What should people who want to join the Amish or Mennonites or other Plain Anabaptist church believe? What about their behavior? What kind of commitments should they be ready to make?
Over the past 10+ years I have seen a lot of the same thing both in my email inbox and in the comments sections of certain posts here.
In fact our most commented post here with over 800 comments is about becoming Amish.
I can say that people don’t always have a clear idea of what joining an Amish church really means.
As Nicci writes:
A “plain” church or fellowship can be of no use if you aren’t fully informed about the culture that goes with it. There is more than putting on a long dress and white head covering — it’s about a daily walk with the Lord as well as an understanding of the people you walk along side.
The new wears off, and it does become hard eventually. You’ll want a solid foundation with Jesus Christ.
She shares a list of 17 questions for people considering a Plain Anabaptist faith commitment:
- Do you use foul language?
- What type of books and movies do you watch?
- What is your relationship with your family like?
- Have you attended a plain fellowship? For how long?
- Have you been 100 percent open and honest with them about your walk with Christ?
- Do you have unconfessed sins?
- Are you nonresistant? Do you know what that means?
- Do you have a mentor?
- Are you ready to die?
- What does following Jesus look like to you?
- Have you developed relationships inside of the community that you are trying to fellowship with?
- Do you know what it means if I say there are two kingdoms and I am a citizen of one of them?
- Have you read a lot of Amish romance books and just like this lifestyle?
- Do you currently dress modestly to the best of your ability?
- What is your view on divorce and remarriage?
- What about same-sex romantic partnerships?
- Do you hate anyone?
I like Nicci’s list because they are direct questions, and don’t candy-coat what it means to be Amish or a Plain Mennonite.
You are accepting a certain package of beliefs and values, a lot of which aren’t “trendy” or popular in today’s culture.
But, if you’d like to successfully become Amish, you need to be on board with these ideas, and have Christ in your heart.
Otherwise you are eventually going to find internal or external conflict – no matter which community you join – or how perfect it seems from the outside.