So, a question we get asked often is, “So, what exactly is Soul Action?”  A brief history might help…
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Soul Survivor

For those who are not familiar with Soul Survivor, it is a Christian charity that for the last 25 years has been putting on events for young people, youth leaders and the whole Church, to help them deepen their relationship with Jesus and grow in the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit.  Their first event in 1993 was attended by 1,896 young people, and the rest, as they say, is history.
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Soul Survivor’s latest series of summer festivals in 2018 were attended by 25,000 people across all of their events.

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Soul Action’s relationship with Soul Survivor goes back to 2000, where we had the privilege of participating in an initiative that saw 12,000 young people take to the streets of Manchester to serve the local communities through Soul Survivor The Message.  We’d go on to attend Survivor’s conferences on an annual basis, including the first ever Soul Survivor conference in Scotland in 2005, which back then was called Imaginethe event we were introduced to the idea of working for Soul Survivor.  We just never ‘imagined’ at the time it would Soul Survivor – South Africa!
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Soul Survivor and Tearfund

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By 2006 Soul Action – UK had already formed out of relationship between Soul Survivor and Tearfund – the latter adding ‘Action’ to the formers ‘Soul’ to produce a collaborative Spirit-led action, or as Soul Survivor puts it:
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Soul Action is the bit of Soul Survivor that exists to help us all do something about issues of injustice and poverty.

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Soul in the City

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2006 was also the year that Rachel and Phil Bowyer – Soul Action’s eventual founders – first visited South Africa.  Along with their 6-year-old son Zac, they co-lead a team of volunteers on a short-term mission to Durban as part of the build up to Soul in the City 2009, a city-wide mission that would serve churches and projects that were working with the vulnerable and marginalized.
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Phil, Rachel and Zac – the Bowyers

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Soul Action South Africa

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By 2007 the Bowyers were living in Durban, where God led them to do nothing before they visited the people who were already doing ‘something about issues of injustice and poverty.’  In response to the sense of isolation and silos they found, they would eventually form a network of 100s of Christian leaders of business, charity, churches and education.
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Soul Action’s Phil and Rachel Bowyer visit teams serving church and projects as part of Soul in the City 2009 with Soul Survivor’s Mike Pilavachi.

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By the time Soul in the City came around in 2009, Soul Action South Africa – and the network of local churches and projects that were now connected through and to it – were well placed to host Soul Survivor’s 350 volunteers and – more importantly – in a position to build on the momentum of the once off event with an ongoing relational network that would continue for over 10 years.
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Leaders gather in 2016. At it’s peak Soul Action South Africa’s city-wide network in Durban connected with 850 leaders and 250 organisations in various ways.

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Everyday lives

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Since this brief history of Soul Action in response to the question “what is it?” has featured Soul Survivor so heavily it seems fitting conclude by drawing inspiration from phrase synonymous with our friends, and that is the need to be Naturally or Everyday Supernatural:
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Soul Action South Africa exists, ‘…to help encourage the whole Church to move in the power of the Spirit in their everyday lives.’

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In a country like South Africa, that whilst professing to be a country 80% full of Christians, remains the world’s most consistently unequal, there is a need for a justice focused move of the Spirit, that starts with ordinary but radical! Christians like us consenting to the movement of the Spirit in our innermost beings and flows to our outermost everyday actions – hence the name Soul~Action!