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Matt and Beth Redman Share Their Stories of Abuse in New Soul Survivor Documentary

Matt and Beth Redman Share Their Stories of Abuse in New Soul Survivor Documentary

A new documentary has premiered on YouTube that explores the pattern of abuse young people experienced under the leadership of Mike Pilavachi, the founder of the Soul Survivor movement in the United Kingdom. 

Let There Be Light highlights victims’ stories, including those of worship leaders Matt and Beth Redman. The film is a response to the Soul Survivor abuse investigation that was revealed last year. Soul Survivor was a Christian evangelical charismatic youth movement in the UK founded by Pilavachi in 1993. It held annual UK summer festivals, gathering up to 30,000 young people each year. Soul Survivor also held regular international events in countries such as Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Netherlands.

Last year, the Church of England began investigating claims made by victims of emotional, physical and spiritual harm caused by Pilavachi. The investigation uncovered a pattern of “coercive control” as well as inappropriate physical contact instigated by him, including wrestling teenage boys and massaging young male interns in private.

The Redmans shared that they had received hundreds of messages of survivors asking for support, and decided they needed to share their own story through this documentary with the help of experts in this field.

“This is a story that needed to be told,” Matt said. “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.”

In July 2023, Matt shared for the first time that he had been abused by Pilavachi at age 19 while at a Soul Survivor festival. He and his wife Beth had shared their own experiences of mistreatment, but were “ignored, patronized or gaslit by the leadership at Soul Survivor.” In the documentary, they call out the lack of care for victims and stressed the importance of accountability within the Church.

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

The film shows how certain cultures can allow abuse to become widespread, the long-term psychological damage victims often suffer, as well as ways the global Church can prevent abuse from happening in the future. The documentary also calls for higher standards of transparency and justice within the Church. 

Let There Be Light is available to watch for free on YouTube:

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