10 Super Difference Between Mennonites and Hutterites

Nov 20, 2023
Difference Between Mennonites and Hutterites

Mennonites and Hutterites: Mennonites, Hutterites, and Anabaptists are all communities that have their roots in Anabaptists. The Hutterites, are a community that is based on Anabaptists and has roots dating back to the 16th-century Radical Reformation. Hutterites wandered in many countries after Jakob Hutter died in 1536. Hutterites almost disappeared in the period between the 18th and 19th centuries. Hutterites settled in North America, where their numbers increased from 400 to 42,000. Hutterites can trace their roots back to the Tyrol Province in Austria, up until the 16th century.

What Are Mennonites? 


Mennonites are a Christian community originating in Anabaptist roots which emerged after Protestant Reformation during the 16th Century. Menno-Simons was an influential Dutch Anabaptist credited with shaping the Mennonite religion.

Mennonites place great value on personal faith, baptism by choice, and discipleship. Mennonites follow Jesus Christ’s teachings that emphasize peace, nonviolence, and community living; furthermore, they emphasize church-state separation. Mennonites have earned themselves an international reputation for non-violence due to their belief in Jesus’ peaceful message of the gospel.

Mennonite communities are extremely varied, comprising an assortment of groups and congregations spanning conservative traditionalists and more modern progressives alike. Mennonites can generally be divided into two distinct camps, those who adhere to simpler lifestyles with emphasis placed on plain clothing; or those who have integrated themselves into mainstream culture.

Mennonite groups can be found across the world, but are most prominently present in North America and Europe. Mennonites engage in many occupations such as farming, business, healthcare, and education – in addition to taking part in community projects, charitable efforts, and humanitarian work.

Mennonite societies place great value on education – both formal and informal – both within formal educational environments as well as informal settings. Mennonite colleges, universities, and schools can be found worldwide offering academic and vocational programs.

Mennonites strive to live out their faith by serving others, upholding justice and peace, and making a difference both locally and worldwide.

A brief overview of Hutterites


Hutterites are a Christian group with roots dating back to the Radical Reformation movement of 16th-century Europe. Named for prominent leader Jacob Hutter who helped establish this movement, its history dates back centuries ago.

Hutterites and Mennonites both belong to a broad anabaptist movement; however, Hutterites stand out with their unique beliefs and practices that differentiate them. Hutterite groups are widely recognized for their communal lifestyle in colonies where possessions are shared based upon Christian principles described in Acts.

Hutterite communities are tightly-knit communities with a strong sense of interdependence. Decision-making takes place collectively within colonies; consensus-building plays an integral part in making decisions.

Hutterites are well known for their simplicity, non-resistance and humility. Hutterite communities emphasize their independence from society while adhering to unique cultural practices and traditions.

Hutterite education emphasizes vocational and practical instruction. Basic education is provided within colonies while higher education tends to be limited – instead, the focus lies on giving members skills that enable them to be self-reliant.

Hutterite groups can be found worldwide, with Canada and the US having large populations. Hutterites typically support themselves by working in agriculture – including farming, livestock husbandry, and other related agricultural activities.

Hutterites are well known for their strong work ethic and resourcefulness. Hutterite communities strive to maintain their distinctive religious and cultural identities while simultaneously striving for harmony with neighbors and local communities.

What is the Importance of understanding the differences between the two groups?

Understanding the differences between Mennonites and Hutterites can bring many advantages.

Understanding the differences among groups helps us appreciate their cultural values and traditions, and fosters diversity while increasing mutual respect among cultures.

Mennonites, like Hutterites, are diverse communities that incorporate various practices. By understanding their individualities and similarities we can avoid making broad assumptions or generalizations about their lifestyles, beliefs, or characteristics that lead to inaccurate depictions of these groups.

Religion Awareness, Assessing the differences among Mennonites, Hutterites, and other Anabaptists can give us a better grasp of their respective Anabaptist movements and forms. Doing this allows us to better comprehend Christian faith diversity while encouraging dialogue across faiths.

Promoting Dialogue and Relationships, Understanding the differences among Mennonites, Hutterites, and other groups facilitates conversations and interaction among these communities, building bridges while fostering dialogue based on accurate and up-to-date information. This aids in building lasting bridges of dialogue.

Avoiding Prejudice and Stereotypes, Stereotypes, misconceptions, and prejudice are all factors that contribute to discrimination and prejudice. Learning more about differences helps break down stereotypes while decreasing the chances of bias due to limited knowledge.

Mennonites and Hutterites have made enormous contributions to society and history, playing significant roles in agriculture, education, social services, and more. By understanding their differences, we can appreciate their impactful presence within local communities and societies alike.

Understanding diverse cultural and religious groups is vital in creating an inclusive environment that supports diversity while celebrating each individual’s freedoms and rights. Mennonites, Hutterites, and other religious groups need to come together in harmony in order to foster this environment of mutual respect and tolerance for one another.

Understanding cultural differences among Mennonites, Hutterites, and other groups can promote awareness of culture, respect for others, and a more inclusive society.

Table Difference

Mennonites Hutterites
1. Emphasis on individual faith and personal decision Emphasis on communal living and shared possessions
2. Congregational autonomy and individual freedom Communal decision-making and shared responsibilities
3. Diverse lifestyles and occupational choices Focus on agricultural-based communal lifestyle
4. Various levels of integration with society Limited engagement with the outside world
5. Education includes formal schooling and lifelong Focus on practical skills and vocational training
6. A broad range of attitudes toward technology A cautious approach to technology use
7. Active engagement in social justice and humanitarian Focus on maintaining the communal identity and way of life
8. Interfaith dialogue and ecumenical relationships Limited interaction with external religious and social groups
9. Peace and nonviolence as core principles Nonresistance and rejection of personal property
10. Varied beliefs and practices within different branches Emphasis on adherence to biblical teachings and regulations

Historical Background of “Mennonites and Hutterites”

Below is a brief history of Mennonites and Hutterites in North America.


The Mennonite Movement emerged during Europe’s Protestant Reformation during the 16th century and is named for Menno Sims who converted from Catholicism and later became an Anabaptist priest. Mennonites and Anabaptists both advocated adult baptism based on personal faith as part of a decision to follow Christ.

Mennonites were often persecuted and opposed by both Catholic and Protestant authorities due to their refusal of infant baptism and pacifist ideologies, insisting upon religious freedom while insisting upon that right – finding some tolerance of religion only in the Netherlands.

Mennonite settlements grew throughout Europe before relocating to North America during the 17th-18th centuries. Mennonites eventually established communities in Pennsylvania, Ontario and Kansas – setting down roots across these three states. Over time, however, Mennonites experienced multiple divisions which resulted in different branches developing unique practices and beliefs.


Hutterites first surfaced as part of the Radical Reformation during the 16th Century. Jacob Hutter played a pivotal role in their establishment; Hutter and his Hutterian Brethren followers stressed communal living and shared possessions, believing these to be key components of early Christianity.

Hutterites were subjected to severe persecution for their communal lifestyle and religious beliefs, eventually fleeing into Moravia to form self-sustaining farming communities called colonies.

Hutterites were subjected to increased persecution in the 18th Century and, due to this persecution, fled first for Russia and then North America where most Hutterites are currently located, mostly rural communities where they maintain their communal lifestyles.

Mennonites and Hutterites share a long history that encompasses migrations, divisions and adaption to social and cultural shifts. These histories shed light on the collective challenges, resilience and unique religious and community practices that distinguish each group today.

Beliefs and Theology

Mennonites and Hutterites share similar beliefs and theology, so here is a brief outline of their individual groups’ ideologies:


Anabaptist principles, Mennonites can trace their roots back to Anabaptists, who emphasized voluntary adult baptism. Mennonites follow principles such as discipleship, nonconformity, and community living.

Mennonites are strongly committed to nonviolence and peace. According to them, Jesus taught that violence should be avoided while peace should be pursued. Mennonites tend to avoid military service and prefer peaceful solutions to conflicts.

Mennonites value individual freedom of conscience and congregational autonomy. Decisions are reached via consensus decision-making. Mennonites also allow various interpretations within their community and value individual liberties of conscience as part of lifelong learning.

Mennonites emphasize the significance of living a Christian lifestyle and being disciples. Mennonites demonstrate their faith by serving others, being simple in lifestyle and hospitality, and practicing ethics – these activities contribute significantly to Mennonite communities and social justice projects.


Hutterite Theology, gemeinschaft Living and Shared Property. Hutterite doctrine centers around communal living; its origins can be found in early Christianity which held all things as common property (Acts 2:14-45). Hutterite colonial communities feature members living together while sharing resources and working.

Hutterites follow strictly biblical teachings and community regulations, placing great importance on adhering to Bible doctrines as their ultimate authority and striving to follow its teachings.

Hutterites share many characteristics with Mennonites in that they advocate nonresistance, pacifism and forgoing personal property ownership. Hutterites denounce violence, military service, and ownership of personal assets – sharing possessions including money communally while taking collective decisions regarding use and distribution.

Mennonite or Hutterite beliefs and practices may vary, as their theological differences range from conservative interpretations to progressive ones.

Lifestyle and Community Structure

Mennonites’ and Hutterites’ lifestyles and communities reflect their distinct beliefs and values, with this providing an overview of these lifestyles and communities that they lead.


Mennonites have differing levels of assimilation depending on their branch of religion and geographical location. Some Mennonite communities maintain separate and traditional lifestyles while others have adopted modern practices and are involved in various occupations.

Mennonites pursue many professions and occupations, such as farming, business, and healthcare. Mennonites choose occupations that demonstrate their commitment to community service, social justice, and sustainable development.

Congregational Organization & Church Community, Mennonite communities are organized into congregations of different sizes and structures, each having autonomy over its decisions, under Mennonite governance. The church community plays an integral role in providing mutual support, spiritual care, and fellowship.


Colonies – Colonies are central to Hutterite life, where members live in self-sustaining agricultural colonies where all possessions and resources are shared and all members take on responsibility for maintaining them.

Hutterites are a community that makes decisions collectively through communal consensus. Major decisions like purchasing land or starting a business fall to all members of their colony to decide upon collectively; any resources managed by them become communal properties.

Hutterites place great emphasis on self-sufficiency and agriculture. Agriculture serves as an important source of food and income for their community; to meet its needs they engage in various agricultural pursuits including livestock farming. Each colony cherishes self-reliance while striving to meet all its requirements.

Mennonites, like Hutterites, place great value on community and members’ well-being. Hutterites tend to live more communal lives and emphasize interdependence.

Education and Technology

Mennonites and Hutterites take different approaches to education and technology use. Here is an overview of their perspectives.


Mennonite Communities place great emphasis on education. Both formal and informal learning is encouraged within Mennonite communities worldwide, through colleges, schools and universities providing an education that incorporates academics with morals while emphasizing peace, justice, service and compassion as core values.

Mennonites place great value on both vocational and practical education in addition to traditional formal education. Mennonites believe in cultivating skills that will enable individuals to remain self-reliant while contributing to society, with programs covering agricultural skills, craftsmanship, business management and healthcare being provided as vocational training programs.

Mennonite communities take differing views toward technology. While some embrace it for business, communication, and education purposes; more conservative communities limit technology usage to maintain their simpler way of living or avoid negative influences.


Education within Hutterite societies focuses heavily on practical training and skills development. Although basic education is offered in colonies, higher-education opportunities remain limited. Priority is given to providing members with skills necessary for independence such as farming, carpentry and mechanics.

Hutterite Communities tend to take a more conservative approach with technology than mainstream communities, carefully considering and managing it within each colony in order to preserve their way of living while minimizing external influences. While certain technologies may be necessary for communication or agricultural needs, many intentional efforts are made in maintaining an uncomplicated, traditional lifestyle.

Attitudes towards technology and education among Mennonite or Hutterite communities vary significantly. Factors like assimilation level, branch membership and personal preferences all play a part in shaping practices and attitudes within each group.

Engagement with the Outside World

Mennonites, similar to Hutterites, engage with society on various levels. Here is an overview of this interaction between them and society.


Communities have undergone various degrees of assimilation and integration into the larger society. Mennonites actively take part in their local communities as well as civic and social activities; career and education opportunities exist beyond their immediate circle; while adopting mainstream values while keeping true to core beliefs and values.

Mennonites are well known for their strong commitment to social justice. Mennonite groups and organizations regularly collaborate with non-Mennonite groups in projects designed to foster peace, community development, and poverty reduction, disaster relief efforts as well as promote peace education and disaster preparedness. Mennonite individuals and organizations also often collaborate with non-Mennonite groups in tackling social issues that arise and bring positive change.

Mennonites are dedicated to interfaith relations and dialogue. They actively seek out opportunities to collaborate on worship services, share worship resources and foster mutual understanding between religious groups. Furthermore, Mennonites actively take part in interfaith efforts promoting justice, peace and religious freedom.


Hutterite Communities Prioritize Community Life and Interpersonal Relationships. Emphasis is placed on upholding their unique lifestyle while remaining independent from outside influences; Hutterite colonial communities make decisions collectively while sharing resources among themselves.

Hutterite Communities often limit their interactions with society to preserve their identity while limiting external influences, although some interactions are necessary due to business, agriculture, and government interactions.

Hutterites play an active role in their local economies even while remaining relatively separate from them. Hutterite colonial farms and livestock can be an avenue of interaction with nearby farmers, markets, and suppliers, contributing significantly to local economies and communities.

Mennonite communities and Hutterite colonies vary significantly in terms of the level of involvement; practices and methods depend on factors like geography, culture, beliefs and priorities of specific colonies or groups.


Though Mennonites and Hutterites are both part of the larger Anabaptist tradition and share a number of theological beliefs, they are characterized by distinct historical roots and social structures as well as practices of living. Mennonites are recognized for their peaceful beliefs and diverse ways of life and practices, have a more distinct lifestyle as opposed to the close-knit and community-based Hutterite colonies. The Anabaptist culture is full of diversity and knowing the distinct differences between these two communities lets us be aware of the unique weaving of traditions and faith that have been woven through the ages.