Worship and festivals

There are many different ways in which Christians worship God. Worship is any act that shows devotion or love for God, ranging from praying at home to attending a church service.

Forms of worship

There are four main types of worship that Christians can engage in:

Christians can be involved in all four of these forms of worship. Examples of activities that may take place at some or all of these forms of worship are readings from the Holy Bible, prayers and the Eucharist.

Sunday is regarded by Christians as the Sabbath because Jesus' resurrection happened on a Sunday. It is also a reminder to Christians that God rested on the seventh day of creation. Most churches have their main service on a Sunday morning.

Liturgical worship

Liturgical worship is a church service that follows a set pattern of prayers and readings, usually found in a printed book.

Christians who participate in liturgical services may feel connected to other worshippers as they are following the same traditions.

As a congregation, Christians often participate together, repeating key information and singing hymns.

Non-liturgical worship

Non-liturgical worship is more informal and has less structure, and the elements can be tailored to different types of services. For example, the sermon could be on a topical theme, and prayers could be in the service leader’s own words rather than those written in a book.

Informal worship

Informal worship focuses on the adoration of God and is not always carried out in a church. Often, large auditoriums are used. Frequently the music used during informal worship is popular and modern in style, and instruments are commonly used.

Charismatic worship is a kind of informal worship. Although Charismatic services have recognisable Christian features, such as prayers and readings, they are very free-flowing services.

During informal worship, people often believe that the Holy Spirit is present and allowing them to carry out God’s wishes, so the services can be quite spontaneous. Evangelical Christians usually worship in this style and may clap or shout during a service at any point, as they worship God with their whole body, not just their minds.

Quakers’ worship is different as they hold meetings, rather than services, in meeting houses. These meetings last about an hour and have no set hymns, prayers or sermons. There is no leader in the meeting house and the chairs are usually arranged in a circle. Everyone worships as an equal.

Quakers spend most of the meeting in silence as this kind of worship is seen as a time for connection with God and with others, but if someone wishes to stand up and speak, they are free to do so as part of this informal worship.

A day in the life of a young Quaker, Ceredwin

Private worship

Private worship is informal and often takes place at home, but it can be liturgical or non-liturgical.

Some examples of private worship are saying grace before a meal or reading a passage from the Bible each day.

Worshipping alone can allow a person to feel close to God. Private worship can be an opportunity for Christians to explore a personal, individual connection with God.

Many Christians worship both publicly and privately. Worship is important as it creates a personal relationship between God and the believer. It can also help to bring a community together as some people feel that they gain a better understanding of Christianity through attending services.

What is worship?

Any act that shows devotion or love for God.