Mennonites vs. Hutterites: What is the main difference?

I have an immense love for different denominations worldwide and have invested my time and thorough research in many of them. During my theology school years, I went the extra mile by visiting other denominations and living amongst them to learn. Among the denominations I was lucky enough to live among were the Mennonites and Hutterites. So, I was thrilled to share the knowledge when my theology student asked me to explain the differences and similarities between the Mennonites and Hutterites in my previous lessons. So, let’s take a deeper dive into Mennonites vs Hutterites.

Mennonites encourage non-violence, faith, and individual church membership. On the other hand, Hutterites encourage communal living, communal ownership of property, and strict following of the scriptures.

In this article, I aim to explain more about the Mennonite and Hutterite traditions, their similarities and differences, and comparisons in each of their beliefs. Read on to find out more!

Mennonites vs. Hutterites: Difference in the definition

Mennonites are an Anabaptist Christian religion that emerged in the 16th century during the famous protestant reforms. This religious group is named after its patron Menno Simons, a Dutch leader who founded the Mennonite faith. Mennonites have strong beliefs that they hold dear and abide by. They believe in non-resistance, adult baptism, and pacifism. Additionally, they believe in the separation of church and state. Mennonites are popularly known for their simplistic way of life, traditional attires, and dedication to their communities. Mennonite women dress in plain long dresses and wear bonnets on their heads. Mennonite men may or may not have suspenders and are mostly indistinguishable from other men of different religions. Mennonites uphold peace and social justice in the community and mainly indulge in humanitarian acts worldwide. They practice a decentralized organizational structure- meaning that each group is independent and responsible for its matters.

On the other hand, Hutterites are a communal Christian group that emerged during the 16th-century protestant reformation. The group derives its name from Jakob Hutter, the religious Anabaptist leader from Tyrol, Austria, who founded the group. Hutterites believe in communal living, non-resistances, and adult baptism. They are known for their unique mode of dressing, which includes traditional clothing for men and long dresses and skirts for their women. Also, they adorn their heads with head coverings. Hutterites live communally, where they share all their resources. All members work for the colony’s well-being as they believe in mutual aid in their communities. Hutterites have a hierarchy organizational setup, where a group of elders oversees each territory.

Differences between Mennonites and Hutterites

Mennonites vs. Hutterites - What is the main difference?
Differences between Mennonites and Hutterites. Image source: Pinterest

Comparison parameters




Mennonites originated from Switzerland during the 16th-century protestant reformation. Menno Simons founded the group.

Hutterites first originated in Tyrol, Austria. Jakob Hutter pioneered the group.

Beliefs and values

Pacifism, non-violence, adult baptism, separation of church and state

Communal living, pacifism, adult baptism, Humility

Standard of living

Live individually, and engage in professions like other protestants

Live communally in colonies and share resources, and practice labor division amongst themselves.

Concept of afterlife

Mennonites believe in salvation through Jesus Christ

Hutterites believe in redemption and the establishment of God’s ministry on earth.


Mennonites usually speak English. However, some maintain their ancestral language, such as German, Dutch.

Hutterites speak German Hutterite, Known as hutterisch.


Use buggy rides, horses, and cars.

Use communal means of transport. Each commune has cars and drivers

Mode of dressing

Mennonite men wear like any other protestant denomination; however, women wear head bonnets and long dresses.

Wear traditional attires, which are simple


Mennonites use technology

Hutterites use technology minimally


Mennonites have a large following, estimated at 2.13 million followers. Although Mennonites are commonly found in Latin America, they have many followers in Africa and other world sects.

Hutterites are the smallest of the three major Anabaptist religions. Their population is estimated to be 50,000.

Similarities between Mennonites and Hutterites

Although Mennonites and Hutterites have several differences, they are also similar in a few ways. Their similarities include:

  • Anabaptist inceptions-. Both were founded by Anabaptist leaders, from whom they derived their current names. Additionally, both sects denounced infant baptism and instead vouched for adult baptism.
  • Pacifism– Both Mennonites and Hutterites believe in the peaceful resolution of any dispute. They believe in the virtue of peace and non-violence at all times and adhere to this principle.
  • Community – devoted– Both Mennonites and Hutterites value their communities incredibly. They engage in activities that increase the excellent fare of their communities, like spending quality time together. Additionally, both groups live in close nit communities where they get support.
  • Simplistic lifestyle– Both Mennonites and Hutterites lead simple lives. They wear simple clothes and only focus on a modest way of life. They avoid displays of materialism, like wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Agriculture: Both groups mostly live in communities and rarely interact with outsiders. Therefore, they grow their produce in their communities as a way of self-sufficiency.
  • Anabaptist beliefs- Both groups share Anabaptist ideas such as adult baptism and that all believers have access to God through Jesus Christ without needing a mediator.

Comparison between Mennonite and Hutterite religious beliefs

Technology: Mennonites are more open to the use of technology, like the use of motorized vehicles, electricity, and mobile phones. On the other hand, Hutterites shun the use of technology and prefer to maintain a traditional way of life with very minimal use of any form of technology in their lives.

Communal living: Another difference between both groups is communal living. While Hutterites live in communal colonies and share all their resources communally, Mennonites are more independent. Although they value the community, Mennonites tend to be more independent and encourage individual ownership of assets.

Worship practices: Both sects also have different worship practices. Mennonites gather in local churches for worship. Primarily, they engage in hymnal worship, Sermons, and praying. On the other hand, Hutterites have a more communal way of prayer. They gather in their colonies and worship together, led by a colony leader. They worship as a whole community which enhances their unity as a colony.

Education: In terms of education, Mennonites value education and take their children to schools within their communities. They select their teachers of choice, usually Mennonite women who have not yet been married. They integrate mainstream learning into the syllabus for well-rounded students. On the other hand, Hutterites homeschool their children in their colonies. They aim to teach vocational practices alongside religion.

What are Mennonite traditions?

Since the founding of Mennonites by Menno Simons in the 16th century, the group has maintained many of its founding principles and beliefs. Some of the Mennonite traditions include:

  • Pacifism– Mennonites believe and practice the peaceful resolution of all disputes. Mennonites peacefully live their lives, evading any violent solutions to any conflicts. Additionally, they encourage non-resistance in their way of life. Due to this reason, Mennonites do not join the military, as they would defy the principle of pacifism.
  • Simplistic lifestyle– Mennonites lead a simple and modest lifestyle. They shelter themselves from having excessive materialism that would otherwise deter them from their modesty. They do not wear jewelry or anything that may stand out in their appearance.
  • Adult Baptists– Mennonites believe in and practice adult baptism. They believe that baptism is a choice that an individual gets to chose once they are grown, as it has to be out of their own will. They shun infant baptism, unlike other protestant denominations.
  • Acts of service and social justice– Mennonites are recognized worldwide for acts of kindness. They volunteer in crisis, mission trips, and local and international communities. They scout for peace and encourage the need for equality among humans of all races.
  • Community-oriented- Mennonites embrace their communities and respective congregations and involve them in decision-making. Mostly, decisions are made among the community while respecting each member’s opinion during the process. This tradition promotes unity and togetherness among them.
  • Anabaptist beliefs– Mennonites hold dear the Anabaptist views, including pacifism, adult baptism, and the idea that all humans can access God through Christ. Additionally, they respect the holy scriptures and live their lives based on their guidelines.

The Mennonite traditions give them a unique way of life that is different from other denominations, therefore making them stand out.

What are the Hutterites traditions?

Mennonites vs. Hutterites
What are the Hutterites traditions? Image source: Freepik

The Hutterite way of life is defined mainly by the Hutterite traditions and beliefs of this community, passed down since its founding in the 16th century. The Hutterite Rules have remained unique and authentic since then and continue to guide its people through life. These traditions include:

  • Communal living– Hutterites live communally in small communities called colonies. Elders oversee each territory. The members of the colonies share their resources communally and do not believe in personal ownership of resources. The settlements are self-sufficient, having schools, a place of worship, and other amenities.
  • Agricultural practice– Hutterites cultivate their supplies in their colonies. Seeing that they rarely mingle outside their territories, they grow their produce, communally diving the labor amongst themselves.
  • Simplistic lifestyle– Hutterites live a simple and modest life. They do not use technology and prefer to live a more traditional lifestyle. They dress in simple clothing and avoid having and displaying material possessions.
  • Daily religious services– Hutterites conduct daily prayers and sermons in their colonies. They gather all members and engage in hymn singing and prayers led by their appointed leader. These services help strengthen their faith as a community while also bonding among themselves.
  • Adult Baptism– Hutterites believe baptism should be done only on consenting adults who have chosen their path of faith willingly rather than infants.

What do Hutterites think about Mennonites?

Hutterites’ opinions about Mennonites may vary depending on different individuals and communities. Generally, both Hutteries and Mennonites share common Anabaptist origins and theology. Both believe in pacifism, adult baptism, and simplistic living and are community oriented. However, despite their similarities, it is essential to note that the Hutterite community is a unique community with its own distinct beliefs and traditions.

Nevertheless, it is essential to note that individual opinions may vary in communities. Some Hutterites may not be conversant with the Mennonite way of life, which may create a biased opinion. For example, not every Hutterite understands why Mennonites are more open to technology or prefer to live independently rather than communally. Generally, the differences between their traditions, interpretations, and theological perspectives may affect their view of Mennonites.

Leave a Comment