Back in theology school, I would challenge myself to learn different religions outside what I was familiar with. One of the religions I spent more time researching is the Mennonites. At one point, I visited a Mennonite community in Pennsylvania to get first-hand information. Since then, I have always felt well-versed in this religious group. In my online Christian forum, we recently discussed joining the Mennonites community. Members of the forum had many questions about Mennonites, which I could answer, given my experience with the community. Many wanted to know how to become a Mennonite.
If you wish to become a Mennonite, you can follow different criteria and be one. You can join their church and familiarize yourself with the members. Since there are different subgroups of Mennonites, each group has rules you can familiarize yourself with. You can opt to get married to someone who belongs to the Mennonite religion.
In the article below, I invite you to join me as we look at the criteria for joining the Mennonite religion. As you look into joining the community, it is important to know the requirement and dos and don’ts for a new Mennonite. I have highlighted some pros and cons of joining the Mennonite community. Read on to learn more about becoming a Mennonite.
Can anyone join the Mennonite community?
The Mennonite community is receptive to anyone seeking to join their religion. There are no restrictions on who can join the community. However, you must be familiar with their traditions to blend with the community.
Reportedly, most members of the Mennonite religion were not raised in Mennonite churches. It means that the majority are converts from other religions. It shows that any person may join the community. Considering Mennonites are receptive to technology and modern dressing, the group does not limit people who wish to be part of the Anabaptist religion while conforming to digital culture.
Mennonites belong to Anabaptists who believe that one can consciously follow Christ as an adult. Also, they practice adult baptism. If you share the same beliefs, you will easily join the Mennonite community. Like other religions, the Mennonites have guidelines for one to become a community member. These guidelines may separate those committing to joining the community from the rest.
What are the pros and cons of joining the Mennonite community?
There are pros and cons of joining the Mennonite community. Let’s have a look at some of them below:
- Mennonites hold the community in high regard. Therefore, you will belong to a community and enjoy the benefits of relating with a common group. It helps keep members of the religion in check since they have each other’s back. Also, it helps to maintain the religion’s traditions.
- Mennonites can teach, pass and hold on to their traditions to new members. The religion exists to date as they hold on to their traditions.
- There are different types of Mennonites that you can align to. If you wish to settle on less conservative, you will find Modern Mennonites who will fit your beliefs. Traditional Mennonites also exist for those who prefer more conservative practices.
- Mennonites have embraced technology and modern dressing compared to other Anabaptist communities, such as the Amish. Therefore, new members may easily adjust to the new religion.
- The Mennonites live by their core values which are peace, justice, and community. Through these values, new members may find purpose within the community. Also, members practice discipline since these values guide them.
- Mennonites religion emphasizes on culture, which some may find controversial. It includes avoiding mainstream and use of technology, which have become a necessity in the current world.
- Since there are different Mennonites groups, it results in different beliefs and practices, which may clash. For instance, modern Mennonites accept digital culture, while Traditional Mennonites do not.
- There are stereotypes about the Mennonite religion. Hence, outsiders may misjudge members.
What do you need to do to become a Mennonite?
Before joining the Mennonite community, you must understand their beliefs and practices. As you know, Mennonites follow certain beliefs and practices which will require discipline. Therefore, you will need discipline to guide you from acting against the religion.
The Mennonites worship and assemble in churches. They also use churches to carry out baptisms and meetings, similar to most Christian churches. During the Church services and meetings, they speak in English. Therefore, you will not need to learn a new language to become one of them.
Believe in the Trinity and the Bible
You should know that Mennonites believe in God and the salvation He brought through Jesus Christ. Also, they acknowledge the Holy Ghost. They read the Bible and follow the scripture’s teachings.
Compared to Amish, Mennonites lead a normal life and are more open to contemporary changes. In comparison to the Amish, the Mennonites accept colorful and floral dressing. It may be relieving to know that you can use technology in the form of vehicles, cell phones, and computers.
Be ready for Baptism
Unlike other churches, which baptize their members from childhood, Mennonites baptize adults. Through this, you will be a member of the community. They usually conduct the Baptism in water and in front of the congregation. You may have to profess an oral or written testimony of faith.
As a Mennonite, be ready to participate actively in the religion since the community occupies a large space. Expect to attend church services and mingle with the congregation. Also, they hold meetings and dinners and different service projects.
What are some rules to remember as a new Mennonite: the Dos and Don’ts for new Mennonites?
There are things that you should have in mind as a new member of the Mennonite religion. It is important to know the rules which guide the religion as there are consequences to going against their beliefs and practices.
Mennonites practice separation from the world. As a new member, you should practice this and place more emphasis on the Mennonite religion. Separation from the world includes forfeiting things that link you to the world, like social media.
Mennonites use Jesus’ example to shun the swearing of oaths. This includes declining or staying away from any position that may require swearing of oaths. For instance, taking military oaths to serve your country or in courts of law. Instead, they practice affirming truth-telling and honoring one’s word. Therefore, as a new member, remember this and avoid taking any oaths.
The main principle guiding Mennonites is adult baptisms. As a new member, have this in mind, which will guide your view on the religion. They believe infants and young children are incapable of making a choice to follow Jesus Christ out of their own will.
Mennonites carry out excommunication. The religion places serious consequences in case of violation of practices and teachings of the church. If the deacon sermons you, yet you fail to adhere to his guide and disregard the Council of Elders’ advice, you will face excommunication.
As a new member, always be peaceful since it is one of the Mennonite’s core values. Do not act violently or promote violence. The religion advises its members to show love to their enemies. Some consequences may follow if you act differently, going against these values.
Mennonites adhere to church discipline; therefore, new members honor the rules and guidelines the religion has in place. They correct each other or the person considered to err. If the person does not resolve the issue, it may involve a church leader or pastor. Finally, it may be brought in front of the congregation. If the person fails to seek repentance and admonition of the congregation, they are likely to receive a suspension.
As a new member, prepare for acts of service to fellow members, such as foot washing. They follow Christ’s example as he washed his disciples’ feet. Mennonites believe that Jesus Christ called us to offer service to each other as he did. Therefore, expect to carry this out among other services.
Mennonites adhere to strict pacifism. Their response to any form of injustice or oppression is forgiveness for the harm caused. Part of the Mennonite confession of faith is affirming non-participation in warfare. Therefore, as a new member, you should consciously avoid violence and military service. Instead, focusing on peacemaking and advancing for justice would be best.
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.