What we do 2018-11-01T10:43:43+00:00

Our Dream

Petra Institute has a specific ‘dream’ or vision: ‘Petra Institute shares God’s desire that the lost and broken children are found and restored to healing Christian families and communities, to join Him in transforming society.’

Children in the Community

We are therefore not only concerned with the children in the church but especially those outside the church, and especially children who grow up without hope and love, who are emotionally wounded, alienated and lost. We do not see children separate from their environment and therefore focus on relationships within families and the community, including the church. Healing is all-encompassing. We therefore seek active partnerships with churches and organisations working in the context of poverty, emergency and persecution.


Petra Institute focuses on consulting, research, development and equipment of leaders and organisations for children’s ministry. Petra Institute works predominantly in partnerships and networks that include national churches, ecumenical bodies, faith-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions and state institutions.

A partnership usually develops as follows:

An institution approaches us, or we meet influential leaders of such institutions that share our vision for the Kingdom and for children. If there is enough mutual interest, we arrange an advocacy workshop where we reflect with the leaders of the institution about the place of children in their local community and church. They make strategic decisions about the future, which usually include a partnership agreement with Petra Institute. Petra Institute begins with a process of consultation, joint strategic planning and training of a core group of leaders of the partner. The training will be expanded and followed up as long as required by the strategic agreement.

Equipment for multiplication

Training programs are designed to serve the needs of the partner. Because experiential learning is the core of our training model, courses are usually held in the context of the partner. This makes it possible for the partner to apply and multiply the program more easily.

Children’s Ministry –  some important concepts

Children’s Ministry is ministry in the Kingdom of God, to, together with, through and for the sake of children. A key concept in our understanding of children’s ministry is ‘hospitality’ – to welcome children in the Name of Jesus
(Matthew 18: 5).

We believe Christ is the centre (rather than the child as centre) and focuses in children’s ministry on relationships (rather than programmes), experience (rather than theory), comprehensive ministry (rather than narrowed ministry), life change (rather than simply transferring knowledge), cross-age/intergenerational ministry (rather than age-separated ministry) and contextual ministry (rather than general ministry). We try to teach trainers to apply principles and skills creatively with children and families in different contexts. Appropriate candidates are being equipped to become training facilitators, and key leaders are invited to Petra Institute for mentorship/management training.

Equipping of church/ organisation leaders

At Petra Institute we are concerned about the gap in the education of church and congregation leaders regarding children. Our experience is that pastors and ministers often do not have the knowledge and skills to effectively include children in the congregation’s ministry. We have therefore developed programmes to raise awareness of such church leaders in child-friendly congregational ministry, intergenerational ministry and strategic planning for children in the congregation and community. Together with like-minded partners, we try to introduce children’s ministry as an integral part of theological education worldwide.


Petra Institute was previously accredited at the South African Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), with courses according to registered SAQA unit standards at levels 2, 4 and 6. We are currently registered with the newly formed Association of Christian Religious Practitioners, the state-recognised body for the standardisation and coordination of training and registration of Christian religious practitioners. We are part of various national and international networks, including The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA), Child Theology Africa (CTA), Global Children’s Forum (GCF) and Viva Network, and we support movements such as the 4/14 Window Movement and the Lausanne Movement.

We have three strategies with regard to training

The first is partner-centred, contextual contact training.
Courses in this category are compiled and adjusted in terms of the partner’s needs, but include:

  • Intergenerational ministry in the congregation 2-4 days
  • Enter the world of children. 11 days
  • Help children grow in faith. 11 days
  • Enter the world of families. 10 days
  • Walking with Wounded Children. 11 days.
  • Trainer of trainers. 25 days

The second is advanced general contact training for selected leaders:
Children’s Ministry Mentorship course (Leadership and Management in children’s ministry) 42 days

The third is a structured telematic course in two modules:
Relational Childrens Ministry 1 & 2 (Children’s Ministry skills from building rela ons to faith formation) 10 months for each module.

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