How it works

Betel South Africa group photo

Entering and Exiting Our Residences

All of our residents enter and exit voluntarily. We suggest men and women plan to join us for a minimum of 12 to 18 months. Everyone is required to do a telephone interview before being offered entrance. Following the interview, we receive people quickly, usually within one to five days of making their first contact. We accept residents of 18 years and older.


Our Method Is To Model Freedom

Residents soon discover that life at Betel is not a goal-oriented programme but rather a commitment to daily choice—to aspire to the values and pursuits of a new and healthier lifestyle, as modelled by mature Christians. In the “advance at your own pace” environment, residents observe and learn character-building principles. They live them out at home and at work, building strong foundations for a stable future – off the streets, with the will to work, and living drug- and alcohol-free.

Community leaders and their immediate families live on-site. They form an integral part of the extended-family atmosphere. The most capable and compassionate of Betel “graduates” are often invited to become support staff. Having “been through it”, their firsthand experience and lessons learned are an invaluable encouragement to newer residents.


Responsibility and Self-Care

Betel’s objective is to help residents rebuild their own lives through community responsibility and shared decision making. As residents’ motivation and stability improve, with time and experience, they are gradually given more responsibility for supervising household duties and monitoring daily work. Their example helps to encourage less-experienced residents. The result is a community that is  peer-motivated and guided.

Most residents are offered an entrance date the day they are interviewed. They spend their first two weeks adjusting or “getting to know us” before joining a daily work team. Everyone learns basic life skills and is responsible for his own personal care: sharing in community meal preparation, washing up, house cleaning, clothes washing, bedroom tidying, gardening, etc.

Success Through Family and Work

With Betel, like respected Christian communities of the past, residents gradually work problems through in an environment based on two simple and time-honoured concepts:

  • Extended Family

Residents build meaningful relationships, inspiring hope and self-esteem, in an atmosphere of acceptance and love.

  • Meaningful Work

Residents help to fund their own recovery by working in one of our charitable businesses. This significantly reduces the financial burden on their families and the government while restoring self-dignity and a sense of purpose. The result is that, on leaving Betel, they contribute positively to their own family life and society.

Meaningful work is vital to long-term recovery. It takes many forms, from the gentle introduction to the necessity of daily chores in our residences, to the responsibility of managing a Betel business in the local community. Daily teamwork helps to build job skills, diligence, punctuality, dependability, self-esteem and respect for supervisors.
Residents are supervised and orientated to the realities of today’s working world in one of Betel’s workshops or businesses, namely:

  • Furniture repair
  • Restoration and Upholstery
  • House Removals and Clearances
  • Garden Maintenance and Landscaping
  • Tree Surgery
  • Painting and Decorating
  • Charity Shop Retail Sales
  • Vehicle Repair

We contract jobs with the local public, the government, businesses, churches and charities as our principle means of funding Betel’s charitable activities.

Long-Term Change

As members of an extended family, working and worshipping together, residents focus on achieving and sustaining change in three main areas of life:

Physically: by maintaining abstinence from harmful, addictive substances (illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco) and recovering the good health habits of a proper diet and exercise.

Emotionally: by practising self-control and co-operation, gradually recovering a healthy self-image as a positive contributor to work teams, group recreation, and a caring household.

Morally: by acquiring a system of values which help to sustain the cumulative benefits of the change individuals achieve, successfully avoiding relapse over the long run.