What’s a Mennonite?

by Kristin Troyer – Horizon Staff

Hesston is a Mennonite college, but that doesn’t mean every student identifies with the Mennonite faith. In fact, Brent Yoder, Vice President of Academics, confirmed that last fall only 33% of students were Mennonite, and numbers this fall will likely be similar. That means there’s a very large portion of students who might not understand what being Mennonite really means.

No, not every meal is a potluck; Mennonites know more songs than what you find in the Hymnal Worship Book, and really, how many Amish buggies have you seen around campus these first few weeks?

Delicious food and four-part harmony might be a big part of who the American Mennonites are, but there’s a deeper meaning to really, truly being Mennonite. As Christians, they love Jesus, confess him as their Savior, and recognize him as the head of the church. So what makes Mennonites different than other denominations? Mennonite Church USA’s website lists these main points to understand the Mennonite or Anabaptist perspective on their commitment to following Jesus Christ here in the United States:

  • “Following Jesus in daily life is a central value. We believe that it is possible to follow Jesus as Lord above nationalism, racism, or materialism.
  • We believe that it is possible to follow Jesus as a peacemaker. We believe that we can practice the way of Jesus’ reconciling love in human conflicts and warfare, without having to strike out in fear to defend ourselves.
  • We believe that we can live life simply and in service to others as a witness to God’s love for the world.”

    MC USA
    Logo courtesy of MCUSA

If you’re still curious about what it means to be Mennonite, check out Mennonite Church USA’s website: Mennoniteusa.org or there are copies of the book Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective and other Anabaptist materials online or in the Mary Miller Library.

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