We have gotten many emails asking us about the Mennonites and how one can find and join a Mennonite church. We decided to make a video covering various topics about the Mennonites... both good and not so good, so those seeking can make an informed decision as they are searching for a group to join.
We want to be honest about some of the problems that come along with our culture, to better give an idea of some challenges one might face when joining one of our groups. However, we personally feel the Mennonite / Anabaptist way of life has much to offer, and in this video we try to cover everything we could think of to help you make a decision if this lifestyle is for you.
I won't be blogging about everything covered in the video, so you'll need to watch it for all the information, however we did want to have the resources linked here on the blog, to help you try and find a church near you if possible. I will continue updating this list as I discover more resources.
As we mentioned in the video, the scope of Mennonite churches vary so very much when it comes to outward applications, (theology is very similar across the board) that it is almost impossible to describe all the variations, and I honestly only know a fraction of the groups representing conservative Mennonites. So as of now I don't have as many resources for different groups as I would like... but we will start with what we have.
Joining a Mennonite church that is not as conservative would usually be a much easier adjustment in lifestyle for those that didn't grow up in our circles. I'm thinking churches where the ladies wear skirts and blouse instead of needing to sewing their own dresses, and wear head scarfs or veils instead of a cap style covering (those are hard to get to fit properly and to care for.) These church's applications are not as stringent as those on the very conservative end of the spectrum. One such church is called Biblical Mennonite Alliance and if I get more info on other similar churches, I will add the links below.
I would definitely recommend searching out a church such as this if you can find one near you. There is a map locator on their website.
If you don't see a church in your area (whether you are in the States or in another country) Destinations International is the mission out reach of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance Churches. Other churches are also apart of the mission effort and if there is an interest or need in a certain area, there may be families willing to go serve in the area. Destinations International will provide training and then send a few families to that area to represent the Anabaptist faith. So if you are interested in having a group near you, you can try by reaching out to Destinations International to see if it would be a possibility.
Moving on to more conservative Mennonite churches, there is an incredible source to locate a church near you on the Pilgrim Mennonite website. It's one of the best websites out there that I have found with various resources all in one place including a very helpful map of conservative Mennonite groups worldwide.
However, it's very important to keep in mind that all the churches on this map vary greatly, and most would fall under very conservative to relatively conservative groups. It's not that conservative is wrong... (my husband and I would fall in this category,) however as we mentioned in the videos, there are some problems that can come with extreme conservatism that isn't preferable.
When I have a little more time, I will go through the map and point out which church groups we would recommend checking out and why. As they vary extremely muchly (: But for now I'm just getting the links out so it's available when my video goes live.
Lastly, there is one more group I do not wish to leave out. I would say they are distinctly different than other conservative Mennonite groups. The Church of God in Christ Mennonite
or otherwise known as Holdeman Mennonites, is a group separate from other Mennonite groups. They have many churches in the States as well as in other countries as well.
I have many friends and relatives that are apart of this church, (including my own brother) and I have much respect for them. Every congregation I've visited is extremely friendly, welcoming, and hospitable. Definitely a church I would recommend checking out.
Just a few things to note on the differences. Many of their ancestors originated from Russia whereas most of the other groups I've mentioned have German/Swiss origin. They have separated themselves from other Mennonite groups because they believe they are the One True Church. (this teaching seems to not be nearly as prominent as it used to be in past generations as I've seen more and more interaction between the groups, but it is one thing to note as it has caused feelings with other conservative groups and in that way.. their group is distinctly it's own branch of Mennonites. Other Mennonite groups intermingle with each other whereas not so much with the Holdeman church). I have many friends and relatives in the church and I don't get that from them... I know there are many within the church that do not hold to this belief, but it is because of this that the church is separate from other Mennonite churches.
They have a few other different theological beliefs that make them different, but I won't jump into that here. I like their churches and they have much to offer. They are not as conservative in dress in comparison to other groups, but are more conservative when it comes to technology. (photos for anything excepting business is discouraged - they don't have recorded music - and internet use is limited to my knowledge).
I think they are a great group of people, but they are different in some ways to other Mennonite groups. Just wanted to point that out.