Dr. Van Zyl entered the full-time children’s ministry in August 1995 when he was sent out by the Uitenhage-North Dutch Reformed Church with the commission: Children’s Ministry to Child Evangelism South Africa (CEFSA). He was asked to become the National Director of CEFSA. For that reason he had to go and study child evangelism at CEFSA’s international headquarters in the USA (Aug–Nov 1995) and perform two year’s internship as assistant-National Director of CEFSA.
Four months after his return from the USA he was, however, approached by the Huguenot College, the Youth Commission of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa to develop and present the first Children’s Ministry Certificate Programme on tertiary level in South Africa as Head: Children’s Ministry. At his insistence this course was to be 1) interdenominational and 2) a children’s ministry course (more encompassing than child evangelism). Because he had to leave CEFSA and only had a temporary contract with the Huguenot College, ‘he had to belong somewhere’. This is when and how Paidion Children’s Ministry was established in 7 October 1996. In essence Dr. Van Zyl developed and presented this course for the Huguenot College from within Paidion Children’s Ministry. By the end of 1998 Dr. Van Zyl didn’t renew his contract with the Huguenot College.
This programme was completely updated with the newest research in children’s ministry in 1999 and exclusively presented by Paidion Children’s Ministry.
At the beginning of 2000 Paidion Children’s Ministry entered into an agreement with the CB Powell Bible Centre of UNISA through which this programme was a UNISA accredited programme and Paidion Children’s Ministry the Learning Centre. The CB Powell Bible Centre at UNISA was closed by the end of 2010.
Since then, due to national legislation, the programme/ course is once again presented exclusively by Paidion Children’s Ministry as a Short Learning Programme after which successful learners receive a Competency Certificate.
The course was once again completely updated in 2017.
Paidion Children’s Ministry has since 1999 also through Dr. Van Zyl been involved in the training of pre-graduate and master’s degree theological learners at the Theological Faculties of the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Vista.
Dr. Van Zyl has, since Paidion Children’s Ministry’s establishment in 1996, also been involved in the presentation of more than 300 children’s ministry workshops and conferences for more than 7000 adults nationally and internationally.