*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Matt Redman speaks of ‘harmful behaviours’ and ‘gaslighting’ after Pilavachi resignation

13 July 2023

Alamy

Matt Redman at the Grammy Awards in 2013

Matt Redman at the Grammy Awards in 2013

THE Christian musician Matt Redman has said that he experienced “harmful behaviours” from Canon Mike Pilavachi, the founder of Soul Survivor.

Canon Pilavachi resigned as Associate Pastor of Soul Survivor, Watford, on Tuesday, having been formally suspended in May (News, 26 May). Since the church first announced that he would “step back” from ministry while a safeguarding investigation was carried out, allegations have been published in national newspapers, including accounts of wrestling and full-body massages (News, 5 May; 19 May).

Mr Redman was a teenager when he met Canon Pilavachi, and began leading sung worship at Soul Survivor when he was 20. His compositions include “Blessed be your Name” and “10,000 Reasons”, and he has won two Grammy Awards.

On Thursday morning, Mr Redman posted a statement on social media, in which he said: “Out of respect for those conducting the current investigation into Mike Pilavachi, up until now I’ve tried to say as little as possible, and to trust the process. Having seen his [Canon Pilavachi’s] resignation statement this week, and in particular some of the replies to that on social media, I’ve decided that now may be a good moment to say more.”

Mr Redman does not refer to specific replies on social media; but Canon Pilavachi’s Facebook post announcing his resignation drew supportive replies from the evangelist J John and the founder of the New Frontiers network, Terry Virgo.

Mr Redman goes on to write that “the number of people who have come forward to the safeguarding investigation is now a loud and clear alarm-bell that cannot be ignored.

“I feel particularly strongly on this issue as I myself experienced first-hand the harmful behaviours that have been described. I had not intended to disclose this on social media, but much of the recent narrative following Mike’s statement has compelled me to do so. I have spent years trying to fully heal from my time at Soul Survivor — and, painfully, I now know this to be the case for a lot of other people too.”

He writes that he will not comment further while the investigation is ongoing, but says that “a good number of those who have spoken to the investigation, including my wife Beth and myself, had come forward previously at the time of being mistreated — but were ignored, patronised or gaslit by those in leadership. Historically there has been a failure of care in this area by those in authority at Soul Survivor — which makes this current moment even more critical to get right.”

Mr Redman concludes by calling for church leaders to be held accountable. “It simply cannot be that if a ministry is particularly fruitful, or a leader is particularly gifted, or we ourselves have benefitted from that ministry, then we are willing to turn a blind-eye to the mistreatment of others under their care. Sadly we have all seen such scenarios play out before — and as the Church we have some learning to do in this area.”

Mr Redman has spoken of having had a “quite turbulent childhood”; his father took his own life when Mr Redman was seven (News, 12 August 2016). He has spoken of how learning to sing the songs and play them on the guitar “kept me stable”.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)