Hosting “Open Paris”


In just over one month youth workers from across Europe and North American will be traveling to France for Open Paris.  This event is sponsored by The Youth Cartel and my church, The American Church in Paris, will play the host.

I am really excited about this opportunity to get a variety of voices from a multitude of backgrounds, traditions, cultures..and countries gathering together to learn and embrace our experiences.

I appreciate the vision of The Youth Cartel’s “Open” manifesto

Here’s a blurb from their own words…..

“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.”

On a personal note, I have known Adam and Marko for over a decade now and our journey which began at YS conventions will now finds us within a stone’s throw of the Eiffel Tower sipping wine and discussing the latest theological and cultural trends impacting youth ministry.

The U.S used to have a market on all things “youth ministry” but the global community has much to say especially relating to shifting worldviews in secular societies.

Yes, our American counterparts (which I still include myself in) know how to budget and build bigger and “better” youth ministry programs at church.  European youth workers are navigating the often treacherous waters between secular and sacred within society. Ours are often the students who can speak 3-4 different languages, have fully stamped passports by the age of 12, feel more comfortable in airports than soccer fields, and are positioned to be the global leaders of tomorrow.  This is why learning how to minister to teenagers in a European context is crucial and a good lesson for all youth workers.

And Paris…well, to many it is still the heart of Europe and center of culture, fashion, cuisine and philosophy.  It is often said that what trends in Paris finds its way to NYC and then the world.  This is certainly true when it comes to fashion and probably the culinary world.

But ask any student of philosophical innovation, especially in the era of postmodernity, and the birthplace of these ideas….France!  This cultural phenomenon that scares the multitudes in America came from the minds of French thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and the like.  These brilliant minds arguably redefined thought, literature, culture…and religion… and similar minds are being educated currently in the same schools our students attend.

That being said, Paris is just one of many cultural centers in Europe which hold great influence on the rest of the global community.

I hope that Open Paris will just be the beginning of an European movement in youth ministry that brings together divergent views in a united passion of seeing God’s kingdom redefined in radical ways among today’s teens.

If you can, please come and join us or stay tuned to this blog for Open Paris updates, live feeds, and reflections as we celebrate new ideas in youth ministry and dream together what youth work can..and will be!

For more information about our location, speakers, seminars and to register please visit the Open Paris site:


The American Church in Paris…who we are

Officially chartered under French law in 1856 with a constitution stating:

The American Church in Paris is the instrument of the American and Foreign Christian Union, which is charged with the responsibility of maintaining a place and program of Protestant worship designed particularly for the American community, but open to all residents and visitors in Paris.

ACP has been intentionally interdenominational since the beginning. While officially Protestant, we welcome Christians of all denominations, including Roman Catholics who account for approximately 20% of the regular worshipping congregation.  The liturgy for the service is drawn from the prayer books of several of the major Protestant denominations an is similar to contemporary Roman Catholic liturgy as well.

In addition to being a spiritual home for English-speakers in Paris, the American Church also serves the larger community through educational, cultural, and social programs in the Franco-American Community Center. Approximately 1,000 people use the facilities each day.

What we Believe:

theologically, The American Church in Paris may be characterized as belonging to the historic Christian mainstream.  Today, our constitution states:

The Church recognizes the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revelation of God in matters of faith and practice, and it accepts as a symbol of our union with the great body of Christians, living and dead, the spiritual truths embodies in the Apostles Creed. The church asserts its beliefs in the freedom and responsibility of the individual and the right of private judgment exercised under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
A note from our Pastor, Rev.Scott Herr
“The criteria for members here at the ACP is based solely on confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  We affirm the Apostles Creed. This is the oldest ecumenical creed, going back to the first apostles, and links us with the larger body of Christ around the world.  We welcome different expressions of the apostolic faith as developed in various Christian traditions, but given our diversity, must remember “The main thing is to keep the main the main thing!”
I think the motto of the English 17th century English Puritan pastor Richard Baxter is very appropriate for our community.  He advised, “In necessary things unity; in doubtful things liberty; and in all things charity.” With members from over 40 different nationalities and Christian traditions and denominations, we are truly a work of the Holy Spirit!  We hope that you will ask any questions you may have about who we are, what we believe and how we live out our faith here as an English-speaking, international, interdenominational Protestant church.”