THRIVE is a one year, Bible based, program for school leavers, carefully designed to help them grow in spiritual maturity and to equip them with essential life skills.


The need


Christian matriculants are leaving the comfort and security of home and school life to be thrust into increasingly hostile tertiary educational establishments.  Over-night they are confronted with an aggressively post-modern and largely atheistic agenda which is seeking to eradicate any notion of the Christian faith within a viable world view.  Subsequently as they enter the world’s institutions of learning and commerce, young students are ill-equipped for the barrage of ridicule that results from a declaration or lifestyle of faith.


Furthermore, our primary and secondary systems are not providing adequate forums or incentives to develop critical thinking.  Schools (understandably) place their emphasis on passing exams, but this usually leaves little place for philosophy and results in teachers defaulting to rote learning methods rather than promoting analysis and debate.  Unaccustomed therefore to the previously celebrated disciplines of rhetoric, comprehension, debate, logic and reason, contemporary school leavers are under-developed in discernment and therefore tend to buckle to the common worldview of their peers and society.


Growing up, our worldview is shaped in part by parents and school teachers but the overwhelming weight of influence on today’s young adults comes from peers and secular media.  Consequently, there is a great need to provide teenagers with an extended forum at this critical stage of life, to develop discernment and understanding, to consolidate their belief system and to be equipped to defend and proclaim the gospel.


 The Thrive program


Thrive is a one year, full time, Bible based program at St James Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town.


Thrive is specifically designed to equip matriculants with a mature faith, discernment, critical life skills and practical ministry experience.  Each week contains: Bible training sessions run in a debate format; teaching opportunities through ministry placements; work in underprivileged schools in Manenberg and Life Skills sessions [including how to run a small business, dealing with insurance, cooking and nutrition, discernment in media interaction, how to understand our emotions, and the role of the judiciary].  This element of the course seeks to be wide in scope but engaging and interactive in content.  We use multimedia to engage our students in their thinking as well as a substantial reading component.  There are educational excursions and we attempt to achieve a mission trip each year which the students themselves are responsible for organising and funding through small business ventures.   Each student is also given a mature mentor for the year who meets with them regularly and supports them through this year of growth.


The course runs Sunday - Thursday with Friday and Saturday as days off when the students are entitled to engage in other employment should they choose to do so.  The year runs from January through to early December.  Thrive is a free program but each student will need to organise their own accommodation and food.  We provide a small monthly stipend to cover transportation and book purchase costs.


Who should apply?

Any Christian school leaver should consider Thrive, irrespective of whether their career path is already mapped out or if they are unsure of what to do after school. Thrive aims to provide a foundational gap year tailored to individual needs and gifts, that will be invaluable for the rest of their life as a Christian. 


We tend towards investing much in our secular education in preparing for employment, and yet spend a meagre amount of time investing in our relationship with God and being equipped for our Christian future that will endure for all eternity.  Thrive seeks to address this inadequacy and provide a platform for our students to “Thrive” - being extended beyond their comfort zones and challenging them to have high expectations.


The application process


To apply to be part of the Thrive program or to find out more through an interview process, please fill in a form that can be downloaded below and returned to or at the church office. 


A member of the Thrive team will then contact the candidate and their parents and invite them to an interview.  There is no commitment at this stage, but after the interview process, if successful, the applicants receive a formal invitation to be a part of the course beginning in January.   At this point we will formally require a commitment to the course for the whole year.



St James Church

114 Third Avenue


021 671 7070

Scott -
Gareth -
Rob -  


Download Brochure here / Download Enquiry Application here