A Wave of Goths
EI recently took a team of Americans and Germans to the Wave Gothic Festival in Leipzig, Germany, for the fourth consecutive year. As we partnered with Clear Path Church in Dallas, Texas and ToTheStreets, a Berlin-based ministry, our plan was simply to reach this dark and needy subculture with the love of Jesus Christ.
Easier said than done.
Upon arriving in Leipzig one’s first thought could easily be, “What planet have I just been transported to?!?” Walking into a sea of black clad people poses questions like, “What does it really mean to be Goth?” Surprisingly this is one of the hardest questions not only for non-Goths, but also for Goths themselves to answer. After speaking to many Goths the past several years, I have noticed one consistent current: some form of rejection by society earlier in life has caused them to gravitate to the gothic subculture.
Upon further conversation with Goths I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For I came to seek and save that which is lost.” Many myths about Goths, such as being Satan worshipers, are simply not true. They, like the majority of modern day Europeans, are lost and in need of a loving Savior. I truly believe that if Jesus were physically walking the earth today He would run to this festival as fast as He possibly could!
One conversation I had during the spring 2012 festival was with a couple that EI’s Ramona Marsh ministered to at last year’s event. With a crowd of over 25,000 Goths, I was shocked when I first saw Stefan and Helen! It spoke to me that God loves His lost children so very much, He ordered my steps to cross paths with them in the immense crowd.
As I approached Helen and introduced myself, I told her that my friend had met them at last year’s festival. Stefan, standing at Helen’s side, asked what my friend’s name was. I told them “Ramona” and before I could even finish my sentence Helen cut me off and said, “Oh yeah, the girl who was talking to us about Jesus!!!” They went on to tell me specifically what Ramona had told them about God, and then Helen explained to me what she believed, point by point for the next 30 minutes!
I listened intently to her explain that she really was a pretty good person and that we all should have the free choice to believe in whatever worldview we wanted, as long as it makes us happy. This is sadly the Europe of today: believe whatever works for you.
I could physically feel the weight of God’s compassion as she finished her thoughts and asked, “Matt, what do you think?” I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to show Helen a picture of my daughter, explaining how much I loved my little girl. I told Stefan and Helen that I would do anything for my child, even to the point of dying for her. I then asked Helen directly if it would be a good thing for a person to purposely hurt a child. Helen was speechless. I went on to explain that the idea of tolerance and moral relativism is an okay thought on the surface, but once you dig a little deeper we find that “believing in whatever makes us happy” can be a very slippery slope. I then asked her, “What if a serial killer really believes it is ok to take another life because it makes them happy? Is that right?” Helen looked at me with a perplexed stare for a couple of seconds and said, “I guess I haven’t thought about it that way.”
I wish I could tell you that Helen and Stefan immediately opened their hearts to Jesus on the spot, but sadly that is not the case. They told me that they were very grateful for our conversation, but would need a little more time to think about what I had said to them about God.
As EI engages in the battle for spiritually lost Europeans, we are reminded that eternity is at stake. God desires a personal relationship with Helen and Stefan! There is no plan B – there is just plan A: believing in the Son of God. As we sow seeds we understand that the Holy Spirit is the one who brings conviction and draws hearts. Dressing in black clothing and wearing spikes isn’t the issue; our desperate need for a Savior is.
Please join with us in prayer that the many seeds planted by the EI team at the 2012 Wave Gothic Festival will bear much fruit. May there be a new wave of the Spirit, bringing thousands of Goths to come to know the One who came to save them and love them unconditionally.