I don’t think I’m the only one who thought that Soul Survivor would never come to an end. That has now changed. After the announcement was made, many people flocked online to make their tributes and share their testimonies about how Soul Survivor had impacted them. They ran into the thousands. Such was the gravity of the announcement that it made a news item on the BBC. I’ve had a few days to think about it, and here’s where I’m currently at…
I am a Soul Survivor boy. It was part of my teenage years and I have been a part of the Enabling Team for Momentum for pretty much all my adult life. Soul Survivor introduced me to some brilliant speakers, preachers and theologians. Soul Survivor introduced me to some incredibly worship music and worship leaders who were genuine of heart and always wanted to make room for the bigger things of God. Soul Survivor facilitated many of the lifelong friendships that I now enjoy. Soul Survivor provided the meeting space for the catch-ups with them.
Soul Survivor always felt like a family even though it was a huge enterprise. And so, it is only natural that I have been a bit down this week as the reality starts to sink in that after 2019, Soul Survivor Ministries will be no more. Here’s what Mike had to say:
I have to say that it’s a very courageous decision to make. By secular standards, Soul Survivor continues to be successful; on that score, there’s no reason for it to end. In a spiritual sense, Mike explains that nothing untoward has happened. The reason Soul Survivor is finishing is because they’ve prayed about it and reflected on it and simply decided that it’s what God wants.
That’s hard to argue with, and it’s probably why so many are finding it hard to swallow.
There are so many unknowns about the future of youth ministry now in the UK where countless churches relied on Soul Survivor as their big summer festival to invite kids to. On a personal note, Momentum (later Naturally Supernatural and part of Soul Survivor Ministries) was the one time of year as an ordained minister where I could simply enjoy going for myself and my own spiritual investment. More recently, I’d envisaged that my son, Harri, would grow up going to Soul Survivor himself. Sadly, this is no longer going to happen.
I don’t doubt that, as Mike says, other events will spring up in Soul Survivor’s place, but for those of us who have grown up on it, we’re in for a period of bereavement and adjustment.
And that brings me on to the final thing that Soul Survivor has taught me from a ministerial point of view; there are beginnings and endings to all ministries. With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve seen many starts and finishes in my own ministry and, looking back, there have been bereavements in those finishes.
That might just be the way it is, but it doesn’t necessarily make me OK with it. It is God’s mission and not ours, but that doesn’t make it pain free or an easy pill to swallow when something so good comes to an end when humanly speaking there are no “valid” reasons.
My prayers for Soul Survivor as they work out the next steps and for myself and the hundreds of thousands of teenagers and adults who are grieving right now, that God will come and look after us and show us another way.