Mennonites are a relatively small group of committed believers in Jesus Christ. Many people think “Mennonite” and “Amish” are interchangeable terms, but this isn't the case. Both groups come from a tradition called Anabaptism (meaning to be re-baptized), and they have some things in common, but also many differences. Read more about the differences here. Certainly, if you arrive at Houston Mennonite looking for a place to tie up your buggy, you will be disappointed!
Many times we think there are only two choices or options when actually there is a third or alternate way between two choices. Mennonites and Anabaptists are somewhere between Catholic and Protestant on many theology issues – a third way.
Anabaptists hold many common core beliefs and value our history as a people of God. Our beliefs in God and Jesus Christ link us with other Christian denominations. However, Anabaptists try to live out God’s call in some ways that are distinct. Worshipping as a community of believers and studying the Bible to listen to what God is saying to the church today are very important to us.
We also believe that the church is called by God to share the good news of Jesus in word and deed, showing others a glimpse of what life is like under God’s care.
Central to Mennonite teachings is the belief in Jesus Christ as the model for life. Mennonites believe Jesus died and rose from the dead so that people can live in union with God. In relating to each other and the world in the same loving, forgiving way that Jesus practiced, we strive to continue the ministry Christ began.
We try to live in simple obedience to the Word of God. God’s spirit helps the community of believers understand that Word. The life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible help in interpreting the meaning of the “Old Testament” part of the Bible.
We practice “believer’s baptism” to symbolize the decision of an adult to make a public commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Mennonites try to follow Jesus’ call to the church to bring good news to all people. We are concerned with both the spiritual and physical needs of the world.
Essential to Mennonites is the strength of community. We gather together for encouragement and growth, and we help each other in times of crisis.
For Mennonites, following Christ means loving the enemy and refusing to use violence, focusing on active peace-making instead. Many of us conscientiously refuse to participate in military service. We strive to live peaceably with others at all levels. We humbly serve the poor and needy, and take risks to work actively for justice and mercy.
The best site we know of to learn more about Mennonites in general is the Third Way. Or feel free to contact us with your questions.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the name? Mennonites were named after Menno Simons, an early leader during the Reformation.
Calvin and Hobbes © Bill Watterson