What is the Mennonite church (Mennonite worship practices and beliefs)?

During my time in theology school, we studied various Christian denominations. The Mennonites caught my attention because they have all the attributes of an ethnic group, yet theirs is a denomination centered on New Testament beliefs within Christianity. In my final year, I visited Pennsylvania to study the religious practices of the Mennonites. Last month, a member of our online bible study group wanted to know about the Mennonite church and their worship practices. Since I was well-versed in everything regarding the Mennonites, this was my chance to explain everything I learned during my visit to the members. So, what is the Mennonite church?

The Mennonite church is a Christian denomination that believes in the teachings of Jesus. They are peace-loving people who use the Bible as their primary source of inspiration. The Mennonite church members dress in simple, neutral colors to avoid being flashy or fashionable.

In this article, we take a deeper look at the Mennonites. Join me as we explore the worship practices and beliefs of the Mennonite church. We will also find out who can join the Mennonite church.

Is Mennonite a religion or a denomination of Christianity?

Mennonite is a denomination within the Christian religion. Mennonites came from a group of radical Anabaptists who disagreed with the doctrines of protestant leaders such as Huldrych Zwingli and Martin Luther. The Anabaptists also denounced the authority of the Catholic Church and its teachings.

The first group of Anabaptists defected from the main Christian religions for several reasons. First, they disagreed with the merging of church and state affairs, which was the case during the Constantine era. These Anabaptists believed that this order of things betrayed the teachings in the New Testament. According to them, one should make a conscious decision to get baptized and join the church in service to Christ and others.

Second, the Anabaptists believed that only a church has the jurisdiction to discipline a wayward church member. They proposed that the government had no business getting involved in spiritual matters. Finally, they strongly upheld the spirit of pacifism even as they faced intense persecution for their radical beliefs. Throughout the 16th century, Anabaptists continued to face persecution. Around this time, various groups of Anabaptists came up, including the Mennonites. The Mennonites strictly adhered to the Anabaptist Confession of Schleitheim., a document drawn up by Anabaptist leaders.

What does the Mennonite church believe in?

Mennonite worship practices and beliefs
What does the Mennonite church believe in? Image source: Freepik

The Anabaptist Confession of Schleitheim contains seven doctrines that the Mennonites follow to the letter. The following are their views on various religious issues;


Mennonites believe in adult baptism instead of infant baptism, as practiced by the Catholic and some protestant denominations. Other Anabaptists and Mennonites believe that baptism should be a choice made in response to the teachings of the New Testament.


The Confession of Schleitheim also stated that everyone must live pure lives, separating themselves from the evils of the world. This is why most Mennonites lead simple lives free of excessive material possessions. What’s more, wayward church members would be afforded two public and one private admonition before the church shuns them. According to the Confession of Schleitheim, believers were not to swear oaths or participate in violence.


Based on Mennonite doctrine, only baptized believers can partake in Holy Communion. Mennonites also view holy communion as a symbol of a new covenant that was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit and Jesus

Mennonites recognize Jesus as God’s son and the savior of the world. The church sees the Holy Spirit as God’s eternal spirit, which guides and empowers the church. They also accept as true that the Holy Spirit plays a central role in the salvation of human beings. Mennonites also maintain that the Holy Trinity comprises the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He taught about peace and non-resistance. Jesus taught that if a person slaps your one cheek, you should turn the other cheek instead of retaliating. This doctrine is written in the book of Matthew 5:38-39. Consequently, Mennonites are staunch pacifists who evade violence at all costs. This explains why most Mennonites avoid the military.

Humility and service

Christ was particularly adamant about serving others, as shown in John 13:3-7. In this scripture, Jesus takes the time to wash his disciple’s feet as a practical example of humility and service to fellow mankind. That is why Mennonites perform ritual foot washing as a way to emulate the attitude of Christ.

What are Mennonite worship practices?

What is the Mennonite church?
What are Mennonite worship practices? Image source: Pixabay

Mennonites tailor their church services around a sermon. Because they consider the New Testament their ultimate guide, they include a stern Gospel declaration in the liturgy. Mennonites experimented with organ music during worship towards the end of the 20th century. However, the modern Mennonite singing style is Acapella. During baptism ceremonies, Mennonites can either sprinkle water, pour from a pitcher or fully immerse a believer. This denomination worships on Sunday because Jesus rose up on the first day of the week, which is the Sabbath.

Can anyone join the Mennonite church?

Yes, anyone who resonates with the beliefs of the Mennonite community is welcome to join the church. Menno Simmons was a Catholic priest before joining the Anabaptists during the protestant reformation period. Today, joining the Mennonites is only easy in theory. In reality, there are so many hurdles that one has to overcome to be integrated into the Mennonite church. The easiest way to join the church is through marriage. It is worth mentioning that joining a less conservative group like the progressive Mennonites is easier than the more conservative groups like the Old Order Mennonites.

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