A new documentary was released this week calling for better safeguarding and accountability in the Church.

Let There Be Light looks at what many youth and young adults experienced over 40 years under the leadership of Mike Pilavachi, a UK church leader. 

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.

One of the couples who share their story of survival is renowned musicians Matt and Beth Redman.

"Our hope is for this film to be something of a care-package for the hurting, at the same time asking how we might become a healthier Church in the future. We know it won’t serve everyone, but we pray it will help some," said Matt in a post on social media. 

He says they decided to share their story to help validate other's experiences.

"It would have been much easier to say nothing - but a culture of silence up until now has been a significant force," Matt explained. "This is a story Beth and I chose to tell. Our prayer is for the healing of yesterday’s wounds and a brighter, safer church tomorrow."

Claims made by victims of emotional, physical and spiritual harm were substantiated in a safeguarding investigation by the Church of England. The investigation revealed a 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.

“He left a trail of broken, young male adults scattered all around the world," said one survivor. 

Pilvachi, now 66, made a brief resignation statement on social media in July 2023. Since then, he has not been available for comment. 

"Unfortunately, the situation at Soul Survivor is not as unique as we'd hope," said Author and Theologian Dr.Amy Orr-Ewing. "Misuses of power are endemic in the world, but they are also endemic in the church."

The hope for this film is that it will help the global church learn from the mistakes made by Mike Pilavachi and work towards better safeguarding and accountability in the church.