Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

The Beautiful Disciplines by Martin Saunders

on May 24, 2012

About the book from Kregel:

Many of today’s young people practice a dangerously brittle faith. They swing wildly between belief and skepticism, Christian service and the temptations of teen culture. Surrounded by a multitude of distractions, they long for a grounding that can’t be found in the euphoria generated by big events or in the personalities of their leaders. They need to be led into a deeper faith, one that puts them in a disciplined and direct relationship with God.

Packed with practical activities, engaging stories, and relevant explanation, The Beautiful Disciplines is a powerful tool to help young people develop a deep-rooted and lasting faith. The heart of the book is twelve short, engaging chapters looking at the twelve spiritual disciplines popularized by authors like Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Each chapter begins with background information for the leader, before moving into a study section aimed at young people, including some practical exercises. Each concludes with questions suitable for discussion in small groups.

The disciplines covered are: the discipline of celebration, the discipline of confession, the discipline of contemplation, the discipline of fasting, the discipline of guidance, the discipline of prayer, the discipline of service, the discipline of simplicity, the discipline of solitude, the discipline of study, the discipline of submission, and the discipline of worship.

My Opinion:


If you lead a youth group or even just your own children in your home, this book is a wonderful resource to have on hand.  I might even go so far as to say if this had been around and the youth group leaders had used this when I was young, I may not have strayed as far as I did from the Lord and His church.  The plans are all laid out for you and even alternate ideas are given based upon the ages that you may be working with.  Before reading this I never really gave any thought to what disciplines beyond prayer and Bible reading there could be for my life as a Christian – but this has really opened up a new way of looking at my walk and the walk of my children.


Using prayer, study, meditation (not to be confused with the New Age version), fasting, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, worship and celebration children are guided through how to make the Christian walk indispensable in their daily lives and how to apply it constantly.  In today’s world where so many children are plugged in to video games, iPods, cell phones, etc not many know how to study the Word of God, how to pray or even what it means to be of service to others.  Martin Saunders, works to correct this through the book The Beautiful Disciplines, as he wants children and young adults to really connect with their faith.  I have to say this isn’t just for children either, I got a lot out of it just by reading it and I can’t wait to implement the ideas in my own life.


Each week is divided up into sections such as:

  • The First Steps – this is the discussion/conversation starters.
  • The Adaptable Meeting Guides – these are the lesson plans.  The author suggests going through prior to the meeting and picking the best and most relevant areas that you feel your group needs to focus on.
  • Going Deeper – extra activities to be completed based on the Discipline being studied

What I really appreciated is the fact that the material in the book can be adapted for older groups, younger groups, for those church-ed youth and those who are not in church.  There are no age suggestions given for what is older and younger – so it’s really up to you to decide what the children can take in in any given time.  I also like that there are estimated times given, some activities may take only 5 minutes or some may take 30 minutes – however the point isn’t really to rush through this but to make sure the children grasp the importance and I could see taking 2 weeks to go through each discipline and a guide on how to turn this into a longer study is also provided.


**Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.



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