The “Goth” international youth culture, with its “dark aesthetics” and fascination with death and vampires, is becoming both a mission field and an emerging counterculture drawing disaffected Christians.
Charisma magazine (August) features a cover story that seeks to dispel stereotypes about the Goth subculture (that they worship Satan or that most are violent and practice vampirism) and call evangelicals and charismatics to reach out to young people involved in the phenomenon. Writer Jimmy Stewart cites one minister working with Goths who finds that a large percentage come out of “highly ritualized” churches such as Catholic and Episcopal, and are predisposed to ritualistic pagan groups such as Wicca.
Although the Goths have been around since the 1980s, it seems that churches are only beginning to target their ministries to this subculture. Such churches and ministries as The Refuge (St. Petersburg, Fla), Church on the Edge (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and the evangelistic band No Longer Music use the music and imagery of Goth culture, usually focusing on the cross and death, in their outreach.
More noteworthy may be the emergence of the Christian Goth counterculture, which has spawned its own music (and record label), Internet presence and churches, such as the First Church of the Undead in Orange County, Calif. Stewart finds that several of the Christian Goths he interviewed for the article actually became Goth after they were Christian.
One went Gothic after he attended the popular Cornerstone Christian rock festival where he had met Christian Goths. Another girl says that Christian Goths were more accepting than other Christians.
(Charisma, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746).