Pentecostal Praise & Worship

Pentecostals often clap and raise their hands during worship.
... Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Pentecostal churches are known for a distinctive style of praise and worship that is often spontaneous and exuberant. Clapping, singing, shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues and prophesying are all typical of Pentecostal worship services. While Pentecostal congregations do sing and worship corporately, individual worshipers are also encouraged to express their love and devotion to God as their heart and the spirit of God move them.

1 Pentecostal Praise and Worship Music

From its inception, the Pentecostal movement has embraced contemporary music in its praise and worship services. It is common for churches to include a full band, complete with drums, guitars, horns and any other instrument that musically inclined congregants play. The singing itself is often characterized by its high energy and enthusiasm. While some Pentecostal church services include solo and choir music, most Pentecostal singing is congregational, with a worship leader directing musicians and congregation in singing.

2 Expressions of Praise and Worship

Pentecostal worshipers often clap, shout and raise their hands in praise. A worship leader or pastor may ask the congregation to do any of these corporately at times, but they are more often spontaneous expressions of the worshipers as they are led by the Holy Spirit. Detractors criticize Pentecostal praise and worship as disorderly and confusing, but Pentecostals are quick to point to Scripture verses that encourage each of these expressions of praise and worship.

3 Dancing

Dancing has been part of Pentecostal worship since the early days of the movement. Pentecostals believe that both the Old and New Testaments include examples of dance as worship.

Early Pentecostals generally encouraged worshipers to dance "in the Spirit," meaning to dance as a spontaneous, unchoreographed act of worship when led to do so by the Holy Spirit. Many Pentecostals still encourage dancing in the Spirit.

In recent years, an increasing number of Pentecostal churches have developed more formalized dance ministries. These dance ministries typically feature trained dancers who choreograph their dances with the church's worship music.

4 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

It is common in Pentecostal church services for the gifts of the Spirit to be manifested during times of praise and worship. Pentecostals believe that the Holy Spirit gives gifts such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of those tongues, and prophecy to the church. Usually, if someone is going to speak a prophecy or present a message in tongues and interpretation during a Pentecostal church service, they do so during the interludes between one praise song and the next.

Many Pentecostal pastors take the time to explain the gifts when they are expressed during the church service. This is especially true of the gift of tongues, which may seem unusual to those unfamiliar with Pentecostals' teachings on the subject.

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.