Post-trip debriefing makes the difference between the trip being a life-changing experience, or a mere memory (whether good or bad). Debriefing seeks to help short-termers to:
- Process what they saw and learned while on the field
- Decide what next steps are best for continuing their participation in God’s global mission
- Give feedback as to how future trips should be run, what mission agencies are good and poor future partners, etc.
Short-term debriefing specialists agree with the above key goals for debriefing, but vary in how and where debriefing should occur:
- In the country of service or back home
- Written or verbal
- Individual or group
- Duration of debriefing
Here’s a list of ten solid questions to use in debriefing short-termers, adapted from questions from Tim Dearborn and David Livermore:
1. What did I learn about myself on my short-term mission?
2. What did I learn about God?
3. What did I learn about the people, the church, and the Christian community in the area where I served?
4. What did I learn about how culture impacts the ways people live and understand the Gospel?
5. What did I learn about justice, economics, poverty, and politics during my short-term mission?
6. As a follower of Christ, what did I learn that can help me be a more fully devoted disciple?
7.How might my faith be different if I had grown up where I was serving, as opposed to in my home community?
8. What did I learn or experience that will change the way I live and represent Jesus in my home community and church?
9. What have I learned about my own Christian calling?
10. How can I continue to support the ongoing work in the area where I served?
A qualified leader who has substantial short-term missions experience and has successfully mentored returning short-termers should lead debriefing ideally.
Most churches that have sent short-termers will ask for a report when they return.
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