Andy Croft resigns from Soul Survivor

Andy Croft said his decision to resign had come “after much soul searching and prayer”.

Andy Croft has resigned as the senior pastor of Soul Survivor Watford. It follows an investigation by the Church of England into safeguarding concerns about Soul Survivor founder Mike Pilavachi.

The investigation by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team and the Diocese of St Alban’s concluded that Pilavachi had abused his power while in ministry.

During the investigation, Croft was suspended by Soul Survivor. A statement from Soul Survivor said that while Croft is able to return to ministry, he has decided to leave Soul Survivor. He has resigned with immediate effect and Rev Jon Stevens will continue as interim leader.

In a letter to the church addressing his decision to resign, Croft apologised for his own safeguarding failings after the investigation highlighted three instances when his practice fell short. He also said that he himself had been impacted by Pilavachi’s behaviour. 

“Most importantly, I want to apologise for any way in which my actions have contributed to the pain others have experienced,” he said.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the courage shown by those who have shared their stories of Mike Pilavachi’s abuse. Along with many others, I have been profoundly shocked and saddened by the damage caused by Mike’s abuse over decades.” 

He continued, “I need to acknowledge now that I myself have also been deeply impacted by aspects of Mike’s abusive behaviour.

“In recent months my own failures relating to professional safeguarding practice have become apparent to me. The investigation found that my safeguarding practice fell short on three occasions.

“I have had to confront the reality that errors in my judgement may have allowed others to experience pain. This has troubled me deeply. As someone in leadership, it feels like a profound failure on my part, for which I sincerely apologise.”

Croft said his decision to leave had come “after much soul searching and prayer”. 

“My family and I need to process much of what we have been through over these past years and we feel we can only do this by stepping away,” he said. 

Soul Survivor said that while it was “open” to Croft’s return, “it has become clear to all of us in this process that it would be healthier for Andy if he and the family were to start a new chapter elsewhere.”

“Andy has taken full responsibility for his errors and apologised unreservedly for any pain that has been caused,” it said.

“He has also completed additional safeguarding training to ensure his practice is of the highest standards in the future. Throughout this process Andy has shown humility, contrition, and a desire to learn from the mistakes of the past.”

It added, “We are deeply grateful to Andy and Beth for the years of love, support, and leadership they have faithfully given to this church family and the wider Watford community. While we feel a sense of loss in their leaving, we know God will continue to use them as a family in the future and pray his richest blessings on them in this new season.”

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