At the 11:30 a.m. service on Sunday, rather than reading hymnals, the congregation of Liquid Church was singing along to a bluesy song about heartbreak, scorn and regret.
This is the new norm for the nondenominational Christian church, which meets Sundays at Hyatt Morristown. The "Pop God" series combines popular music with themes in the bible in search of similar messages.
On Sunday, the featured song, performed live by the church band, was "Rolling in the Deep," by Adele. Following the performance of the song, a sermon by Lead Pastor Tim Lucas was televised at all three Liquid Church campuses–which also include Nutley and New Brunswick–comparing the Old Testament's Book of Hosea to the song.
Accompanied by grandiose audio and visual presentations, Liquid Chuch bills itself as a "contemporary" approach to church services, filled with music, in a relaxed setting, and led by an approchable staff and clergy.
The group also has a youth program, titled "Liquid Kids," which is held at the same time as services, and a youth group called "Infuse."
Parishioner Bill Gibson said one of the church's ideals is to approach popular culture and apply it to their worship, rather than rejecting it. Thus, the Pop God series.
According to Lucas, the Book of Hosea tells the story of a man ordered by God to take an unfaithful prostitute as his wife, as a literal representation of the relationship God had with his followers at the time.
In the scripture, God is angry at his followers for drifting away from their faith, but he can't stop loving them, Lucas said.
Adele's song of heartbreak fits right into that theme, he said.
"She would be right on Hosea's playlist," he said.
Going forward, the church plans on using the songs "Forget You" by Cee-Lo Green, "Walk Again" by the Foo Fighters and "Grenade" by Bruno Mars.
For more information on the church, visit www.liquidchurch.com.