Beatles or Stones?
Earlier this year I asked this question on Facebook and got around 200 comments. I love the question. It tells me so much about a person and their musical taste and preferences.
Good questions tell us so much more than a simple answer.
I wrote a piece on Why I became a Methodist. In the article, I mentioned one of the primary decision points being my belief in the effectiveness and necessity of Wesleyan discipleship.
Part of historic discipleship and formation (growing closer to Christ) in the Methodist tradition is the act of asking questions. We ask them to ourselves in our own personal devotion. We ask them to others we are in accountability with. This was important in the Methodist movement and I feel a recovery of the asking of questions will be a key thing to any spiritual development in our world now.
A little history…
Wesley organized his folks (you couldn’t really call them a formal church yet) into 3 groups. From largest to smallest; the Societies, The Classes and The Bands. Part of the fundamental design of the two smallest (classes and bands) was a series of questions designed to keep each person in forward motion towards Jesus Christ. The Class met as a mixed group of sexes and ages. When they met, these questions formed the main conversation points. They got SERIOUS!
When the Bands met, the questions got even more in depth. They also centered on this small group (usually no more than 5-6 and same sex) really keeping each other on track. You gave the others the permission to get into your business.
Our life now
These questions matter. They help us to be real and honest with each other. One of the best small group experiences I have ever had focused on asking a few of these questions every week. This isn’t casual discipleship. It is changing and transformational discipleship. It is the kind of spiritual relationships each Christian needs to have in their life.
Several groups have done a great job trying to incorporate these classic notions of discipleship into current life. Most of them are going really well. What I really appreciate are the attempts to quickly get the emotive qualities of these HUGE lists into a few simple questions. You can answer them openly, in front of people you know and don’t know. You can be asked them by people who know you really well. The most important quality is these questions are approachable. It is frightening allowing others into what most modern Christians consider to be pretty private. Here is a listing of the ones I have found, liked and used.
1. Are you growing closer or further away from God since the last time we met?
2. How do you see God moving in your life right now?
3. How is your life in God?
Lately, I have a new one I have been thinking about, asking myself and asking others. It comes from my own personal conviction and values.
How have you allowed God to change you lately?
This question tells much more than a simple yes or no. In my own examination it causes me to think about my openness to Christ, my expectation of his presence and activity, how my false self is being broken down, etc, etc. It is great and broad.
Self-examination has long been part of Christian tradition. It helps us to make the points in which we have grown closer to God, progressed in our sanctification, won victory over things controlling us or simply mark our maturation in Christ.
So friends, How have you allowed God to change you lately?