Catholic parish and Protestant congregation differences


#1

I would like to hear from people who have been actively involved in both a Catholic Parish and a Protestant congregation about what their experiences were.


#2

[quote=santaro75]I would like to hear from people who have been actively involved in both a Catholic Parish and a Protestant congregation about what their experiences were.
[/quote]

Wow. So much that could be talked about. Any particular aspect that you are most interested in?

Bible study?
Fellowship?
Volunteers?
length of service/Mass?
Music?
Differences in service/Mass itself?
Communion?
Baptism?
Guest speakers?

Realizing of Course that each person needs to name which particular denomination they would be talking about.
God Bless,
Maria


#3

anything will work.

for me, i notice the protestant congregations are much more friendly and usually have AWESOME programming. I love going to church on a wednesday night and having my choice of 3-4 well done bible studies.


#4

That is true, altho why is something I have never figured out. They also offer child care, and that is something I really needed at one point in my life in the church. Some of us finally started a nursery program for one Mass, but convincing the DRE it was a good idea was very difficult.


#5

No comparison, at least in my parish. We’ve got bible studies, prayer groups for all ages, volunteers to service the deaf, seniors, the needy, the medically uninsured. We’ve got CCD programs going on 5 days a week, babysitting for the morning Masses, a on-site Catholic MFT, music groups…currently we’ve just completed a Lenten scripture study in which over 500 parishioners signed up…lots, lots more than I can even list! So much so that we’re currently raising funds to build a whole new school, parish center and higher-capacity church!

The people at my parish were a lot more accepting and friendly than the people who I spoke with when attending the non-denominational church I was going to. They seemed over there to be more judgemental…I got a really mean look from one woman when I told her that I was born and raised Catholic.

We’ve got people at my parish who are definately on-fire with their faith - and it does get pretty infectious!


#6

Protestants sing in church like they love singing!!! :thumbsup:
Wish Catholics would. :confused:


#7

I would have to say one of the major differences, aside from the music/delivery of sermon or homily, etc. is the friendliness of our parish. I went to a large Methodist church and although I loved it, I never once got invited to sit with someone! People would say hi but that’s it! Now that i’m converting and going to Mass, I can’t get over how wonderful everyone is. Last week I went to Mass without my husband as he was ill and I was invited to sit with about five people plus the Sister that’s in charge of religious education. People at our parish are simply wonderful! Protestant congregations just seem more closed up…less warm. I never thought I would say that but from my experience, it’s true!


#8

I went to a small fundamentalist, bible believing, Baptist Church. Due to its evangelistic nature, we were very, very warm, to new comers. This was because we felt that it was our responsibility to witness both with our actions and with our words to the newcomer. In some evangelistic churches you are getting an overly friendly sales pitch. My church began to feel smothering and controlling. The pastor and a group of ladies cornered me and admonished me about my lack of spirituality because I didn’t want to come to church on Wednesday evening. When I finally stopped attending services I got hounded by people calling me and coming by my house to inquire about my faith.

My neighbor is Independent Baptist also and she has been taught to practice something called 'friendship witnessing." First you befriend the person and then you invite them to church. I think that it is possible for this to be an effective manner of witnessing to another but if the friendship and good feelings are based solely on getting that individual to go to church and get saved then it begins to seem underhanded. What happens if the person doesn’t want to be a Christian? Do you drop them as a friend?

I like the solemn nature of the Catholic service. I am thankful that the before church service is quiet. Before you take Eucharist(which I get to do this Sunday!) you need time to reflect and pray.


#9

[quote=slyboots]Protestants sing in church like they love singing!!! :thumbsup:
Wish Catholics would. :confused:
[/quote]

This was one thing that I missed out in my Independent Baptist Church. If I was going to be Protestant I could have at least gotten the good singing! :rolleyes:

No, our pastor had something against music that didn’t drag. Even when we were singing songs that were supposed to be upbeat, they were sung in a slow sort of manner. I am unsure why. The pastor once told me that he believed that the beat of music itself could hurt the listener. Perhaps this is why we had such dirge like tunes.

There could only be a piano, no guitars-he was suspicious of them.

If a person sang well then they would probably not be asked to sing more then once. The worse you sang the more likely the pastor was to try to insist that you sing. I had to get angry to make him and the music director stop asking me to sing and I have a voice like a sick cow.(Sadly, I am not joking:crying: ) I used to sit through the church’s singing and grit my teeth it was so awful.

I wish that I had possessed the courage to ask the pastor why he insisted that the people who couldn’t sing be the ones to sing solos. They didn’t ask to sing, I had often overheard him pressure people to sing.


#10

[quote=katy]That is true, altho why is something I have never figured out. They also offer child care, and that is something I really needed at one point in my life in the church. Some of us finally started a nursery program for one Mass, but convincing the DRE it was a good idea was very difficult.
[/quote]

This I think is one of the biggest differences between Catholic and Protestants. Childcare during Mass.

I personally like that most Catholic churches do not have a nursery program. I believe removing babies from Mass is a bad idea. Keep not the little children from me. Since we believe that Jesus is Really present during Mass…, doesn’t make since to me to deny them the opportunity to stand in His presence.

Remember, John the Baptist lept in the womb. Babies may not understand, but they can know.

God Bless,
Maria


#11

I find the biggest difference is time actually spent in prayer.

In the Evangelical services I went to, more time was devoted to Bible study than prayer time, even at the Sunday service. Yet music was very important. Called Worship music.

In the Catholic Church, more time is spent in actual prayer.

God Bless,
Maria


#12

[quote=deb1]My neighbor is Independent Baptist also and she has been taught to practice something called 'friendship witnessing." First you befriend the person and then you invite them to church. I think that it is possible for this to be an effective manner of witnessing to another but if the friendship and good feelings are based solely on getting that individual to go to church and get saved then it begins to seem underhanded. What happens if the person doesn’t want to be a Christian? Do you drop them as a friend?
[/quote]

This is one of the things that turned me off when I was Mormon. We were taught to “prayerfully select” a neighbor or co-worker, then “friendship” him (be really friendly and invite him to your Family Home Evening and invite him to Church).

It was the first time I ever heard “friendship” portrayed as something you do to someone.

If after a few weeks the person selected was not interested in participating in Mormon activities, we were to drop him and “prayerfully select” someone else. They even have a manual about how to “friendship” effectively. I saw it as manipulative and duplicitous.

I have been “friendshipped” by Evangelicals at work. It was strange that all 5 of the vocally Evangelical guys started sucking up to me at exactly the same time. I knew that I had been “prayerfully chosen”. Finally it got so intense that I told the ring-leader “Look, I used to be Mormon. I know when I’m being love-bombed. I’m a devout Catholic and not interested in changing religions.” The “friendship” stopped immediately.

Paul


#13

[quote=MariaG]I find the biggest difference is time actually spent in prayer.

In the Evangelical services I went to, more time was devoted to Bible study than prayer time, even at the Sunday service. Yet music was very important. Called Worship music.

In the Catholic Church, more time is spent in actual prayer.

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

I took my neighbor’s sons to Mass with the Stations of the Cross. The youngest is only seven and when I asked him how he liked the services, he was ecstatic.

“You all pray, a lot and I like that!” He said. Until that moment, I had never thought about it but we do pray more then in my Independent Baptist Church.


#14

I have never been a member of a Protestant congregation, but I have professional relationships with my counterparts in most of our local churches. Baptist, Methodist and Assembly are the largest, but many others as well. Most of my counterparts are ordained in their own faith and hired as youth or children’s ministers. Most of the larger congregations here, bear in mind one of the poorest counties in the nation, call and hire in full time paid positions at least one children’s pastor and youth pastor. This is in addition to the head pastor, sometimes other paid ministers or pastors for other constituents.

These congregations also tithe, anywhere from twice to ten times as much as Catholics do. As far as programming you get what you pay for. In most of these congregations what you get is preaching and programming. Little or no emphasis on sacraments, even the two they recognize.

one of my volunteers went to a VBS workshop yesterday and the others present were astounded she represented a Catholic parish, because they all assumed Catholics don’t do bible, even with kids. they then proceeded to play a game as part of the VBS package they were pushing, a game in which the conclusion pointed kids to declare: unless you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and ask him to forgive your sins you are going to hell.


#15

I am coming into God’s one true church Saturday night and I am so excited. I could go on and on. I will tell you the biggest difference between the Southern Baptists are they don’t even come close to showing respect to God.

From the dip in the holy water
to the genuflect
to the kneel before the Holy Sacrament
to the constant up and down and stand and kneel
it is all about one thing
the high esteem and respect and love of Our
Lord and Creator and Saviour
The Catholic Liturgy is the only WAY
How can we compare any old way
to The Way


#16

[quote=MariaG]This I think is one of the biggest differences between Catholic and Protestants. Childcare during Mass.

I personally like that most Catholic churches do not have a nursery program. I believe removing babies from Mass is a bad idea. Keep not the little children from me. Since we believe that Jesus is Really present during Mass…, doesn’t make since to me to deny them the opportunity to stand in His presence.

Remember, John the Baptist lept in the womb. Babies may not understand, but they can know.

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

I appreciate your sentiments, and they are most gracious. However, when I had small children, one of them most always had to be taken out, or dealt with somehow during Mass, with the result that I almost never got to focus on the Lord. I needed to do that; it was what kept me mostly sane. Husband wan’t much help, and his solution would have been just to stay home.


#17

The biggest differences in the actual “service” experience that I see are as follows:

At Mass the entire service seems more reverant due to the real presence of Christ. This is evident in the kneeling. I never had to kneel as a Protestant.

The other things that I notice. In most Protestant churches that I attended, communion was an after thought at best. Sometimes you did it, sometimes you did not. But, it was never explained and the teaching of John 6 was never evident.

Being Protestant was all about getting people to convert. There was a lot of pressure to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. In the Mass, this pressure does not exist that much. The Church lets the teaching of Christ move you to do what we are all called to do…accept Jesus.

Finally…there was no tradition in the Protestant churches that I attended. If there was, we never understood it. It was all about the “selected” verses that the minister wanted to talk about. There was no effort made to look at the Bible as a whole or to understand it as a complete work. Sure, there was Bible study, but it was led by lay people…not ministers and certainly not those who were schollars except unto themselves. Thus, you got their interpretation of scripture, and that interpretation was backed up only by their somewhat limited understanding of that scripture. It was not until I became Catholic that I had any real understanding of the scriptures.


#18

The major differences I notice are in the areas of adult faith formation:

  1. definitely more emphasis on adult teaching (both in the sermon and Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study and other Bible studies offered)

  2. most of the people in the Protestant congregations I belonged to seemed to be more convinced in their faith and more knowledgeable about their faith

  3. In Protestant congregations it seemed the fellowship was more cohesive (I think because of adult education classes and they didn’t have a variety of different services to attend which make it harder to meet everyone in the congregation on a regular basis)

  4. Seemed to be less concern for the poor and social justice issues in the Protestant churches I attended, but there was a greater emphasis on evangelization and missionary work.

  5. Better singing *by far *(with the exception of a Bahamian Catholic parish I attended that was awesome in that regard)

  6. Better preaching with more theological content than what I’ve generally heard in Catholic parishes (with a couple of exceptions)

In Catholic parishes:

  1. *generally *more a worshipful atmosphere before Mass, quiet and prayerful (in Protestant churches more chatty and noisy)

  2. the awareness of the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the Tabernacle – awesome :slight_smile:

  3. less judgmentalism towards others --more charitable, overall, towards sinners

  4. people seem to be more honest about their failings and sins than I found in Protestant congregations

  5. the liturgical calendar gives a rhythm and focus to spiritual life (I had always attended non-liturgical Protestant churches)

  6. more awareness of the *Body *of Christ, less emphasis on the individual

  7. more tentative about evangelization, which is inexplicable considering we as Catholics have more to be evangelical about!


#19

[quote=santaro75]I would like to hear from people who have been actively involved in both a Catholic Parish and a Protestant congregation about what their experiences were.
[/quote]

I’ve been on the inside loop in both types. On that level they seem similar except that the pastor was less in charge in the Protestant scene. My experience was that you are more likely to see small children in mass than in a worship service. Fellowship after the worship service was much better attended than coffee and donuts after mass.

Protestants seem better prepared to take a guest or new member and actively find a place for him/her. It is so easy in a Catholic church to start coming and never get noticed or involved. In a way, I like that. I can feel at home no matter what mass I attend!:wink:

There was this whole different feel between socializing and worship. Catholics seemed more there to worship. However, both groups have structures for service to needy members and structures to educate members.


#20

[quote=katy]I appreciate your sentiments, and they are most gracious. However, when I had small children, one of them most always had to be taken out, or dealt with somehow during Mass, with the result that I almost never got to focus on the Lord. I needed to do that; it was what kept me mostly sane. Husband wan’t much help, and his solution would have been just to stay home.
[/quote]

Please, don’t misunderstand. I completely *understand *those who like and want to have a nursery. It is very difficult to concentrate on Mass while dealing with small children.

However, as someone who went to Protestant churches with a nursery, and then the Catholic Church without, I prefer to have children with me during Mass for several reasons, most of which have to do with what I feel God has called me to do and how He wishes me to do so.

I personally found that the presence of a nursery, not just a cry room, but a nursery, puts pressure on the parents to take their child there even if they would prefer to have them with them.

It becomes expected to take young children there so they do not cause any “disturbances” in a service. Anyone wishing to do otherwise becomes subtlely pressured to either leave their child in a nursery or find a different church.

I try to follow Christ much in the way of the teachings of St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life. He taught that we worship God the best through whatever vocation a person has.

For example: Me a stay at home mother worships Christ best not by neglecting my children to attend daily Mass or stopping to pray multiple times a day while ignoring them, but I worship Him by being the best mother I can be. (I am *not *saying dropping kids off in a nursery is neglecting them.) In that way, a person can “pray without ceasing”. They worship God by being the best truck driver, mother, accountant they can be. Whatever a person’s vocation, they worship God through it.

I also found that what happened with me, is I became selfish about “my worship time”. Going to service became less about what I could give God, and more about what I could get out of it.

So for me, my worship and what I can give God are about raising Godly Children who love the Lord. I can’t do that with them in a nursery.

Note, these are my personal experiences. I do not necessarily believe others should or will feel the same way. We all are called to worship God in different ways. Part of the way I feel I am called to do so is keeping my young children with me.

God Bless,
Maria


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