March 1, 2012
A New Jersey megachurch's latest effort to engage the culture by using pop songs in its worship services has drawn some criticism and reignited a debate about whether secular music should be used in churches, the Christian Post reports. Liquid Church's worship team led the congregation in songs like Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" as part of its "Pop God" sermon series in February, a move that some said endangered the sacredness of the church. Rich Birch, Liquid's spokesman, said the church was trying to "redeem the culture" through those songs, but Dr. John Hardin of the ministry 9Marks cautioned that "the sacred ceases to be that which is set apart when it is framed in that which is perhaps all too near." Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church & Cool Collide, said he believed such initiatives stemmed from the fact that many churches felt pressure because young people are departing in record numbers, but cautioned that when you attract people with "gimmicky things," there has to be something substantial in terms of discipleship to keep them engaged. "As Christians, we should focus on quality songs that are well-crafted and honest in their lyrics, and theologically rich," he said.