Elements included in the congregation’s largest worship service, by faith group (2008/2009)

All figures show the percentage of congregations that include each element in their largest worship service.
Catholic Mainline Prot Conserv Prot All
Half or more of congregations in all three faith groups include in their worship services:
Sermon 100% 100% 100% 100%
Communion, Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper 100% 71% 61% 72%
Singing by the congregation 99% 97% 100% 98%
Take up a collection of money 98% 96% 98% 96%
People greeting each other (by shaking hands or some other way) 97% 77% 87% 83%
Use of piano 90% 84% 78% 83%
Singing by a choir or soloist 89% 84% 50% 74%
Use of amplification equipment 88% 82% 100% 87%
Use of hymn books 74% 80% 63% 74%
Laughter 62% 64% 71% 66%
Half or more of congregations in two of three faith groups include in their worship services:
A leader wearing a robe or other special garments 95% 67% 22% 56%
Silent prayer or mediation 91% 64% 32% 57%
People speaking, reading, or reciting something together 76% 75% 46% 66%
Use of organ 67% 75% 46% 66%
Half or more of congregations in one faith group include in their worship services:
People joining hands during prayer or other moments 72% 14% 26% 24%
Special time directed at children 47% 82% 40% 65%
Use of visual projection equipment 20% 24% 60% 35%
Calling out “amen” or other expressions of approval 17% 12% 66% 29%
People raising their hands in praise 8% 6% 59% 22%
Fewer than half of congregations in all three faith groups include in their worship services:
Participation by teens (such as speaking, reading, singing, or performing) 42% 38% 30% 37%
Use of electric guitar 39% 9% 32% 20%
Use of drums 35% 12% 43% 24%
Use of incense 26% 4% 5%
Applause 24% 43% 43% 40%
Regular use of language(s) other than English 16% * 3%
Regular use of sign language for those who are deaf 14% 2% 2% 4%
Speaking in tongues 3% 12% 4%
Time for testifying or witnessing about personal religious experiences 2% 7% 29% 13%
Jumping, shouting, or dancing that is unplanned 2% 1% 12% 4%
*    =  less than 0.5%; rounds to zero
—  =  zero (0.0); no cases in this category