Yesterday I had a brilliant day out taking the chance to swing by Soul Survivor A in Stafford for their final night.
I have always loved Soul Survivor.
I went there as a teenager several times, and I still see many hallmarks of that foundation in my Christian walk today.
Mike Pilavachi is an absolute legend and I had the privieldge of telling him that a while back.
The day was great. For several reasons.
If evangelical charismatic Christianity in the UK is a river then to my mind Soul Survivor is plumb centre of the river.
In the middle you get quite deep water. You see some slightly weird looking fish from the other side of the river that you don't normally see (which is probably why they look weird to you).
It was refreshing to sit in the middle of the river. To see the vitality and the variety of what God is doing amongst different groups, movements and organisations across the country.
The language is of what unites us, not of our distinctives. Our distinctives are what make us who we are, yet I wonder what the Church would look like if we were distinctive by what unites us?
This means they basically just talk about Jesus. Lots and lots of Jesus. Come and follow Jesus. Day by day, response after response. Hundreds and hundreds of teenagers.
The atmosphere was great. The worship was great. The talks really seemed to engage the youth.
That evening there was fancy dress as disney characters and literally hundreds had dressed up. Watching Mike Pilavachi conduct a whole meeting dressed as Buzz Lightyear is one of the most surreal, humorous, and engaging things I have ever seen.
No-one else on this earth that I know of could maintain a level of spiritual oversight and gently lead a public gathering of thousands while dressed as a cartoon character.
In many ways they have been instrumental in bringing us Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and others. They have also shown how you can do "youth" well. The whole event is a million times cooler than anything the Churches in our town can manage.
They just seem to "get" it, and in turn thousands of young people across 19 years have "got" Christ, and I stand in that number.