So you want to join the Amish

One thing that sets the Amish apart from many Mennonite groups, and for that matter most other religious bodies:  they don’t recruit.

Amish typically neither condemn nor encourage attempts to join.  They may seem a bit discouraging towards the idea.  If the subject comes up, usually you hear something like ‘if you don’t grow up Amish, it’s really hard to do it.’

Occasionally, you run into an Amish person with a name that just doesn’t ‘sound’ Amish.  That’s often a clue.

It frequently happens that non-Amish who join stick it out for a little while but leave when the novelty wears off.

I’ve only met a very few that have joined, and that’s out of literally (literally literally) thousands of families met while selling books in their communities.

I regret not having a chance to get down to the nitty-gritty about it with the joiners (What’s it like?  No, what’s it really like?  What do you miss most?).

One was a teacher.  Another works in a factory.  A third, fairly fresh convert raises and sells mums.  He supposedly fell for an Amish lass while on a visit to the community.

Asking another ‘native’ Amishman in his community about the newbie, I was told, almost wink-wink jokingly, that he seems to be doing alright (so far), as if the underlying idea was ‘is he gonna make it?’

But this guy, and the other people around him were supportive as far as I could tell.  In fact, the outsiders who have joined and ‘survived’ seem to garner a bit of extra respect.

Apparently, one way it works for interested parties is that you first come to live and get put to work for a certain length of time, just to see if you can hack it on that end.

Then there are the teachings and language to pick up.  Amish adolescents readying themselves for baptism normally attend prep courses led by church ministers.

One New Order Amish couple I met had adopted five non-Amish children.  They found a Pennsylvania Dutch tutor to teach the kids the native tongue.  I suppose that would come in handy for non-Dutch adult converts as well.

Some converts are from similar-minded faiths such as this Mennonite -background fellow, which may make it easier, but others come from different branches of Christianity.

The teacher-convert was apparently originally Catholic, as was well-known Amish historian David Luthy, whom I often mention in this blog.

616444_car_keys Apparently this teacher-convert said he found living without a car to be the most difficult.  That’s not surprising.  For me, I think car and electric would be the hardest.  Clothing, hairstyle, hard physical work I’m pretty sure I could swing.

But that might be looking at it the wrong way.  One Amishman has suggested that seekers approaching the Amish solely through the lifestyle angle–the buggies-and-beards rustic appeal of it–are missing the point.

The whole idea is not to live in a strange cultural world for it’s own sake.   By itself, that gets you nowhere.  Rather it’s all about living what the Amish feel is most important:  the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. alyssa

    can someone please help me contact an geauga county amish bishop?

  2. Chelsea

    Alyssa – You’re going for it?! I’m excited for you!!

    Maynard – Around where in upper Michigan?

  3. diane

    hi. i am an older woman with three grown up daughters, however i have felt for a long time that im lost and would like to feel part of a proper family. can you help me please.

  4. diane

    cam i also add, that i believe in god in my own way and would like a secure foundation of where everything fits in with what i believe. hope you can help me please.

  5. Boer

    I have wanted to become Armish for many years now. It has taken so long as I know it needs be and absolute commitment to make. How would I go about this.

  6. Gail

    Hi, I am wondering if theres any amish family willing to take in my son for few weeks to show him the values of family, work, and life. I also would love to move into the amish community and raise my children there.

  7. Brenda Chenette

    Me and my cousin have been discussing the Amish a lot here lately. We believe that technology is distracting us from our families and God. We also believe that if something happens with all the technology the whole world is in trouble but the Amish dont have to worry. Plus God didn’t put us here with all our phones, computers, cars, machienes, etc. The more we talk about it the more it seems right. But I am 19 and I understand that would be hard especially since I am a mom already. So is there any places that you can stary for like a week or two just to see what its like?

  8. traci banville

    I don’t think you realize that the Amish live seperately from “the world” for a reason and the last thing they want is a lot of outsiders trying to move in and disturb what they have held sacred in this country since the 17th century. You can’t have a romantic attitude about their lifestyle because of what you have read in books and seen in movies. (Did Harrison Ford’s character stay with the Amish family at the end of “Witness”, or did they leave the farm and move to the city with him? No. Because they knew that neither of them could really give up their world for the other’s. And that was a Hollywood movie that didn’t have a Hollywood ending because it was written by people who had ties to the community and they knew that it was,if not impossible,but very close to it. It would have taken years to fit in,convert,and then possibly marry and leaving the Amish would have been even harder.They were adults and knew it wouldn’t work. You young girls seem to want to run away to your families to something you know very little about. They are good people but the men are very chauvinistic, and the women are raised to be subserviant.they still live in the 17th century, physically and mentally so any modern ideas you may have will at the least be laughed at and at the worst, you will be put in your place and if you are sensitive you will get your feelings hurt about fifty times a day by the women as well as the men. And if you don’t truly love to cook,clean,bake,sew, and take care of children 24/7 without any modern conveniences,you are going to think you’ve landed in hell. As I say, they are good people, good neighbors, and good friends and their homes are nice places to visit but I really wouldn’t want to live there. But go, find out for yourself. It’s the only way you will know. And if it’s not fot you,don’t be ashamed to admit it .It will have been an experience. Oh. one more thing and heed my advice in this area especially.There are older Amish widowers who need wives, but if you think you will walk in and take your pick of the available young men or women you should know that most of them will already be promised either by choice or by their parents and it will not be appreciated if you try to insinuate yourself.Cousins still marry and families are close and want to keep land and other holdings within those families and an outsider will not be welcome.Don’t go there with marriage on your mind as most Amish do not marry until their mid twenties. God Bless You.

  9. are there any amish communities in Oregon?

  10. alyssa

    to traci–
    “through Christ all things are possible.”

  11. I think that many of those who want to join the Amish have the right thoughts and ideas but perhaps the wrong solution. For most of us who have not grown up Amish joining the Amish is not the right choice. However, I think that the people who have this idea are right in the sense that they like the Amish and have seen that our society needs more simplicity and less of egoism and consumerism.

    If you want to join the Amish make real sure that you know what you are doing and that you have realistic expectations of what Amish life means. It is not just living without electricity in a real community where everybody knows everybody. You must also share their faith 100%. Learn about anabaptism and the amish life style rules. Make sure that you read several books about the Amish, real fact books, I mean, not novels. Try to get as broad a picture as you can, read critical authors as well.

    Once you feel sure that you have gotten as broad a picture of the Amish you will be closer to being able to make a good decision about this. I also think that many of you will realize that you do not really want to become Amish, but that you do not like the way we live either (and I share this view with you). If you do not want to be Amish but you see something in their life style that you like, consider adopting it. Stay away from uncontrolled consumption of useless things, throw out your TV, adopt simple dress, get yourself a farm and try producing most of what you need or any other action which you see fit. Also, try to influence others to do the same things you do and perhaps the world would be a little more Amish…

    My view is that out the number of people who at one point or another utter the phrase that they want to be Amish, only a very small group will be able to come even close. It is extremely hard for a non-Amish to adopt every aspect of Amish life and faith, and that is what you need to do if you are to be Amish, it is that simple. We can adopt some aspects, some more than others, but only a very very small group can adopt everything.

  12. traci banville

    Amen. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  13. Michael

    Ordinarily I don’t do blogs, but this has been interesting.
    I would like to offer some thoughts.

    First, what we all need is that new life in Christ. That means to find salvation in Christ. (be Born again.) Then your sins will be forgiven, and you will automatically be in the lineup for a greater peace in your life.

    Simplicity of lifestyle, as others have said here, is a good idea. Getting rid of your TV is a good idea. But these things are early stages to a simpler life that really means avoiding [unnecessary] things of the world. Do these things as unto the Lord. If you don’t do these things with pleasing Christ in mind, they are worth much less in your life.

    Now we’ll move on to the key points. Yes, a sudden move to the Amish lifestyle will be a culture shock. What may be helpful to you is to find some Mennonites who dress plainly. (Not the modern ones who have given up what they were supposed to do.)

    There is a relationship between the Amish and Mennonite faiths. And there are SEVERAL varieties of each, from strict horse & buggy, to semi-modern. But they all live a plain (or a plainer) lifestyle, as an effort to stay away from the vanity and uselessness of the world.

    Attend their church services for many months and see what they preach. They are hospitable and will invite you to some meals. Ask THEM what you ought to read, not your librarian. They have a good selection of books for all ages and degrees of learning. Here’s a place to look into their books:
    http://www.rodstaff .com
    You can also see what their children learn in school, and what their emphasis is.

    You would do well to learn their terminology. I’m not enthusiastic about learning Penna Dutch. But all vocations and faiths have some lingo of their own. If you start picking that up, you’ll progress more rapidly. Learn the definitions and how to use the words or phrases.

    •”Anabaptist” faith is what they all come from. Look into that.
    •The Mennonites were there first. Look into who they are named after and why they became a distinct faction of anabaptism.
    •The Amish: Look into who they are named after and why they became a distinct faction of anabaptism, separate from the Mennomnites.
    •Plain, plainness, plain dressing, plain people: learn these concepts and the reasons for them.
    •Learn about their church structure and their annual church calendar. Twice a year they have communion, footwashing, baptism, receive new members, and review their rules for living and worship.
    •Learn their emphasis on the Lord’s Prayer, and it’s guiding influence.

    My personal favorites are the small group called “conservative Mennonites.” This is spelled with a small c. This is a description, not a denominational name. Their emphasis is on living a godly, simple lifestyle. They do have phones, lights, dishwashers and washing machines. But their vehicles and everything they use or do is simpler where they can do it that way. And they generally have plainer colors of vehicles, clothes, and things that we are not to think of as being popular or worldly. They don’t do trends or fads.

    The conservative Mennonites are planting churches here and there throught the West. They come from places like Tenn., Penn., Indiana, and MO. They come farther West to offer you a good church in which to find Christ and learn to please Him. And they bring joy and blessing with them.

    Be prepared to use the King James Bible. (old language) It’s not that hard, and that’s what you will be doing is learning; and they will help you if it is not easy for you at first. So be prepared to learn from the ground up.

    In summary, if you can succeed through a few years of Mennonite church, you can still move on to the Amish. You will probably not feel the need, but if you do, they will be very understanding, because many families have or have had members of both Amish and Mennonite faiths. There is a relationship there. They will just be glad you are remaining anabaptist, and in a plain church. But the important thing is that your life pleases the Lord, and He will give you peace.

  14. Michael

    This is to correct this URL. It had an unintended space in it.

  15. Irene

    I live in the UK, and want to be Amish! we have been to stay with an Amish-Mennonite family in Ireland, and attended their church service. At home we wear plain dress, and most times wear a veil for church, we try to live as near as possible to the Amish way of living. Is there anyone else in the UK wants to be Amish? if so i would love to hear from you. blessings Irene

  16. Yvonne

    Hi Irene,

    I am very interested in becoming Amish. I live in Glasgow. As far as I can tell there is only one Mennonite group in the UK (London) and of course no Amish at all. The more I read about them, the more it makes sense to me. Simple = happy. Not perfect or easy, but I think more fulfilling. I would love to stay with an Amish family and learn more about them.

  17. Celesta

    Are there any Anabaptist churches around western North Carolina?

    1. Celesta there is an Amish church near Union Grove.

  18. Celesta
  19. traci banville

    I read about a doctor in Lancaster,PA. who said that 80% of the prescriptions he writes for anti-anxiety medication are for Amish women. It’s something to think about.

  20. sandie

    I came out of the old order Amish. I was born & raised Amish. If you have any questions you may ask me. I still have my belief but am no longer Amish. Many things they do are not Biblical even though alot of things are.

  21. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Hi Sandie. As a person who came out of the Amish faith, can you speak to which faiths people who leave the Old Order variety tend to join instead of the apparent strictness of the Amish church. Do they tend to attend more liberal Mennonite churches, do they go Catholic, any other groups, or do they tend to go away from organized religion?

  22. Celesta

    What is the Amish belief on alcohol consumption? Is it okay in moderation or not at all? And why?

  23. Hi Celesta, on the alcohol question, try this post:

  24. James

    This website is so encouraging to read. God has been drawing my wife and I to following Jesus so completely in this way. I often have received inspiration and insight from studying the Amish but I long believed I’d have to start out alone because I didn’t think the Amish had outreach. Meaning, sharing Jesus with others is a vital part of following Him. But as I’ve studied them and grown, I see they do have this influence indirectly. Seeing also that it is possible to become a part of them in community helps me feel a lot better also. My wife and I have six children together and we’ve been homeschooling for 11 years now. As we’ve served the Lord, He led us into home fellowshipping instead of institutional church about 5 years ago. Since then, we gotten rid of our televisions and most of our possessions and this has been so freeing. We are in Germany now and hope to join an Amish community once we get back the US. I would love to write an Amish friend if they would be willing.

    Reichensteinstrasse 29
    69151 Neckargemund

    In Him,

  25. Anne

    Dear James,
    What are you doing over here in Germany?
    Homeschooling in Germany? I thought that was impossible…
    I would like to know what church go are going to here in Germany.

  26. Anne

    Aaah, those typos….

    ” I would like to know what church you are going to here in Germany.”

  27. James, glad you enjoy the site. All best in your journey!

  28. James

    Hi Anne, Thank you for writing back. I am a court reporter with the United States. I go to Heidelberg each work day but live in Neckargemund with my family. We home fellowship and so we do not attend a church service. I have visited the Calvary Chapel in Heidelberg a few times. I have been curious about the churches here and I like the fact that Catholic and Protestant worship together in some of the churches. However, we home fellowship. About homeschooling, since I’m a US citizen, I’m allowed to homeschool but we did have to register our children with the US School Liason. I am aware of home schooling going on here in Germany as well. It is illegal to homeschool as a German for reasons of faith but there are ways to do so for other reasons, such as because your job requires frequent travel. There are active lobby efforts going on such as a legal entity and petitions. is a good website to start learning from, and German homeschoolers here also gather together for fellowship and encouragement. Stuttgart is where most of this stuff is going on. There is also a group callled “The 12 Tribes” that way which is the only Chrisitan community life group I know of around here. I have met them and still talk with them and enjoy them greatly.

    Please feel free to ask me more things, Anne, and of course I am curious as to you and your family as well.

    Take care and in Him,
    James –

  29. James


    Thank you for your comments and for having this website available.


  30. Pingback: Richard Stevick on the Pinecraft Pauper, a Florida Amish newspaper « Pinecraft Sarasota
  31. David

    I am 48, a widower, and live near some of the Beachy Amish. They live lives similar to the Amish, but with the comforts of cars and electricity. I have worshipped with them a few times and fine the people very friendly and open. is a great site for anyone considering a move to a simplier life. I am gradually moving toward joining their congregation. Their are many great websites on the people. Amish America, The Budget Newspaper, Pathway Publishers, and many others. Please realize that outsiders interested in joining are met with skepticism because they are so protective of their way of life. They seek to keep their lives simple and focused on God. Once you get to know them, they warm up, just like any other congregation.

  32. Emily D

    I was wondering if you could get me in touch with someone from the New Order Church in North Carolina? I am very interested in joining their church. But I have no idea who to go to (well I know I have to go to the bishop) But I don’t know who that is? and also where is it in NC? I am 15 and I would really love a chance at this lifestyle. Danke! Gott Bless!
    Emily 🙂

  33. Ryan

    Check out this blog by a 16 year old girl who is planning on joining the Amish church in a year. She is friends with an Amish family and goes to church with them. You can ask her questions about the Amish and she may answer in a blog post.

  34. Susan

    Hi there everyone. I have read some amazing things on this site and I just wanted to share that I hope everyone is able to reach the goals and paths that God wants them going down. I know that the Amish are truly amazing in their way of life and I too wanted to try to be a part of that way of life. A life filled with honoring God, family, and Community. Though I know in all reality I would not easily accepted into the church it has not stopped me from following the works and ways our Father has wanted me to go down. I am here in Kentucky and am searching for a somewhat close by church that is conservative in its beliefs and also dresses plain. If anyone can help me that would be great. I have also be gone to change (for the better) my way of dress. I know cover my head and right now only wear long skirts, high cut tops, and shoes. Though I am thinking of looking more into the plain dress style. Now though like many I am at time struggling because my family does not understand as much and I also stand out at my college, but I still feel I am taking the path I am suppose to be down. I have also given up the radio and tv. Are there others near my area following this life? And any other tips out there would help. I love how so many people out there are wanting to live a more whole life…a life without the EXTRAS but instead focusing on what maters. I hope that I hear more from others out there.

    God bless 🙂

  35. Chelsea


    Check out They have a find a church button that you can use to find the nearest conservative Mennonite or Beachy Amish church. There are several churches throughout Kentucky but I am not sure where. Good luck!!

  36. James

    Also, Susan, the Pearls may know of someone. Their website is and my wife and I have benefited 100 fold from their ministry. They also appreciate the Amish

  37. JohnR

    Susan, there are numerous churches in KY that welcome outsiders, including Old Order Amish and Mennonite. What is your general location in KY?

  38. Becky

    Does anyone know of any Amish/Mennonite communities in the Pacific Northwest?

  39. Marvin Mohler

    We recently relocated from central IN to Washington State in the Yakima Valley. For many years we frequently visited northern IN & Holmes Co OH. As far as I know there are no Amish in WA. There is a community in northwestern Montana. We really miss the visits. We Old German Baptist, New Conference.

  40. mairead donnellan

    hi just like 2 say that i enjoyed reading about the amish people and how they live there live,s im from ireland

  41. Mallory

    Hi Erik! I really like reading all of the articles you have on your site concerning the Amish. I have always been fascinated by their culture, and I have dreams of becoming Amish. Can you help me to get in touch with someone that is Amish, or tell me the best way to go about becoming Amish? I have become especially interested with the Old Order Amish during my research. Thanks in advance for your help!

  42. Peter

    Just responding to Eric’s comment: “They should be glad they live in America, a country that protects their religious rights.”

    Many Amish live in Canada, which also protects their religious rights.

    Many people assume because religious freedom was one of the concepts that the nation founded on, that ‘other countries’ do not have religious freedom. A lot has changed in the last 225 years. Nearly all western industrialized countries are now strong democracies and have the same type of rights that exist in the US including religious freedom.

    Religious freedom in the US has not always been as protected as it is today. (eg. The original Mormons were obliged to move to Utah in the 19th century to escape open hostility and harassment from their neighbors. )

  43. Susan

    JohnR sorry I am getting back to your question so late. I live in Central Kentucky near Lexington. Thank you so much for your help.

  44. Rachel

    I have entertained the thought myself in leaving everything behind. To remove the clutter of modern life that consistently obstructs my relationship with God. To work hard and enjoy farm life as I remember it when I was a child. I crave simplicity and believe that less is more. I respect the Amish for staying to their beliefs in God and avoiding the modern pitfalls. They are wise. I don’t know if they would have me but at least my name (first and last) is German so I would blend in more. My surname also graces the name of a Lutheran Church in Penn.

  45. Gail Owens

    Hi there
    I have been drawn to the Armish for over 20 years. I am a devout Christian but feel that I need to get away from the world completely.
    My Question is do you have anyone I could talk to in detail about joining a community. I think the new order would more suitable for us.

    My E-mail is

    Any help/advice would be great!

  46. Gail Owens

    Sorry Forgot to mention that I am based in UK

  47. Jeffrey Gross

    I am a Christian, and the more I see the direction the world is taking, the more I feel at odds with the world. It would seem that the Amish have the right idea. Although to the outsider, it would seem to be far from perfect a lifestyle, I think it’s just the opposite. It’s perfect. A life centered around Jesus Christ, involving honest hard work, little distraction, and no foolish cultural influences.

  48. Gail Owens

    Unfortunately I wouldn’t be allowed to join any anabaptist/plain Church. My Husband was married before and they don’t accept our current marriage.

    I would recommend you go onto
    The Man who runs this site is a convert to Beachy, which most of the Churches speak English and take in converts, they drive cars use electric. The man who runs this site is very helpful and has a list of Churches that accept “outsiders”.
    Sadly I can’t join the Becahy’s either.

  49. Gail Owens

    Why don’t the amish try and seek converts, why don’t they seek to try to save this terrible world.

  50. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    I think it partly has something to with preserving their culture, history and language. It would seem reasonable that they don’t want too many new people in the group because it’s possible that the new people might change things, and remember that certain old order communities are reportedly slow to change. There is a good chance that it’s felt that it is easier to mould an Amish child into the Amish way of doing things than it is a stranger, even though both would be asked to accept the faith at an “age of majority” as some might call it, or a time at life when they are deemed adult and accountable.
    It is not fair to say that there are not Mennonite [lets not forget that the Amish are regarded as a sect of the Mennonites and not necessarily the other way around] churches out there that don’t take new members, there are, and they are probably quite evangelical, and quite modern in their lifestyle choices, but people see the Horse and Carriage variety as the majority when actually they are probably a minority. I’ve bought meat from Mennonites who don’t “look” like Mennonites in my lifetime, and wouldn’t have recognized them as member of that faith if nothing was said of it.
    I hope this doesn’t sound to abrupt or incorrect or judgmental.