The Beautiful Disciplines

The Beautiful Disciplines
Martin Saunders, Monarch Books 2011

£12.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

10 steps to help young people develop their spiritual roots. Packed with practical activities, engaging stories, and relevant explanations, this photocopiable resource will be a powerful tool to help young people develop a deep-rooted and lasting faith.

What do you get and how?

This book is a discipleship course to help young people connect with spiritual disciplines. The writer suggest it can be adapted to suit whatever length would be appropriate for your youth group, whether 6 or 7 weeks or up to 11, if you use all the sessions. The first session is an introduction to what spiritual disciplines are and includes an opportunity for individuals to do an assessment of the current state of their relationship with God. The idea is to do the assessment again at the end of the course to see how their relationship with God has improved.

The remaining 10 sessions are divided into 3 areas:

  1. The Core (Inward disciplines of prayer, study, meditation and fasting).
  2. Outward (the public disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission and service).
  3. Together (the corporate disciplines of worship and celebration).

Who is it for?

This resource is best used with teenagers and young adults. It is a great resource for Christian young people and the author has also included advice for using the material with unchurched young people as well as for younger groups.




  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    This is a well-written book with a clear introduction including advice on how to best run the course. Each session is laid out clearly and offers useful instruction to the leader.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    The course is very clear about enabling young people to learn about the different spiritual disciplines, have an opportunity to experience them and to try them out in the week following.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    The leader's notes are easy to follow and offers a clear aim for each session and some helpful advice and background information for the leader so they are able to lead from a good place of understanding.

    Who could lead it?

    This is best used as part of a youth group and can be led by anyone who is used to leading young people.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?


    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    Each session is designed to last 60 minutes and the leader will need to read through the different options and choose what will work best for their group. Some of the activities will require simple preparation.

    Is there website support? Links?


    Is it dated?


  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    The sessions encourage interaction through the activities and the discussions as well as sharing people's experiences and understanding of each of the disciplines.

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

    Each of the disciplines are very different and lend themselves to different learning styles very easily, which the author has made the most of.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    It should be straightforward to adapt the course to your situation. The writer has given suggestions at the end of each session as to how the leader might adapt the material depending on the age of the group and their faith-commitment. There are also suggestions to help young people go deeper into each discipline, should they so desire.

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

    The course is written from the assumption that the youth group will explore each discipline together and share their understanding and experiences.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The disciplines explored were chosen specifically because each one is clearly practised and advocated in Scripture. The teaching is based on clear biblical principles.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The Bible is used clearly and relevantly to help the young people understand the scriptural importance of each of the disciplines.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    The whole purpose of this course is to encourage young people to practise spiritual disciplines regularly as part of their everyday life and to enable each person to recognise the benefits of doing so.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    The course teaches from a basis of using the spiritual disciplines to improve the participant's relationship with God.

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

    This is an excellent resource to enable people to grow closer to God and to see their faith as an everyday part of their life.

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

    The sole purpose of the course is to enable people to grow in their faith by spending time regularly with God through different disciplines.

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

    The 10 disciplines are varied and help the individual to encounter God in very different ways. This helps them to take any limits off their faith and to see their faith as a journey of continued development.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    The sessions are very practical and helpful in using the disciplines in their regular, day-to-day life. The author shows understanding of the pressures on young people today and offers good advice to practise the disciplines in a realistic manner.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    The course explores the concept of sharing God's love with others as part of their obedience to God and serving him. There is an undercurrent to the whole course that as people practise the disciplines and grow closer to God, they will better share his love with those around them.

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

    The session on service has an expectation on connecting with the local community and the sessions on corporate disciplines (worship and celebration) encourage participation in the local church fellowship.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    It does not touch on this issue specifically.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    It does not focus on global mission explicitly but does imply it by individuals growing closer to Jesus.

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