The Hatfield Arts Centre presents a number of Worship Academies throughout the year. These Academies are grounded in a relational, mentoring journey and the aim is to grow worshippers of God in their calling, gifting and character. We believe in connecting with authentic people and encouraging an excellence of spirit.

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  Our story  

After many requests in South Africa and from the international community for the equipping of worship leaders, the need for a full-time worship academy became evident. Hosted by Hatfield Christian Church (HCC) in Pretoria East, the first academy started in January 2008 when six full-time students journeyed with us till the end of June. HCC hosts the academies, and the students live in our vibrant student village Hatfield Community on-site.


The following initiatives were started:

  • an internship programme

  • a modular worship academy presented over five weekends – known as the Big Five

  • a partnership with the UK music ministry pioneer Chris Bowater and

  • the worship academies moved under the umbrella of the Hatfield Arts Centre under the directorship of Gerben Grooten.


In 2016 we started our Worship Leaders Academy for those experienced in ministry.


  Our lecturers  

Gerben & Mieke Grooten

Worship Directors Hatfield Christian Church

Chris Matthews

Worship Leader and Assistant Director to Gerben Grooten

Dan Erickson (USA)

Missionary, writer and poet

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Luke van der Merwe

Worship leader, music director, arranger and freelance musician

Academic researcher, worship leader and songwriter (PhD in Practical Theology)

Mike Noviskie (USA)

Worship leader, Missionary & Song writer

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  Gerben Grooten  

Hi! I was born in the Netherlands in 1970 and have been involved in studying and playing music since the age of three. This led to completing three Master's degrees in orchestral percussion, orchestral conducting and music education. When I turned 25, I exchanged my playing career for arts education and became the Deputy Director and Project Co-ordinator at a creative arts institution in Holland. I enjoyed teaching orchestral percussion and conducting the orchestras and choirs while leading the 2000-strong institution. Ever since then I have worked with many ensembles, orchestras and bands, as both a conductor and musician. 

I became a Christian in 2000 and have had the privilege of working with many organisations, churches and universities. I came to South Africa in 2005 together with my wife Mieke, to head up the Worship Department of Hatfield Christian Church. Three years later I started the Hatfield Arts Centre and have been the Director ever since. Together with Chris Bowater I lead modular worship academies in Europe, Asia and Africa. Presently I am the Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of both the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and the Pretoria Bach Choir. Despite the real privilege of being in demand internationally as a conductor, I am certain of God’s calling on our lives to South Africa. My heart is to work with young musicians and singers and provide a safe environment for them to express life to the fullest. I am deeply moved by the people, potential and cultural diversity of this country: a powerful mix of 

ingredients for the arts, which could become a mirror to the world.


  What we offer  

Full-Time Worship Academy (January or Mid-Year)

This is our flagship course and is directed at young people who have a worship calling on their lives. It covers the following topics:


  • worship theology and life skills

  • musical styles and interpretation

  • listening abilities

  • song-writing and recording, and

  • rehearsal techniques.


Through the years we have had singers, musicians, painters, photographers, writers and graphic designers do the full-time academy, to name but a few. All are welcome!


Application process

Please take careful note of the content required on the application form. After we have received your form you will be invited for an interview (international students will be interviewed telephonically). The interview allows us to get to know you better and creates a personal point of connection to facilitate the application process.

Next intake:

Date: 26 January – 28 June 2020

Cost: R18 000 excluding accommodation

Duration: 5½  months | Classes Monday through Thursday | 09h00 – 13h00


Download our application form

Modular Worship Academy

Since 2010 we have been running Modular Worship Academies. It is a part-time discipleship course orientated around worship lifestyle. Suitable for young and old. Everyone with a heart for worship are welcome.


This Academy runs over 3 weekends and covers the following topics:

  • the heritage of worship

  • the theology of worship

  • excellence

  • worship and the prophetic, and

  • worship in spirit and truth.


We are also able to bring this academy to your area in Gauteng, hosted by a local church. Contact us to discuss the options.


Dates: 13 - 14 September 2019

Time: Friday 19h00 - 21h00, Saturdays 9h00-18h00

Duration:  3 Weekends

Cost:  R450 (includes coffee, tea, lunch and snacks)


Download our application form


Every year we select a handful of students from across all the academies who want a more personalised practical journey with the Hatfield Worship Department and Hatfield Arts Centre.


Date:  September to November 2019

Cost: Linked to the number of weeks/months

Duration:  In consultation with the Director, Gerben Grooten

R800 for a week

R1500 for 2 weeks

R2500 for a month

R6500 for 3 months

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  Contact us  

Get in touch  



Tel:  +27 60 960 2191


General enquiries


Physical address:

551 January Masilela Drive, Pretoria, 0181

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