The God Slot

Sometimes I’ve pretty much worked out what I’m going so say before I start, this is not one of those ocassions! However I do want to throw open a debate to the combined might of the elect-blog-intellect on the subject of ……….
The God Slot?
First of all let’s define terms. By the ‘God Slot’ I mean the moment at the end of a youth evening, of some description, where the group HAVE to be quiet and a leader tries to pitch some aspect of the christian faith, in a relevent(ish) way at/to the group!
(If I visit a group this is often the privilige/ordeal inflicted on me)
The debatey bit is this. On one level I’m not a huge fan of the ‘God Slot’ as it kind of grates with me, to have a whole evening of stuff which is not different to any other ‘secular’ group but to then attempt to redeem it with a God Slot seems a bit odd.
But at another level at least the young people are clear that there is something distinctive in the reason the leaders commit to and run the group, their faith is explicit (although in danger of being compartmentalised).
I guess I’d rather a ‘God Slot’ than groups that just have an ethereal hope that something of their Christianity (however vague) will make some lasting impression. The ideal though is a group where faith/spirituality are at the core of what the group is and does.
The “God Slot” though is handed down as the traditional way that Christian youth work is done and many group’s have not come across any alternatives.
So ….. what do you make of the ‘God Slot’ and what alternative models do you have that I can present to busy and over stretched volunteers?

9 Replies to “The God Slot”

  1. I’m not a big fan of the God Slot (or spot as it’s called in our group). I haven’t changed it as yet, but I’d like to. The only idea I’ve had so far is that we make it more small group orientated. The small group would be able to discuss an issue together and the christian members and leader could input christian views.

  2. We have our God slot in the middle of our club (as you may remember when it indeed WAS inflicted on you Ian!!)
    We’ve recently tried following this up with a discussion session but not with much success as yet because the discussion competes with the possibilities of playstation, sport, craft etc.
    In fact I have sometimes HAD discussions (informally) following on from the talk at the craft table or just hanging out somewhere.
    Perhaps we’re not sparking enough interest in the young people to provoke debate?

  3. It seems we must fall into the minority as our group is a lot more discussion focused with almost an hour of discussion in each session, and most of the time pretty blatantly Christian based too.

  4. I have never been a big fan of the God Slot but like you have had them inflicted upon me at times. The work I do within the church is all very Christian focused and so groups are all discussion based anyway apart from socials where we don’t do anything teachy at all. On the bus we are working with young people from the community we are set up in and very few Christians in that setting. In one of the villages they have a God Slot because they did when I arrived and they continue it, within this village we just about get away with it. My experience in most situations though is that the God Slot is the bit that the young people don’t want to be there for and the leaders find the most difficult to lead. Most places we go to on the bus trying to have a God Slot would be a bad idea, but we are finding the young people begin to ask us questions, one village we have had a couple of very deep discussions recently, we make no secret of the fact that we are a Christian organisation and will take opportunities, sometimes these come out of people blaspheming (which we don’t allow) but if they are going to mention Jesus Christ so will we! Sometimes the conversations start as a result of the young people trying to ask embarrassing questions of the leaders. These situations can lead to some great conversations which work because they start them and I think this often enables us to go deeper. I don’t know if it makes a difference that we are based within the limited space of a Double Decker Bus.

  5. I try and plan the evening so that it all leads up to the ‘GodSpot’ – craft, games & even food are loosely related around the theme (eg last session was about suffering so craft was to create an image of yourself in pain, games were endurance type (30seconds of sit-ups!), couldn’t get away with eating raw chillies though).
    At the beginning of the evening I introduce the theme and how the activities fit in. Leaders are encouraged to discuss the theme with the YPs during the evening, and then the God Spot is an attempt to pull the evening together by looking at how the Bible relates to the theme.
    Always finish with Prayer which is again on the theme, and often stuff for the prayer is given out earlier so that they can reflect (pain prayer was using a sticking plaster)
    These monthly sessions are followed up a fortnight later with a session of debate, discussion and bible study although not always with the same YPs!

  6. Only discovered this blog a few days ago, very good stuff. We run different groups with different focus so they know the content, our first point of contact is an open youth group where we have a ‘God thing’ (as the kids call it) in the middle, they know the score and settle to it most of the time as it usually involves a few games and something odd! BUT we also believe in reaching YP in a holistic way and sometimes have nights that are based on health or specific themes (usual drugs, alcohol, bullying) we try to encourage young people to see themselves as spiritual beings on every level and instead of just pumping them with a few easy answers challenge them to explore how God affects every decision they make, its an ethos thing that all the leaders are encouraged to encourage! regulalrly leads to great informal discussion and questions. They also love hearin peoples own personal stories. Hope I haven’t waffled too much!

  7. Ruthe,
    Good to hear from you, I enjoyed looking at your blog (glad you were inspired by Tony Campolo too, he’s been an inspiration of mine ever since Greenbelt in the 80’s when I first heard him speak).
    Thanks for the comment (definitely not too waffly) and I reckon ‘ethos’ and ‘story’ are two key words in how we approach things more hollistically.

  8. I think the God Slot is an important part of most youth groups, however it should not be the only Christian input of the evening. While I think it foolish to say “we’re Christians, so the YPs will see God in the way we play football” and leave it at that, the God Slot should be reinforcing and supporting the discussions we have with the YPs over the course of the night.
    I often find these discussions flow more easily if I know what topics are coming up in fortcoming God Slots, so perhaps groups might want to consider publishing their ideas to other leaders a few weeks in advance (assuming the talk is planned that far ahead, of course!).
    The key is to make the talky bit fun and different – some of the YPs refer to it as “assembly” which presumably has negative connotations for them…

  9. I like the idea of Godly Play being a complete and wholistic way to do “youth group.” GP is often only used to describe a process with children, but what if we decided to “grow it up” a little to be something that encompases what we do during the entire gig?
    The “I Wonders” then are found in everything we do, not as blunt as “i wonder what jesus would do here” but in our playing, in our playfullness we’re encouraged to experience forgiveness, love, friendship, mission, god, tollerance, other faiths, family, atonement, grief, the spirit, the scripture…
    seperating play from the god talk is actually counter productive… especially since we’re talking about a god of play…

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