Liquid Church, one of New Jersey's fastest growing megachurches, will be singing Grammy-nominated pop music during the months of February and March at its Sunday morning church services.
The church will use chart-topping songs from today's music stars to help congregants see that the same pains from love today were recorded in the Bible thousands of years ago.
"Cee-Lo, Adele, Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters' story lines express the same burdens many people walking into the church are facing," said Tim Lucas, pastor of Liquid Church, said in a statement. "We could learn a lot from the love story God's telling that is quite relevant."
The four-week series called "Pop God" will walk congregants through several modern-day pop songs and connect them to the Old Testament book of Hosea.
Lucas came up with the idea for the "Pop God" series after searching for a new way to tackle issues in scripture that he didn't think always get talked about.
Rich Birch, spokesperson for Liquid Church, told The Christian Post that as church leaders were talking about the new initiative, they found that the book of Hosea tells a story that would make a good parallel with these songs, specifically in regards to the theme of unfaithfulness in love.
"[We] realized that the concept of love betrayed is core to the human experience. The songs listed are actually telling that story. The message series is driving toward what our love relationship with God is like," Birch said.
For Pastor Lucas, "The best part about telling this love story is that people can know God has a heart which always offers grace and reconciliation. Our lives might be filled with betrayal and despair but with Him, it definitely ends with hope."
Some critics may argue that pop songs have no place in church. But Birch told CP that there is a "long Christian tradition of redeeming rather than rejecting art, and finding ways to find a connection to our current culture." He cited Jonathan Edwards taking bar room songs and putting religious lyrics to them as one example.
Liquid Church believes that people are looking for a type of spirituality that connects them to everyday life. Birch said that using pop songs doesn't mean they are "anti-worship music. The reality of it is we've created Christian subculture that is fairly disconnected to broader world." So the church wants to redeem the broader culture by connecting and engaging with it.
Birch said that at the end of the day, "as a church we think the Bible is uber-relevant to today, but we see the same themes from the [biblical] text in today's music."
Starting this Sunday, those attending Liquid Church campuses will be able to join the worship team in singing the pop songs. Birch said they did a test run about a month ago with a Lady Gaga song, "The Edge of Glory."
Liquid Church was founded in 2001 and now has over 2,000 people attending its worship services each weekend in New Jersey and around the world through Church Online. As a part of its global outreach, Liquid provides clean drinking water to the poor in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Haiti and El Salvador.