- Bernie Cowan
C&L! Artist Interview - Scruffhouse
Bernie: How did Scruffhouse go from being just a video company to what it is now, in terms of some of the key events in the timeline?
Peter: Caleb started sharing with me about how he wanted to make movies that would really change people’s hearts or give them a new perspective on things. I had a similar heart, so we got together and thought it could be a cool partnership. We established a company - Scruffhouse - in response to what we were both feeling. I had already signed up to be on tour with No Longer Music and at that point I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I went away on the first tour, my whole world was rocked upside down. I came back home and said to Caleb, “Dude, we have to go do this together!”. And to be honest, I couldn’t blame him for being a little reluctant. Flying over to the other side of the world with some random people he had never met, especially when we had this vision at the time to focus on launching a business. But we had at the very beginning said to the Lord, “This business is for you. We want to honor you, we want you at the center. And whatever you want us to do, we’re willing to do it.” We were quite open still, so we stepped through this door. Three years, and several tours later, here we are - full-time missionaries.
B: What has God been teaching and speaking to you in the last couple months?
P: The last couple months of my life have been kind of a new chapter in the most crazy three years of my life. Moving, leaving friends and family, leaving everything familiar and starting again in a new culture, new everything, I guess, in Switzerland, land of the Alps and cheese. Jesus has been challenging me in where I find my identity. I thought, “Yeah, I’m a Jesus follower” and all those kinds of things. But once I reached a point where I had next to no support coming in, I basically had a mattress, I didn’t have my own room and I was working full-time for Steiger, it was kind of a point where I had nothing materially, and I had to come to this point of like, “Ok, my identity is in Jesus. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in this life, what’s happening in this world. I need to find my identity in Him. Have peace no matter what situation I’m in.” So this has been a huge growing time for me. But through that I’ve had a real closeness with the Lord which has been amazing. When you’re in these situations, He really shows up when you cry out to Him. I don’t always look to Him, to be honest, but when I do it’s so amazing how He comforts me and how He brings people around me who have the same heart.
B: Scruffhouse produces videos and other media content for Steiger and Come&Live! You guys have an amazing storytelling ability and I know you’ve been on numerous tours. What’s an example of how God has used your art to impact someone’s life, whether through the videos you’ve released or just while interviewing people?
P: Our heart is to serve any ministry which is producing fruit, and at the moment, we are giving everything to Steiger because we see that they’re doing some amazing things around the world. About 90% of our work is with Steiger right now. You know, we’ve heard some great stories from the live DVD, which we did with No Longer Music - of people giving their lives to Jesus through that. One of the great stories I heard was when some of our highlight video of No Longer Music touring through Europe was shown to a board at a big corporate business level. They watched this, were super touched, and in response decided to give a significant financial gift towards the next Russia tour. We are seeing our videos have an effect, not only on people’s hearts, but also how they can be used for organizations to donate towards causes like this, which are the greatest causes - where the Gospel is going out. So that’s always super-encouraging when we see our work being fruitful in that way.
B: What is your vision, what are your goals, what do you want to see happen with Scruffhouse over the next 12 months?
P: Our heart is to encourage the global church and to present the Gospel in a relevant way to everyone using film, which is the language most widely spoken by today’s culture. Jesus spoke with parables back then and people speak with YouTube these days. So that’s kind of our heart: to make good media which presents Jesus in a fresh way. Our vision is to become a fully sustained ministry so we can serve Steiger and Come&Live! (or others producing great fruit) without having to do run corporate jobs to fund ourselves. We want to be free to serve and provide everything an organization needs because we know that in this age, media is vital and especially so when an organization like Steiger needs to grow. We want to be there to offer our services any way we can. We realize this is such an important thing, so we want to be in a unique situation where we’re free to give 100% of our time to investing where we feel called. Also our heart is discipleship - spiritually, and through teaching people to create quality media. So we’d love to expand, to grow and to reproduce this sort of model. That’s our heart, as well - we want to take on younger creatives and train them - just walk with them. That is the heartbeat of Scruffhouse Media.
B: I think what you guys do after the shows (in capturing immediate reactions from people who have either just witnessed a crazy performance or have even given their lives to Jesus for the first time) is important and it’s a powerful side of what you do. Now wherever No Longer Music goes, they always make sure they have a videographer with them capturing on-the-fly stories. Can you share a significant story that you have heard from times like these?
P: To be honest, most of the time, I’m behind the camera. I love filming, especially after the shows because this is where the conversations happen, this is where people have heard the Gospel in a relevant way and they’re much more open to conversation because there’s a natural bridge. I spoke to one guy in Spain and he’d come from a Muslim background and he came to the show. He was around 40 years old and he was on holidays from England and he was just walking to the shops and he heard the music and came to show. He gave his heart to Jesus and I got to pray with him and he was crying in my arms because he was going through some tough things and Jesus met him. So I was praying with him and he was super touched. I don’t get many opportunities personally because I’m usually behind the camera, but when I do, I see some amazing things.
B: What’s something that God has been showing you or challenging you in recently, that you’d like to share with the C&L! community?
P: I was watching a sermon recently from a guy called Dan Uhler (Mohler) maybe I made that name up, he was actually talking about how knowing God should be our number one thing. And if we want to be able to walk through life with strength and be able to achieve things, we have to know our creator in a deep way. I think for me, being in such a crazy situation - moving countries and heading into marriage, trying to raise support for ministry, learning a new language - all these stresses, it really can shake you up. But the Lord has been encouraging me to spend time with Him and give my burdens to Him, to have this unwavering trust in His character and who He is. I think just seeking His presence every day no matter where you are - whether you’re walking in the street or on a bus, whether you’re in your room - always wanting him to be welcome in your life. We have such a beautiful gift - to be able to know our creator. It’s crazy when we really grasp… what does that really mean to know him in a deep way and in every circumstance of your life? I think this is something that we grow into more and more as we pursue our faith.
This has been kind of my theme at the moment and the Lord has given me such a hunger for His Word - which is so cool because I went through a period where I didn’t feel like reading or anything. But recently, with going through all these crazy times, I just have such a hunger for truth and for good spiritual food, so that has been my theme at the moment. Which is fun.
Find out more about Scruffhouse here
Want to become a Come&Live! Artist? You can apply here