I’m sitting under the canopy at the Creperie with Michael Cook and the rain is teeming down around us. It’s the last day of Soul Survivor and it has been raining for hours.
Michael is Centre Director at Lendrick Muir and sees people coming and going using the facilities all year round, but 1300 people all on site at the same time is out of the ordinary even for him and puts a huge amount of pressure on the team. SU staff and volunteers join forces with the Soul Survivor team and from the outside it all looks seamless.
I have shown up with my 14 year old for the final evening and he has quickly hooked up with a group of friends from our church. The group have been camping for the five nights of festival and have tales to tell about the night when tents blew down, but clearly they are having a wonderful time together. They are cheerful and chatty as they head into the final evening worship session.
The big top is a sea of young people. The worship is loud and exciting. Mike Pilavachi is in great form, cracking a few jokes and teasing his team. Young people are invited to come up to the front if they want to commit their lives to Jesus and Andy Croft prays for those who come forward. Around the tent young people pray for each other, particularly those who are dreading the return home after the festival.
Back in the creperie, Michael’s talking about his highlights from the week. “With the high winds on Sunday it was unsafe to use the Big Top so we took the morning worship and teaching event outdoors and that made for a very special event that I’m never going to forget.
“Personally, I would love it if people were to experience Soul Survivor in the sunshine, but it is interesting how the bad weather throws people together. There are loads of stories of people helping each other out – sharing cooking facilities and tents, helping their neighbours at the campsite. Making new friends. These are the good things that God brings out of the bad weather.”
What about other highlights? “I could get used to the Creperie being here! My favourite is the chocolate orange crepe and it’s great to get a few minutes in amongst the long hours, to sit and reflect. More seriously I think it is fabulous for young people to come to something like this and feel, just for a few days perhaps that it is ‘cool’ to be a Christian. Many will go to small local churches and feel like being a Christian is a minority interest. Here, it isn’t like that. It gives Christian young people a great boost and a really amazing place to worship and spend time together.”
“The final word goes to the team. I’ve been surrounded this year by a team of incredibly committed people who are dedicated to making this event happen and going the extra mile doing all sorts of practical things to support Soul Survivor. It really wouldn’t happen without them, so a big personal thank you from me.”
Hilary (SU volunteer and writer)