Decathlon is a joint publication between Scripture Union, Urban Saints and Youth For Christ 2011

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What does it say on the tin?

Decathlon – a Flexible Ten-session programme using sport to share the gospel with young people.

Many young people love sport and it’s a great way to open up the gospel with young people from outside a church community. Decathlon helps you do just that! Using games derived from ten different sports, Decathlon takes young people through some of the essentials of the Christian faith, such as who God is, God’s grace and the freedom offered by Jesus.

Each session of Decathlon provides material to use in assembly, a youth group setting or a longer holiday-time programme. Young people explore different truths about God through sport, games, Bible engagement, discussion and more.

What do you get?

Decathlon is a 80 page book, covering each of the ten sessions. The sessions cover Christian basics such as Who is God? Why did Jesus die? Who sets your direction? Serving others. Each session is provided in three different formats depending on your group’s particular circumstances. There is an assembly outline, an outline to use with 11-14 year olds and one to use with 14-18s.

Each session is connected to a particular sport, which has sometimes been adapted to make it easier to use in a school or youth group setting.

Who is it for?

The course is designed specifically for young people from outside the church community but could also be run with a discipleship group. It is aimed at young people aged 11-18.




  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    The material is simply laid out and follows the same pattern in each session. The sessions are described clearly and are easy to follow.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Each session has a brief ‘target' which explains the main focus of the session as well as a paragraph describing how the session will work well with young people from outside the church community, and another for church young people. There is also clarification of the aim for each of the different elements: assembly, for 11-14s, and for 14-18s.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    The notes are easy to follow and are clear. Each session has a ‘training for you' section which helps the leader to think through the reason for the session and how it affects them.

    Who could lead it?

    Anyone who is committed to working with young people and getting to know them better.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?


    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    Time will need to be taken to get to grips with the session material and to gather some materials together, depending on which activities you choose to do. The leader will also need to think through how they teach the Bible section well.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Not specifically but Scripture Union, Urban Saints and Youth For Christ all offer help if needed.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Each of the sessions is designed to be run with a group and expects the group to learn together.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    There is a good mix of activities and different ways to learn from the games and Bible presentation. Although the material is built around sport, it is not a requirement that all the young people have to be interested in sport to enjoy the course.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This should be straightforward if you know the young people well.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    There are activities to be done together and plenty of opportunities to discuss issues and share opinions.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Each session has a clear key passage as well as several supporting verses to help explain the session's main teaching points. This course is designed to be used with young people from outside a church context so the authors have been careful to not be too Bible heavy, although there are plenty of options to add more in if appropriate.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The assembly outlines start with a brief sports activity, linking it then to the teaching via a simple everyday illustration. The material for the youth groups, is similar but has more in depth teaching.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    This is a strength of the course as it wants young people to see that God is for them and sets out to help them discover how important it is for them to get to know him.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    It stands within the evangelical contexts of the organisations that co-authored this course.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This is a Christian basics course, which introduces people to Jesus and how they might live for him. There is a session on living for him for life.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    It is designed to enable people to choose to follow Christ and then to continue growing in their faith.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    It helps young people to explore who God is and challenges them to make a decision to follow God.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    The course is based in the daily lives of the participants and is well presented and relevant.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    The course is designed as an evangelistic course so is focused on evangelising the participants.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    This is not an aspect of the course.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    This is not covered.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    There is focus in the final session on the Great Commission, but global mission is not explored explicitly.

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