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.
In September, the internal Church of England investigation by the National Safeguarding Team and Diocese of St Albans concluded that concerns against Mike Pilavachi, about an abuse of power relating to his ministry, were substantiated. During the investigation period Andy Croft was suspended by Soul Survivor Watford under HR processes over the handling of allegations prior to the NST investigation.
Andy has taken full responsibility for his errors and apologised unreservedly for any pain that has been caused. 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.
In a letter to the church addressing his decision to resign, Croft apologized 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 behavior.
Croft writes, "I first joined Soul Survivor as an intern in 2004 when I was 18. After leaving university I later joined the staff in 2008 and became joint Senior Pastor in 2016. The stories of victims that have now emerged and the work of the National Safeguarding Team have changed my perspective on much of what I have experienced from a young age. 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."