons in Weter Memorial Hall) Serves full menu of Starbucks beverages and pastries:  Open 9am – 7pm

What if I want to bring my own lunch? 

Feel free to brown bag it! There’s lots of places on campus to enjoy your lunch, I’m sure you could even get away with a small tailgate in the parking lot.

Questions? Leave us a comment and we’ll chase down the answer.

Special thanks to Laurie in the School of Theology office for gathering this info. 

Campus Location and Parking

Download the Seattle Pacific University Campus Map

Seattle Pacific University - Open Seattle


Open Seattle will be held in Upper Gwinn


Parking on campus is free on Saturday. However, we recommend parking in the Dravus Parking Lot.

If you utilize street parking off campus, please be aware of the parking regulations. We don’t want you to get ticketed or towed. Instead, just park in the Dravus Lot.

Speaker Spotlight: Morgan Schmidt

How long have you been ministering to teenagers?
About ten years.

Why teenagers? 
There are so many reasonable reasons: adolescence is a pivotal time of life, teenagers are full of energy and hope, they are figuring out who they are and who they dream of becoming…
…But really, I just keep meeting students that I love.
Tell us about your day-to-day role, what do you do?
I am the Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, WA. This means I get to spend my days talking, laughing, crying and playing with young people, their families, and volunteers. My job is to find ways to cultivate young people’s desire to be formed in the way of Jesus, and with the church to participate in revealing the kingdom of God here and now.
In my spare time, I am the Director of Youth Collective, a little start-up that helps local churches collaborate in youth ministry to students in their neighborhood. This means mostly that I get to know some incredible churches who care deeply about their parish/neighborhood, and consult about ways they can be good news to teenagers.
When it comes to ministering to teenagers, what’s your passion? 
My passion is for students to experience, in whatever way makes sense to them, the God who loves them…and to find ways that they can grow in their love for their own self, others, and God.
What are you hoping for at Open Seattle?
I am hoping for some incredible conversation, hopefully a lot of honest questions and dialogue around they ways the church can collaborate to love students in meaningful ways.

Speaker Spotlight: Mark Moder

Hear Mark’s talk during session 8.

How long have you been ministering to teenagers?
25 Full Time, 27 total
Why teenagers? 
I love teenagers. I love their energy.  But mostly I work with teenagers because they are are still asking questions about life. And if you want to change a culture, you must impact it’s generation of youth.
Tell us about your day-to-day role, what do you do? 
I am the guy in charge where I work. I set direction, manage people, raise $$; that sort of thing.
When it comes to ministering to teenagers, what’s your passion? 
I love working with unchurched teens. I love getting students out of their comfort zones where they get to push themselves beyond where they’d prefer to be, whether it’s white water rafting or working with the homeless.
What are you hoping for at Open Seattle?
I love the idea of a level playing field where the ideas are what has merit not necessarily the names.  Youth Ministry has experienced a log jam of some great speakers over the last generation, but I fear it’s been at the expense of the next. Like a High School team who wins state 3 yrs in a row with a bunch of kids who’ve started since they were Sophomores; it’s a real challenge to compete after that Sr. class finally graduates. Who will be the voices for youth ministry’s next gen? I don’t think we’ve met most of them yet.

Speaker Spotlight: Mike Langford

Hear Mike’s talk, What Has Wall Street To Do With Emmaus? during session 4.

How long have you been ministering to teenagers?

About 20 years.

Why teenagers? 

Because, developmentally speaking, it is such a critical period of life. They are asking such key questions – Who am I? Do I matter? What’s life about? They are old enough to think deeply about such things, but young enough to still be open to helpful guidance.

Tell us about your day-to-day role, what do you do? 

I am a college professor, so most of my time is spent with students – teaching them, listening to them, talking with them over coffee, tough questions and good thoughts. There’s lots of laughter, too! I also spend quite a bit of time reading, thinking and writing about theology and ministry.

When it comes to ministering to teenagers, what’s your passion?

I want to help students think theologically about their identity formation. How do they think about who they are and why they are here in light of who God is and what God is doing?

What are you hoping for at Open Seattle?

I hope to meet other folks who care about adolescents and are thinking about how to best care for them in light of God’s great mission, and I hope to learn from them in our conversations together!

Just a few more weeks!

This dream is quickly becoming a reality. People are buying tickets, speakers are booking travel, and youth workers from all over are starting to get pumped about our time together on the campus of SPU.

Here’s some odd-n-ends about the day, questions and anticipated questions I’ve gotten from a variety of people.

  • Ride sharing / room sharing – We want to keep Open as accessible as possible. If you’re able to help drive people or willing to host a guest, please let us know!
  • Connect on Facebook – Open Seattle has a Facebook event page. If you are coming, please join the page so you can connect with others. Let’s hope this isn’t just a one day thing, but that you make some awesome connections.
  • Coming from far away? We know there are folks coming locally but we also know some people are coming from far away. Let us know where you are coming from! And, if you are traveling, make sure to post where you are coming from and any needs you may have. You know… ask not want not. 
  • Want to live blog? We’d love to have a few people keep a live blog of our day. We can post that right here on the site.
  • Yes, everything will be shared! This is an open-source style event. In other words, what you hear at Open Seattle is going to be shared freely. We’ll be asking the speakers to share their slide decks, and we plan on recording the talks to share at
  • T-shirts-n-stuff! When you bought your ticket you told us your t-shirt size. That does imply that you’ll be getting an Open Seattle t-shirt. We’re in the process of doing that right now. (Want to design it? Let us know!)
  • Plan to stay for the after party. No seriously, it won’t be a raging all night party. But we are planning to head over to a nearby pub after Open to mingle.
  • This isn’t a sales pitch. As we are putting together the day you need to know there isn’t going to be a hard pitch to buy anything. We have great hosts, partners, and sponsors… without them this thing couldn’t happen… and they are going to tell you about their ministries. But we’re intentionally not loading up sessions with sales pitches. Our presenters aren’t coming to sell books, either. They are coming to train and encourage you!
  • Here’s the lunch plan. We don’t have one, on purpose. You can bring your lunch, stay on campus and eat at SPU, walk somewhere, or jump in the car to go somewhere. Our encouragement to you would be to just not do lunch alone!
  • We need a panel idea. We’re pretty sure one panel is going to be on student leadership. But we’d love to have another idea. We can certainly make one up… but we think it’d be better to come from those attending!

Hotel Information

We are pleased to offer an excellent group room rate for Open Seattle attendees and speakers. Whether you are flying in, driving in, or just want to stay where the action is we think it’ll be more fun to all stay in the same hotel than to spread out. (We can shuttle around, hang out late night on Friday/Saturday night)

About the hotel

The Courtyard Seattle Lake Union hotel is within walking distance of many local restaurants.  It’s located in the heart of the city, just blocks from Key Arena, the Space Needle and other top area attractions.


Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Lake Union – 925 Westlake Avenue North – Seattle, Washington 98109

link to Google Map

Distance to SPU


Hotels in Seattle are notoriously expensive. Special thanks to our hosts at Seattle Pacific University for helping us get these rooms far below their listed rates.

Mention Seattle Pacific University to receive special discounted rates. Single or double occupancy, per night, exclusive of applicable taxes: $146/night

By Phone

(800) 228-9290

Should I rent a car?

If you are flying in, take public transportation or a shuttle to the hotel. We can carpool for the Speakers Dinner, Open Seattle, and the After Party.

Where can I find info on ground transportation from the airport?

Here’s a handy link.

Sessions confirmed so far!

Confirmed so far!

  1. Relational and adventure ministry to reach and disciple teenagers in both rural and urban settings (Mark Moder)
  2. Youth Collective: Collaborative, Local, Ecumenical Student Ministry (Morgan Schmidt)
  3. The Virtuous Cycle (Brian Aaby)
  4. Ministering to the whole family (Leena Prindle)
  5. Autism and Adolescence (Tammy Burns)
  6. How to recruit the best volunteers (Justin Herman)
  7. Love Without Agenda (Jimmy Spencer, Jr.)
  8. Discipling Teenagers to Disciple Others (Paul Martin)
  9. Bring it! To China (Tim Carigon)
  10. Training and retaining GREAT leaders (Nick Steinloski)
More coming… subject to change… all of that.
Note: If you submitted a proposal and haven’t heard from us yet, don’t read anything into that. We’re still working on the schedule.

Registration is open!

Since we first announced Open Seattle momentum has been building. There is a hunger for this concept, giving power to local organization, removing as much money from the equation as possible, and opening the speaker proposal process.

Well, the time for the next stage of this for the people, democratic movement is upon us.

Head over to the registration page and pick up your tickets! They are just $25 until September 22nd. Space is limited and it greatly helps us if you buy tickets early. (They are transferrable)

Also, understand that if we can sell 150 tickets by mid-September we will add a 3rd track of speakers/sessions! There are more sessions that were proposed that we just don’t have room for. But if we know we’ll have a good crowd it will make sense to add a 3rd track.

We’ll be announcing the full line-up of speakers and sessions soon.

For now… buy, buy, buy!

Speaker Proposals

Want to present at Open Seattle this October? Please fill out the form below by August 10th. Even though the proposal feels formal, please just be yourself.

Thank you!

Speaker Proposal

Step 1 of 3

  • What ministry are you affiliated with or representing? While not required in order to speak, it helps us to know.