Why do they worship differently?

Hi everyone. I am a bit confused on this. I attend a Baptist Church, however I am considering converting to Catholic soon.

I was wondering, why do different denominations worship differently?

Like, Baptist (well, in my church) we just stand there and sing. No dancing.

In Pentecostal, my friends are Pentecostal, they say that the church dances and everything.

Why is that? How do the Catholic’s worship?

Styles of worship vary due to cultural and different religious beliefs. In order to understand why each denomination worships in their way, it is best to simply go and ask them. They’ll be able to answer you much better than someone who isn’t a member of their church.

To answer how Catholics worship is also a really big question with lots of different styles that I’ll leave for someone else to cover.

It should be noted, however, that another word for the worshiping of God is “adoration” or “latria”.

The respect and honor we give to the saints is called “dulia”. This is much lower than latria, and definitely not to be thought as of worship.

Since Mary is so amazing and is the mother of God, we give her “hyperdulia” which is more respect and honor that we would give other saints, but still much less than what we give to God and is not worship.

Our main form of worship is the Holy Mass. In it we become present at the sacrifice of our Lord and we take him into ourselves - body Blood soul and divinity at communion.

You will find this Video helpful


Our main and highest form of worship is the mass.

This video should help


The best way.

For those who are thinking of converting to the Catholic religion, especially from the Baptist church, I would like them to watch this video.


I have posted it many times but it is such a wonderful video that I keep re-posting it.

Catholics and the Orthodox worship as they have been doing for the last 2000 yrs since the establishement of the Church…in the Divine Liturgy, but we catholics call it the Mass.

Look for Liturgy and worship in this link:


During the protestant reformation qnd rebellion in the 1500s, succeding generations of protestants started doing their own thing and started losing their catholic roots…so the result is what you see today…different styles of worship…according to what one thinks the manner of worship should be.

Also, this is a description of the Christian worship being explained to a Roman emperor by Justin Martyr:


hapter LXVII.-Weekly Worship of the Christians.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

Lutheran worship has as its origin the western Mass. Therefore, it in many ways resembles the Mass used in the Catholic Church. While you will find variations here in the US and around the world, the basics are (should) always be there; liturgy of the word, and liturgy of the sacrament. Lutheran worship always includes scripture, confession and Holy Absolution, a homily/sermon, and the Eucharist. Even when “contemporary” worship is used these necessities of worship should always be there.

One can find a variety of Lutheran worship services, from very “high church” traditional Mass to low church and contemporary on Youtube and other places online.


I agree that different cultures worship differently.

To be honest, I’m not sure if Catholics take issue with the way someone worships God as long as the Eucharist is involved. Is that right?

I don’t think by having rock music my Church is worshiping in a way that’s improper other than no Eucharist.

I believe you are correct. Catholic worship culminates in the Eucharist whether the instruments be pipe organ or guitar.

I wouldn’t imagine that most of the Catholic posters on this forum would at all be comfortable with an Evangelical-style worship service with the Eucharist being presented as being an adequate Mass. I know I wouldn’t.

They’re too completely different styles of worship with emphasis on completely different concepts.

The center of Catholic worship is the Eucharist, so the Mass surrounding it should be reverent and holy. Evangelical worship is focused on the sing and praise service and finally on the pastor’s sermon. Holy Communion barely even figures in that, since it’s not done on a weekly basis.

When I went to a Catholic service there was plenty of singing and praising…? Why isn’t what Evangelicals do reverent and holy?

Assuming it was done each week I don’t see where the issue would be.

I know that when I was Evangelical the Holy Eucharist (called Lord’ Supper) was done rarely four times a year. And it was an afterthought done after the worship service was concluded.

This was some years ago. Before guitars. All we had was a loud piano and a softly played spinet “organ” to provide the bass.

I have noticed that in many Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches what they call worship is the singing. The sermon is done after the ‘worship’ has ended.

To me the sermon, homily is a part of the worship.

Because the various denominations all have various opinions and interpretations on Scripture, tradition, and even the teachings of Jesus.

You may be surprised to learn that there are Baptist churches where people will cut a jig in the aisle in a minute. Today, these churches are often called “Bapticostal.”

To answer your questions, Pentecostals take quite seriously scripture passages that instruct believers to clap hands and shout to God (Psalm 47:1).

We dance because Psalm 150:4 says, “Praise him with the tambourine and dance . . .” There are other places in Scripture where believers danced before the Lord in acts of worship, such as Miriam the prophetess leading the women of Israel dancing at the Red Sea and King David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 15:20; 2 Samuel 6).

Simply put, different churches emphasize what they want to emphasize. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do get irritated when people can’t seem to recognize that their church/tradition/brand are also choosing to emphasize some things and to neglect others.

I dont think this is necessarily true. The Eucharist brings our worship into full Communion when we are together, and certainly has the highest place in our worship. But the Eucharist is certainly not necessary to worship the Lord at all times! We can constantly worship Him in prayer and honor throughout the day. This is what we are sent to do from Mass. We do not worship Him for one hour a week and cease for the next 6 days.

I am not trying to twist what you are saying… :wink:

I know you are referring to formal/liturgical/communal worship. But to say we need the Eucharist to worship, makes it sound like we do not worship Jesus at our times of prayer and when we fellowship with genuine joy in Him!

Peace w/u

Perhaps you went to a Catholic Charismatic service. I don’t think you would generally see that on a normal Sunday Mass. I haven’t seen singing or dancing at any Mass I’ve ever attended, although admittedly, as a non-Catholic, I haven’t been to a whole bunch so perhaps one of the Catholics on this forum could either confirm or refute me on this.

On a personal level, when I think of something as being reverent, I think of giving something great respect and awe. I think an Evangelical service tends to express the joy and freedom of a believer in Christ, but I wouldn’t consider it reverent, necessarily. In my personal experience Communion is more of a sidelined tradition in the Evangelical churches I’ve attended in the United States. It’s something you do once a month, if you remember to do so (which is what turned me off to the church where I used to worship). Although I will say that all the Evangelical services in Italy I’ve attended that offer Communion have all been very strict on it and will refuse you in a second if you are a not a baptized Christian in good standing.

Why can’t a service be both celebratory and reverent. Evangelicals know how to transition from one mode to the next within a single service. Gosh, it’s not rocket science. :smiley:

And I don’t think that to be reverent we must confine ourselves to liturgical tradition rooted in late antique Mediterranean culture.

I did say “I think” so I was referring to my own personal opinion. So if you see it differently, that’s fine ;).

To me, reverence is something solemn, so as much as Evangelical worship services can be wonderful, that’s not really what I (again, me personally) am hungering for. Maybe it’s because I’ve got an obsession with history and I love tradition.

Interesting discussion folks.

In reading through the replies - I began thinking that why we worship differently (which is an extremely broad question) tends to come down to emphasis.
In most protestant churches the emphasis is on the “liturgy of the word”. In the Catholic and Orthodox, the emphasis is on the liturgy of the Eucharist.

So - Why is that?

In my very personal opinion it is because we as Catholics (and our Orthodox brothers) have the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist where the other churches do not. So while half of our worship service is devoted to the word and to teaching, our anticipation is not focused on the word, but on the very presence - the body and blood, soul and divinity - of our Lord and King.
I am sorry to say that our protestant brothers simply do not have this. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit is not among them…Truly He is. We have all seen the working of the Spirit in many of our protestant brothers and sisters. But the physical presence of the Lord is simply not there.
As Catholics it is as if we sit in His throne room every Sunday…Protestants cannot do this.
What IS there is His word in Scripture. So this is what our dear brothers in Christ hold tightly to…This is where the emphasis is…They cannot truly partake in the liturgy of the Eucharist, so they concentrate on the liturgy of the Word.

Now I know that many Lutheran and Episcopal churches have liturgical services that resemble the mass - but the OP is coming from a baptist background and so my reply is framed to address that viewpoint.

Just some thoughts…


In the above you say you haven’t seen singing and dancing - but we sing at every Sunday mass do we not?? We just don’t dance.

That said, I think that - world wide - the Catholic mass probably runs the gamut from deeply reverent and contemplative, with chant and incense etc… to the highly joyful and what some might call raucous.


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