Back in theology school, I met a friend who had an interest in Mennonite culture. As I interacted with him, I became more knowledgeable about the religion. One time, I accompanied him as he visited the community to learn whether he could be accepted despite being an outsider. From that time, I learned various things about the religion, which I love sharing any chance. During last week’s discussion on my online Christian topics forum, we discussed Mennonites, particularly their reception to outsiders. I had a lot to share with the forum members, given my first-hand experience and knowledge about Mennonites. So, do Mennonites accept outsiders?
The Mennonites community accepts outsiders. There are steps the outsider will need to follow to become one of them. As an outsider, you will need to convert to Mennonite religion through baptism. After that, you will be one of them. They do not discriminate against any race. You must assimilate into their beliefs and practices to blend with the community.
I invite you to join me in the article below to find out whether Mennonites accept outsiders. I have highlighted the process outsiders need to take to become Mennonites. Also, learn whether the Mennonite community accepts all races and its view of outsiders. If you want to learn whether anyone can become a Mennonite, read the write-up below to learn more.
Can anyone become a Mennonite?
Any person can join the Mennonite community. Initially, Mennonites lived as a close group since they passed religion through different generations. However, over time they became receptive to outsiders who could become part of their community.
There are rules which Mennonites abide by that are important for the outsider to comprehend before choosing to join. From learning about Mennonites’ practices and beliefs, one can consciously decide whether to join them. One should find out the religious requirements for joining and be ready to participate in all the community’s activities.
Despite the religion being receptive to anyone, there are subsets of the Mennonite community, which may be strict on joining conditions. These are mostly conservative Mennonite groups that have specific guidelines. Joining the community may be easy, but going against some rules may get one shunned.
How do Mennonites view outsiders?
Mennonites follow Jesus’ teachings which guide their view of outsiders. According to Ken Dueck, a leader in the Mennonite Church of British Colombia, Jesus did not discriminate against those who did not align with his beliefs. He argues that those who seem to be faithful churchgoers may have different intentions other than following God’s word.
In contrast, someone who seems distant from the church may have a better understanding of God’s Word. In this context, we may say that Mennonites do not discriminate against outsiders. The only person who can judge a person’s intentions is God.
Furthermore, Mennonites promote friendliness and peace, attributes of a good neighbor. Hence, they practice within their community and outside. They have friendly interactions with outsiders, following Christ’s example. He welcomed those who did not believe in God to listen to His teachings.
Despite these teachings, some Mennonites may have a different view of outsiders. According to views from a few outsiders who have interacted with Mennonites, sometimes, they give a negative impression to people who do not belong to their community. Therefore, views of the Mennonite community may vary depending on the specific subset.
Is the Mennonite community racially diverse?
The Mennonite community is racially diverse, especially the Modern Mennonites. Some groups had white domination, but after 1950, a new era of Mennonites began. The Mennonite Church witnessed massive growth in the 1950s, with branches across different towns. It helped integrate other races into their religion.
These churches have embraced racial and ethnic diversity. They encourage members to develop self-conscious identity, which promotes inclusivity rather than excluding certain races or ethnicities. Mennonites developed initiatives to promote peace and justice, which enhanced their sensitivity toward their neighbors. It made them more aware of the attitudes and needs of other people.
In the seventies, several Latinos and African Americans joined Mennonite Churches or formed new ones. In this regard, it spread out the races within the Mennonite community, which has adversely diversified throughout the years. Most Mennonite churches have since worshiped in more languages apart from English. It goes to show the inclusivity of the religion.
How can outsiders become Mennonites?
Mennonites are receptive to outsiders who wish to join their community. If you are an outsider, you can follow certain steps to become a Mennonite. Here they are below,
Learn about Mennonites
The first step is learning about Mennonites. One should research its history to understand what led to its formation. Mennonites differ from other religions in their practices; for instance, they do adult baptism. Learning the reasons behind this will help an outsider better understand and blend in with the religion.
Know the dos and don’ts
There are guidelines that help carry the Mennonite traditions from generation to generation. Some of these are rules that have consequences when broken. One may get shunned or banned from the community. An example is living in peace without getting involved in acts of violence. Therefore, as an outsider, it is best to know the guidelines of the Mennonite religion.
Visit the community
Reading and hearing about the traditions of the Mennonite religion is different from witnessing them first-hand. Experiencing them will help one evaluate religion and understand it better.
After your research, you will now be able to make a conscious decision to become a Mennonite. Next is to get converted to the Mennonite religion, which involves adult baptism.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.