Matt and Beth Redman Feature In Documentary - Let There Be Light

Apr 12 2024

Today sees the release of ‘Let There Be Light’ - a documentary film that explores the pattern of abuse many young people experienced over a period of four decades under the leadership of Mike Pilavachi, founder of the Soul Survivor youth movement in the UK.


This short film highlights victims’ stories, alongside expert insight from experienced professionals discussing how cultures can develop that allow abuse of this nature, and the long-term psychological harm that victims can suffer as a result of it. As well as telling the inside story of Mike Pilavachi’s damaging behaviour while leader of Soul Survivor, ‘Let There Be Light’ also explores the lessons the global Church might learn for the future, in this key area of safeguarding.

Featuring Matt and Beth Redman, who were both themselves victims, the documentary also hears from Dr Diane Langberg (an international author who is recognised for her 50 years of clinical work with trauma victims), Dr Chi-Chi Obuaya (a UK consultant psychiatrist) and Dr Amy Orr-Ewing (a UK theologian with a passion to advocate for survivors of abuse). The film calls for higher standards of transparency and justice in the Church of England and the wider church.

A safeguarding investigation commissioned by the Church of England substantiated claims made by victims of emotional, physical, and spiritual harm caused by Pilavachi’s abusive behaviours. The investigation uncovered a systematic pattern of coercive control by him - and confirmed inappropriate physical contact instigated by him, including wrestling with teenage boys and the massaging of young male interns in private. As one survivor commented, “He left a trail of broken, young male adults scattered all around the world". After receiving hundreds of messages from survivors and observing a limited response from key leadership voices in the UK Church, alongside a groundswell of comments from the general public, the Redmans became aware that several media outlets were seeking to retell their stories. This film provides an opportunity for Matt and Beth to tell the story themselves, drawing on the help of experts in this field.

Soul Survivor was a Christian evangelical charismatic youth movement in the UK. Initially founded in 1993, by Mike Pilavachi, its UK summer festivals, which ended in 2019, gathered up to 30,000 young people. Soul Survivor also held regular international events in countries such as Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

Except for a brief resignation statement on social media in July 2023, Pilavachi, now aged 66, has not made himself available for comment. He currently still holds an MBE, an award given to him by the Queen for his services to young people and has not been subject to significant sanctions by the UK Church.

Commenting on the release of ‘Let There Be Light’ Matt Redman said, “This is a story that needed to be told. Close to 150 people spoke to the initial investigation into Mike Pilavachi’s conduct and that report substantiated claims of physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse. For me, this is also a personal story. From the age of 13 I experienced that mistreatment firsthand - and it still affects me to this day. But we didn’t make this documentary to cast stones - instead, we want to bring light and hope to the situation, as well as to help the Church learn from what we and others have experienced.”

Beth Redman added, “We hope this film conveys just how much we love and believe in the body of Christ. Our prayer is for the healing of yesterday’s wounds - and a brighter, safer Church for tomorrow.”

Dr Chi-Chi Obuaya* added, “This is a really important project, and it will no doubt be a huge source of support for people directly and indirectly affected by this issue - both at Soul Survivor and in other similar situations.”

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