What is a Query?
Friends have a tradition of reading "Queries." These probing questions stimulate individuals, leaders, or people in church business meetings to ask themselves how well they are doing. The goal is to stimulate one another to love, good works and Christlike living. A modern term for "Queries" is accountability questions.
These questions are not meant to be passive means of guilt, but moments for us to reflect on our decisions. It is our responsibility to encourage one another to follow Christ and to draw close to Him. If and when these questions reveal how you have missed the mark, consider a time of repentant prayer or perhaps call a close Christian friend who would be willing to listen and pray with you over the matter.
In Christ we have freedom from sin and death, and the way we live it out is through confession (an act of verbally recognizing the wrong we have done), repentance (a humble heart that desires to turn away from the wrong we have confessed), and forgiveness (the act of recognizing that it is only through the work of Jesus on the cross that we are healed and set free from sin, we allow the wrongs to be left at the feet of Jesus and seek to move on from the mistakes made, knowing that renewed life comes only from a relationship with God).
Leadership Accountability Questions
Have we prayerfully listened for the voice of the Good Shepherd, discerned what God was doing and guided our church body where its Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, led us?
Have we served others by doing good? Have we proclaimed the gospel, fulfilling the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment?
Have we obeyed the Scriptures, by giving correction to those who have gone astray?
Have we built unity for important steps of faith, asking for church-wide prayer and congregational feedback?
Have we tried to squelch gossip, and instead encouraged the disgruntled to talk to the right person in the right spirit?
Have we dealt fairly with conflict and tried to bring about biblical reconciliation?
Have we stayed active—personally and corporately—in sharing our faith, making disciples and developing leaders? Have we encouraged all of our people to use their unique spiritual gifts?
Have we faithfully taught the word and truth of God, including those testimonies which we as Friends have been called to uphold?
Individual Accountability Questions
These questions are designed primarily for groups of two or three who meet weekly for accountability, Bible study and prayer. Some were taken from questions used by Neil Cole who in turn adapted them from Charles Swindoll and Howard Hendricks. Others were adapted from "queries" used by Friends for many years. Please note that some emphasize what we should do, while others emphasize what we should not do
Have you verbally shared your faith in Christ this week?
Have you found joy in the Lord through prayer, Bible reading, public worship, and a lifestyle of giving thanks in all circumstances? Were you in worship last Sunday, and faithful in ministry to your church this week?
Have you forgiven everyone who hurt you or disappointed you, seeking to resolve any conflict with love and understanding?
Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face to face? Have you kept away from racist jokes and comments?
Have you avoided emotional or sexual intimacy outside of marriage this week? Have you engaged in lustful attitudes, pornography or sexually explicit communication?
Have you actively nourished your marriage, family and friends in Christ, making your home a pleasant, peaceful place? Have you kept marriage and family in balance with work and career?
Have you given to Christ all you own and all you influence? Have you been completely above reproach in your financial dealings, prompt in paying your debts, careful to live within your income, honoring Christ with tithes and offerings?
Have you succumbed to a bad habit, personal addiction or kept any kind of idol in your heart, such as greed for money? Have you abstained from the use of harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and from the abuse of good things, such as food and medications?
Have you deceived anyone, told half-truths or outright lies this week?
Have you taken a day of rest and restoration this week?
Congregational Accountability Questions
Have we witnessed effectively for Christ through our church's events, programs, retreats, camps, and organized evangelistic efforts? Have we assimilated new believers into our fellowship and helped them grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Have we built loyalty for placing weekly worship as a higher priority than pleasure, youth sports, business or recreation? Have we encouraged our people to worship and serve in one congregation rather than becoming consumers of programs offered by different churches?
Has our congregational life together revealed an intense desire to obey the written and living Word of God?
Have we spent time in silent listening to the Holy Spirit in both personal and corporate worship?
Have we prayed publicly and often for God to send out workers from among us into His harvest fields?
Have we honored and protected those neglected by society—the unborn, poor, prisoners, orphans, widows, abandoned, disabled, disadvantaged, addicted, institutionalized, homeless, hungry? Since we cannot do everything, have we done something?
Have we taught and practiced spiritual disciplines—Bible reading, prayer, fasting, witnessing, service, worship, silence, solitude?
Have we honored our pastors and staff with love and appreciation, making their ministry a joy, not a drudgery?
Have we honored the counsel of our elders and pastors? When we were not in unity, did we find the mind of Christ through discussion and prayer rather than through politicking and voting?
Have we encouraged and built each other up, speaking only what is helpful? Have we resolved conflict effectively by avoiding gossip and encouraging critics to talk with the right person in the right spirit?
Have we encouraged people in the church to use their spiritual gifts and to work together in teams for the cause of Christ?
Have we called for dedication to God of our time, talent and treasure, offering control of our money and our resources to Christ?
Have we prayed for those in authority? Have we encouraged people to vote and to carry out civic responsibilities in the name of Christ?
Have we taught and practiced non-violence? Have we placed the kingdom of God above the kingdom of this world, honoring the convictions of those who are conscientious objectors to war? Have we made every effort to live in peace with everyone, including those who have hurt us or with whom we disagree?
(Reprinted courtesy of Evangelical Friends Church Southwest)