#1 How Are Mennonites and Amish Different?
Mennonites and the Amish are often conflated because they are related by their Anabaptist roots. The major difference is that Mennonites drive cars and embrace minimal modern-luxuries (possessing a more casual attitude), while the Amish reject all of these electrical conveniences.
There are no limits surrounding technology ownership for Mennonites. Therefore, a Mennonite is likely to have a phone and running electricity in their home (unless they are of the Old Order Mennonites, who live closer-aligned to the Amish lifestyle of electrical-abstinence).
Despite minor differences, they each approach Christianity with similar foundations and morals. The key similarities and differences between these self-professed ‘plain people’ are:
|Salvation||No discussion of salvation||Open to salvation|
|Missionary work||Less so||More so|
|Evangelical worship||Each home may rotate hosting the service (no automobiles so they cannot travel far)||Mennonites evangelicalize and will focus on missionary outreach to communities outside of their local areas|
|American Population||270K in the US.||672K in the US.|
|Origin/History||1693 – Anabaptist (Amish and Mennonites were led by Jakob Ammann. Those that followed Ammann). Mennonites kept separate but immigrated with the Amish/Anabaptists to escape persecution in Europe.||Originally from the early 1500s in Netherlands and Switzerland. The founder was Menno Simons, a Netherland leader that helped them escape prosecution in 1525; Reformation in the 16th Century.|
- “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:18-21.
- Courierpress.com – Differences Between the Amish and Mennonites; February 16th, 2019.
- Answering Your Questions – Mennonite Mom – Amish and Mennonites; Published April 24th, 2019.
#2 How Do Mennonites Baptize?
Mennonites are an Anabaptist denomination (with the term ‘anabaptist’ signifying ‘rebaptizer’). Placing great importance on a baptism, Mennonites do have their own approach to this sacrament.
Anabaptists reject infant baptisms, believing instead that a disciple of God should be of full-maturity before determining which religion they are to be baptized within. Because of this, Mennonites do not conduct baptisms until the recipient is of adult-age.
With baptisms solely for adults, Mennonites are less focused on the means by which the baptism is achieved. This meaning, some Christian denominations find great importance in full-immersion baptisms, just as Jesus’s baptism was performed. However, Mennonites do not fall into this category, only caring that the person is baptized (not how).
A Mennonite may have the choice of baptism by:
- Sprinkling of water
- Or pouring water from a spout
Following a strict, legalistic, and highly-literal translation of the Bible – Mennonites follow scriptures such as John 3:5:
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”
Because of scriptures that command a baptism, most Mennonites will receive one in their adult life.
- “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38.
- “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” – Acts 1:5.
- Mennoniteusa.org – Baptism Instructions; October 5th, 2017.
#3 How Do Mennonites Make Money?
Similar to the Amish, Mennonite societies seek to separate themselves from the public and modern world.
Embracing a lifestyle of agriculture and livestock raising, Mennonite men will focus on providing for the family. In contrast, Mennonite women will focus on raising the children, tending to the house, and helping with the livestock.
- Farming and Agriculture
- Raising livestock
- Furniture craftsmanship
- Machinery/Car-Repair, Mechanic
The ways in which Mennonite females sometimes make money:
- Quilting (quilts can go for $700-$1,000)
- Crafts, trinket, or handmade goods
- Many have their own Etsy shop or online store
Mennonite community members tend not to need a great deal of money. Especially if they are Old Order Mennonites (that reject modern luxuries and live an especially traditional lifestyle), they may not even pay government taxes, social security, any credit card bills, nor healthcare or government-established expenses.
For the same reasons that they live outside of the general public, they avoid taking things from the general public (which includes healthcare). This keeps costs low and allows them to live within their means.
Keep in mind that there are Progressive Mennonites that do live in the public/modern world, dressing normally, living normally, and therefore, working normally. In this sense, a Mennonite could be capable of (or presently in possession of) almost any occupation on earth.
- “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” – Genesis 1:29.
- Mcc.org – Vision and Mission – Mennonite Central Committee; October 10th, 2019.
#4 How Do Mennonites Pray?
Mennonites, like all Christians, allow prayer to be a personal experience that is left up to the individual’s discretion. Each Christian (and each religious person of all denominations) will have their own way of communicating to their designated God. Because of this, there are usually no strict guidelines regarding prayer (unless you are a Catholic or Buddhist with scripted prayers and chants).
The ways in which Mennonites pray are:
- Quietly, often to oneself in silence
- In a group, said aloud to the family or congregation
- Respectfully, addressing their almighty and omnipotent Lord
- Curiously, seeking answers or clarity
- Humbly, seeking assistance, wisdom, or guidance
- Thoughtfully, often mentioning a blessing for the hungry, homeless, and suffering
- Concisely, beginning with (Lord, Holy Lord, Father, God), and ending with (Amen or In Jesus’ Name, Amen)
Peacemennonite.org published their prayer for peace:
We cannot gather in person this morning, but we are gathered in spirit.
We come together in our uncertainty and our fear.
We come together in our determination and our hope.
We come together to worship you:
Our Creator and Sustainer,
The One who provides water from a rock
To quench our parched throats,
And living water from Jesus
To restore our weary spirits.
Let us know your presence with us
And our presence with each other
In this time of worship.
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6.
- “Pray without ceasing,” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
- “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6.
- Mennoniteusa.org – Learn Pray Join; August 18th, 2020.
#5 How Do Mennonites Travel?
Most Mennonites are allowed to keep a simple, black car in their possession.
For short distances, they may keep a horse and buggy, similar to their Anabaptist relatives, the Amish.
However, you will see in the image below a group of Belizean Mennonites waiting for their bus to arrive and shuttle them home from work (or so it appears by their muddied boots, indicating a hard days’ work).
It is also important to keep in mind that many Progressive Mennonites live in general society, generally living quite normal (meaning they may take cars, trains, or planes).
Overall, Mennonites may travel by:
- Black, simple cars
- Horse & Buggy
It will depend largely on the traditionalism or liberalism of that given congregation.
- “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9.
- The Mennonites – A Trip Back and Time | DW Documentary’ June 25th, 2020.
#6 How Do Mennonites Worship?
Mennonites tend to gather in formal Churches or congregational members’ homes to worship together.
The ways in which Mennonites tend to worship include:
- In a group format/congregationally
- In a sermon-oriented manner
- On Sunday (what they consider to be Sabbath)
- Minister led
- Similar to a gospel proclamation
- Singing hymns to God
- Prayers at the start and close of the meeting
In many respects, Mennonite worship will mimic the appearance of many Protestant Christian denominations. Although their lifestyles reflect their Anabaptist uniqueness, their style of worship does not.
· “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” – Psalm 95:6.
· “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.” – Isaiah 12:5.
- Mennoniteusa.org – Voices Together; November 29th, 2018.
- A Service Prepared by Mennonite Church Canada; March 21st, 2020.