Donald Trump has been labeled a “disruptor.” Political scientists will tell you that over the course of American history, certain presidents have played this role. Among others were Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson. They were characterized by a demeanor and an agenda meant to upset the status quo.

Jesus Was the Ultimate Disruptor.

His words for the religious class were direct and stinging. They appeared harsh and unloving, but He knew self righteousness and spiritual contentment could only be arrested by explosive challenges strong enough to blast them out of their spiritual rut (a rut was defined by Vance Havener as a grave with the ends kicked out).

Jesus used similar words when addressing the church at Laodicea: “ So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” To use a more common idiom, “You make me want to throw up!”

John Wesley Preaching (portrait by William Hamilton)

Recently, a small group leader sought my counsel on how to move a group out of their spiritual rut. Into my mind dropped the word, “disruptor.” It was the first time I had thought of how this political term described not just what a group needs, but also what the Church in the West as a whole needs. In response to that leader’s question, I asked if she had ever heard of John Wesley’s “Twenty-two Questions,” or his five small-group questions.

Of the two leaders of the Great Evangelical Awakening in England, George Whitefield was the superior preacher, but John Wesley was brilliant in organizing the movement and disciplining its converts in “class meetings.” These small groups helped sustain the revival fire by providing community and accountability for its adherents. For the sake of brevity, I will share the five questions. You can Google the twenty-two questions at your leisure.

Wesley’s Five Questions for Small Groups:

  1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
  2. What temptations have you met with?
  3. How were you delivered?
  4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
  5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?

The twenty-two questions are equally searching. I suggested that asking these questions and requiring all to share might provide the disruption the group needed.

How about you? How would you answer those questions? If those do not scrape the barnacles off you, try the twenty-two questions.

We are in a season in the Church in which we need disruption. Hope at the Crossroads conference will be this kind of disruptor. It can be painful, but we need this desperately if we are going to witness an awakening in our time.