3 Reasons Why Amish Don’t Want You To Join Them

In this video I explain why Amish don’t want – or maybe the better word is “need” – outsiders to join them.

The Amish are not a group which seeks converts. That said, some churches are more seeker-friendly.

For anyone considering joining the Amish, it’s always good to know what you are getting into. Most people who express that interest (online at least) are not serious about it, and are doing so because they have personal problems or are frustrated with something in their lives, and/or romanticize what they think is the Amish way of things.

But there is a small percentage of such people which I would say are good candidates to become Amish. Those tend to be the people who have or manage to develop a good understanding of what Amish life is all about.

The basis of that is Christianity, and the Amish believe in a lived faith. The cultural and lifestyle aspects that everyone talks about are part of it, but are not the vehicle to get one to heaven (although some Amish might feel that it helps).

People who approach Amish life thinking it is an “alternate lifestyle” or a way to live green or off-the-grid or to locate themselves in a community of “perfect people” inevitably will end up disappointed.

Runtime: 2:54.

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    10 Comments

    1. Excellent

      Eric, thank you so much for continuing to enlighten us about the Amish. I really like that comment, “Let your life shine but don’t shine it in someone’s face.”
      I’d enjoy reading/hearing more about English who have transitioned to the Old Order Amish, not because I want to do it, but because it sounds like quite the story.
      Happy writing, Jim

      1. Thanks Jim, I was happy to share that, it’s one of my favorite “quotes from the Amish”. That idea is one I think everyone would do well by.

        Have you seen the series of posts by Anne on this site, about her son Ed who joined the Amish? She kindly shared a lot of what that was like, both from Ed’s experience and her own as a mother of a convert. Here are a couple and you can find more if you search it at top:

        https://amishamerica.com/when-a-son-joins-the-amish/
        https://amishamerica.com/when-a-son-joins-the-amish-we-are-wimps/

        Marlene Miller is another interesting one, though I have fewer posts on her story (there is one Q&A).

        1. Sara

          Great Post and Saying

          I loved this post! I find it very important to keep highlighting a more realistic representation of the Amish instead of a romanticized vision of them that many people have, which actually keeps us from getting to know how they really are and how they really live.

          I’ll totally check the other posts about joining the Amish and the Marlene Miller Q&A – it’ll be so interesting to know them from an outsider’s perspective who has joined them.

          Like Jim, I find the quote “Let your life shine but don’t shine it in someone’s face.” very beautiful. I’d love to know more Amish sayings!

    2. Annette Kastner

      Reason to Join an Amish Church

      Probably the soundest reason to join an Amish Church and Community is genuine belief in the doctrine, and belief that the Amish way of life is pleasing to God.

    3. Robert Strikwerda

      Excellent— Yes

      I want to endorse Jim Potter’s comment. You covered the topic thoughtfully and succinctly.

      1. Thank you Robert, I’m glad you thought so. I think there are probably more than 3 reasons but these were the most obvious ones.

    4. Joe

      Having to learn Pennsylvania Dutch is also an impediment

      Since church is held in Pennsylvania Dutch, this can be a problem. I think Marlene Miller mentioned this in her book. I believe some of the more progressive churches may supply interpreters, but that is certainly awkward! Yes, in regular life, English is used a lot, but in the family, Pennsylvania Dutch is perhaps more common.

    5. Jeffrey C Masters

      I love the lifestyle, but I am an old dog, who doesn't learn new tricks very well.

      We have a lot of Amish friends whom we love dearly. We have watched the children grow from newborns to young adults w2ith children of their own. We have stayed in their homes for quite a while, been to weddings, held precious newborns, lived and laughed with them for many years now. I am a better person from knowing them, and from their friendship. Still though, I do not think it advisable to try and join a community. Adopt their lifestyle, beliefs, way of life, habits, but do not try and force yourself into something you are not. So much of the”Amish” way of life is learned through experiences, and not taught in a book. There is MUCH to be learned from our Amish brethren, just as they can learn from us. Co-existence might be the best of both worlds…..

    6. Paula

      Joining Amish

      Amen Jeffrey. The best compliment of my life came from Mattie Keim, who said “Paula, you have an Amish heart”. I will take that to my grave. Years later I would learn that I am descended from a long line of Mennonite Ministers from Germany & Austria who came here to avoid persecution. How I would’ve loved to have been fully worthy, but I am to much of the world. But Mattie, her son Levi, & her sweet daughters will never leave me. Sometimes blessings are bestowed in a moment, some are for a lifetime, but anyway those blessings come are blessings indeed.

    7. James

      Amish Reference

      The best take away of this article is vindication. When I’m berated with inclusion, multiculturalism, and acceptance of outsiders to our in group preferences for membership, I use the Amish as reference. If you can convert their beliefs, we’ll talk. I never hear back from them.