Jump to navigation Jump to search

This former Dutch Mennonite term proefdienaar was used in two different senses: (a) When a mem­ber of a congregation was chosen as preacher or deacon he was frequently "beproeft" (examined) by the elder(s) who were present concerning his views on the basic principles and doctrines of the church, and asked whether he was willing to ac­cept the call. If the examination was satisfactory, he was called a "proefdienaar" and after a longer or shorter interval he preached his installation sermon. This practice existed, for example, on the island of Ameland until the middle of the 19th century. (b) In a somewhat different sense the word is found in the congrega­tion of Leiden and other Dutch congregations, where a chosen candidate had to "in de proeve staan," that is, he was obliged to deliver two or three or even more sermons to show his capacities in speaking and expounding the Scriptures, and was during this period called a "proefdienaar."


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1889): 28-30.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Proefdienaar." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 6 Apr 2020.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Proefdienaar. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 April 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 221. All rights reserved.

©1996-2020 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.