Heavy metal is still regarded by some people as “the music of the devil,”. Yet a church in Sao Paolo, Brazil uses it to spread the gospel. Heavy metal enthusiasts that want to praise God through music can attend Crash Church, an evangelical church.
Crash Church is housed in a sizable garage. It resembles an underground rock concert venue more than a house of worship for Christians. With their dark clothing, tattoos, and body piercings, the “parishioners” have an equally odd appearance. Pastor Antônio Carlos Batista doesn’t dress in any religious attire; instead, he wears sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts. About a dozen piercings and earrings adorn his ears; and his arms are covered in vibrant tattoos that draw inspiration from the Christian faith.
The assembly follows along on their iPhones, on TV screens that display the sections being read. He also uses traditional bibles as he reads the Gospel from behind a gothic looking pulpit. Batista delivers heavy metal songs in between sermons and explains religious scriptures using common terminologies.
Batista is also the main singer of the Christian death metal band Antidemon.
Crash Church believes that part of God’s purpose to cross boundaries and try to reach different parts of society.
Out of what he calls a “divine yearning,” he co-founded the church in 1998. It’s interesting to note that he didn’t like hard metal back then.
He insists that he received the inspiration for Crash Church from a revelation from God requesting his assistance in converting the rockers.
However, becoming a part of a heavy metal church is not the simplest thing in the world. Batista, 49, asserts that his congregants are vulnerable to prejudice from both sides. While some heavy metal bands view them as being too well-behaved, other evangelicals see them as devotees of the devil.
This kind of prejudice can have devastating outcomes. Pastor Antônio Carlos Batista, the man who combined Christianity and heavy metal, was the target of an assassination attempt in 1996 by artist Ana Batista, a member of the “Terorista Punk” movement at the time. She admitted to Templo Metal that she detested religion and wanted to stop his work. But as she prepared her attack, she heard the pastor’s sermon, and an odd thing happened. She quickly joined the parish and was christened at Crush Church four months later. Today, she considers herself a servant of God.
The 200 square meter space’s monthly rent and all other expenses are paid by donations from Crush Church’s parishioners.
Antidemon’s concerts are also supported by churchgoers, and the band has performed in over 30 different nations while sharing the gospel via music.