This week, Pastors Tim Lucas and Tom Kang from Liquid Church in NJ are taking a leap of faith into Oklahoma backwaters as unlikely stars of the Animal Planet reality TV show "Hillbilly Handfishin.'" The popular show about noodlin' -- the art of catching giant catfish with bare hands and feet -- invited the pastors to participate in the 2012 season premiere.
"This is a leap of faith into deep water," said Tim Lucas, Lead Pastor of the 2,000-member Liquid Church. "The Bible tells the story of Jonah, a preacher swallowed by a big fish. So we're going to see what that's like... literally."
The show, hosted by Skipper Bivins, regularly features the catch-and-release of 50-pound catfish in rural Oklahoma rivers. Poisonous snakes, biting beavers, sunburn and other hazards make the urban pastors a bit uncomfortable. Noodlin' involves locating and luring 50 to 70-lb catfish to bite one's hands or feet instead of bait and rod.
"Faith is about facing one's fears," said Lucas, "and getting bit by a cottonmouth is on my shortlist." The Jersey pastors were selected out of 10,000 applicants to be featured on the Animal Planet show and will appear in the Hillbilly Handfishin' season premiere episode, "Preachin' to the Catfish" on Sunday, July 29 at 8pm ET/PT.
"Jesus chose ordinary fishermen to spread his message of faith," noted Lucas. "We just hope to catch a big one so people see that anything is possible with God."
Sounds like those fishermen might need to stock up on sunscreen and anti-venom!
Liquid Church is one of NJ's fastest-growing Christian churches. Founded in 2001 by Lead Pastor Tim Lucas, the church's vision is to "take church to the people" with campuses in Morristown, New Brunswick, and Nutley. Nearly 2,500 people experience Liquid's worship services each weekend in New Jersey and around the globe through Church Online. As a part of its global outreach Liquid provides clean drinking water to the poorest of the poor with dozens of completed projects in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Haiti and El Salvador. More details are available at: www.LiquidChurch.com.