What is the Big Top?

In this installment of our Get Hyped series we are looking more closely at what the Big Top is and sharing some testimonies of past experiences from members of tbcYouth at Soul Survivor. If you missed our last post about Soul Survivor then you can find it here. I have asked a number of people that have been to Soul Survivor before to give some of their stories, if you have been to Soul Survivor and want to share your tales through this series then please do contact me.

So the Big Top is the main meeting tent in the middle of the Soul Survivor site in which we meet twice daily for time together to worship Jesus. Some would say that from a distance it looks more like the udders of a cow than anything else, but underneath the canvas is where we unite with thousands of other people to get teaching from world class speakers and worship lead by a range of contemporary artists.

“it looks more like the udders of a cow”


For me the celebratory atmosphere of the tent is really is powerful, and as one young person said, ‘dancing with everyone together when we worship’ is one of the best things. By being together and making a ‘joyful noise to the Lord’ you really begin to understand the joy and party that the message and presence of Jesus evokes in people. There are people that give their lives to Jesus every day at Soul Survivor, and on the last night there is a full on party where we celebrate their commitments. One way we express the party atmosphere is doing all kinds of crazy things. Last year, when it was all the rage, we did a version of the Harlem Shake, which we called the Shepton Shake, which was a great laugh.

Another highlight is the way that the Holy Spirit moves dramatically and powerfully when we worship and pray. The charismatic manifestations of the Spirit through prayer and worship is one of the best things, and one young person that went last summer remembered one night where ‘Mike couldn’t get up and preach the whole evening because the Holy Spirit filled the place and everyone was laughing.’ I personally remember this as one of the most amazing moves of The Spirit in my life because I was so moved by how I could see Jesus meeting with people in such powerful ways and releasing things in them.


The teaching has really spoken to me time after time on Soul Survivor through so many different speakers. One time I remember clearly was from last year when Robbie Dawkins, a pastor from Chicago, spoke about how the Holy Spirit had moved and begun to change the gangs in that city. He spoke of how if we are to live with Christ, then we must be ready to die, and used the example of a man he had worked with in prison.

“raw, chaotic and messy”

Some people reflect on the length of time we spend in The Big Top and how this can drag on and be boring. But on the other hand there is a real excitement and mess that rips through the tent as God starts to move. One person reflected that they ‘wouldn’t want it to be neat and tidy but they were happy in the, at times; raw, chaotic and messy’ atmosphere of the tent.


Later in the series we’ll come on to write a lot more about the times of worship and prayer we will spend together on Soul Survivor, as it is one of the best things about Soul Survivor, but as it is a huge part of our time in The Big Top, I thought I would add it in here also.

The worship times have a great variation of slow music and more upbeat jumpy songs from artists like Rend Collective who are leading worship at some point in the week this year. If you want to hear a little of what the worship is like the listen to the Soul Survivor & Momentum albums including their newest live album The Flood.

There is some great ministry time in The Big Top and there are so many opportunities to get prayer from trained ministry teams and also to chat through things with leaders. One of the best things about our time at Soul Survivor is that people don’t mind if, like in my case, you have snot and tears running down you face after time with God or if you are screaming or laughing. When God moves and brings restoration, sometimes deep pain is released which can result in screams and shouts. This can be a bit unnerving but healing is taking place and Mike or Andy are great at reassuring us that it’s God moving.

There is so much more that could be said about The Big top than I have been able to say here. If you want to find out more then check out the Soul Survivor website for info on confirmed topics, speakers and bands. If you want to book with us download the booking form here and get it in to us at tbcYouth before the prices rise again!

Already looking forward to seeing you in the summer!


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