What are Amish ordinations?


Are you familiar with Amish ordinations? An ordination is a service where a new minister, deacon, or bishop is ordained.

We have several examples in the New Testament of ways they ordained a church leader. We follow the example they used in Acts to ordain Matthias.

The weeks before the ordination are a time of spending time with God in prayer and seeking His guidance and will. There are also special topics the day before, as well as the day of, the ordination that pertain to the role of a minister, deacon, or bishop, depending on what the ordination will be for. In most Amish churches you’ll find four ordained leaders working together, leading out. These brothers spend many hours talking and praying behind the scenes, then sharing with the church what they have found. Many times, there are discussions among the brethren before a final decision is made. No one is forced to be a member, we voluntarily choose to help build the church together and serve where we can.

It’s been 15 years since our last ordination which is when Daniel’s brother John was ordained deacon. The deacon serves as one who is specifically called to be on the look out for needs to be met and take care of the church money, as well as help make decisions, and take their turn preaching.

Tomorrow we’ll be ordaining a minister. The minister plays a vital role in preaching, making decisions, and helping lead out in the church.

Ordinations are not a time of campaigning, however on the day of the ordination they privately take votes from all lay members of the church of who each person has on their hearts that may be the one God is calling. The brothers in church that have four or more votes are then in what we call the lot. The number of people in the lot will be matched with the number of books that are to be used.

Each brother in the lot then picks out a book from the row that has been placed upfront, each with a rubber band placed around it. There are some intense moments as every person in the room waits expectantly, knowing that God himself will choose the new minister. When they take their seats in front, their wife is seated next to them. The bishop will then open the books, one at a time, one of which will be found the paper with the calling of the minister. This brother is then asked to stand, and the bishop will place his hand on the man’s head and read the paper and commission him with the calling at hand.

After he’s been ordained the church people take turns go up to greet the newly ordained couple and show their support.

You know what? Our waiting period for the ordination is coming to a close. Our overnight guests, who are here for tomorrow’s ordination, are coming anytime. Hopefully, by tomorrow night, I’ll have an update to let you know how things turned out.

Our children have never been to an ordination before so this is all new to them. While being a minister is not a coveted undertaking, Daniel would tell his children he’s willing to do whatever God has for him. Now that God has called Daniel home there has been a shift, we miss him during times as these, still we know that God does all things well, so it really is okay.

It happened. Wow, what a day! There were two men in the lot. You may remember hearing me talk about my cousin Josh and his wife who spent time talking and praying with me every week since Daniel went to heaven. Josh was the one who drew the book with the paper and now received the calling of a minister. They have an interesting life with five children, farm animals, fish to sell, and Josh and his oldest son working at Vernon’s sawmill. While we do not pay our ministers a salary, it is our goal to be there to show our support, by helping them as needed.

The children were quite intrigued with the thought of having Josh get up to preach. When we stopped by their house little Joshua giggled, saying, “We are going to the preacher’s house!”

Their lives will be changing with their new calling, still it will be okay. In Josh’s calm demeanor he had expressed himself the evening before the ordination when he said,“I told God a long time ago that he can do with my life what he wants, so it’s up to him.”

Their hearts to serve without thinking of themselves has blessed me many times. Josh’s wife Joyce has made supper for us numerous times when we went to their house for the evening. Joyce made these drop doughnuts a while ago, they were a hit right off the bat for all of us. They taste much like the regular homemade doughnuts, but are a fraction of the work.

Drop Doughnuts

½ cup mashed potatoes

¼ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 ½ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl combine first five ingredients. Next mix together all dry ingredients then stir into potato mixture. Drop by tablespoons in hot lard, and deep fry in hot oil or lard for a few minutes or until golden brown. When done roll in powdered sugar. Best served warm.

The Amish Cook is a weekly column distributed to AIM Media publications.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

No posts to display