Now that the trip is over, what happened? Was it worth it? A deliberate debriefing and re-entry plan are essential in capturing the lessons learned. The difference between attending an event and having an enriching experience is careful analysis of what happened. In addition, some teams may have some relationship damage that needs to be repaired and others may need help re-engaging back into their new “normal” life at home.
Below are some helpful questions that we use to help teams to reflect on what happened.
- In the new culture, what is something that the local people do differently that you really appreciated and even may try to adapt at home?
- What is something that you learned about their culture that is most different from your own?
- What is something that you learned about God because of the trip?
- What is a new skill that you learned or recognized in yourself?
- What is something that you did that disappoints you?
- What happened that created the most emotion in you?
- What was your most enjoyable experience in that culture?
- What is a statement that was made about you that was most impacting?
- What was your most distasteful experience?
- What reactions did you had that were “just not you”?
- How has your devotional life changed?
On a Scale of 1-5 with “1” being “It was ugly” and “5” being “It was beautiful,” rate the following. Circle the number that represents how you handled team relationships.
1 2 3 4 5 Your contribution to the team’s mission
1 2 3 4 5 Your contribution to the team’s unity
1 2 3 4 5 What your team leader probably thinks about your overall contribution to the ministry
1 2 3 4 5 What your team leader probably thinks about your support of his or her leadership
1 2 3 4 5 What you said during team meetings to encourage others and support the team
1 2 3 4 5 What you said to team members privately about team members or the leader
1 2 3 4 5 What you did to serve other team members
1 2 3 4 5 Your response when you didn’t get your way
1 2 3 4 5 The likelihood of staying connected with each person after the trip
Action Plans Related to the Team:
- Is there an apology that you need to make to someone on the team or the team leader?
- Is there some word of gratitude that you need to make to someone on the team or the team leader?
- Is there some word of encouragement that you need to make to someone on the team or the team leader?
- Is there some word of correction that you need to make to someone on the team or the team leader?
- Is there anything else that you need to say to the team or a specific team member?
The Project and the Field Leadership
- Was the project strategic? Did it really have an impact?
- Was the field leadership well prepared before the trip and active during the project?
- How could the project be improved to have more ministry impact?
- What could be done differently to help things go smoother logistically?
- What do you wish was communicated before the trip that wasn’t?
- Would you recommend a similar project with similar field leadership next time? Why or why not?
- Is there anything that you need to do to thank or encourage the field leadership? Anything to apologize for?
Finally, we ask those who are returning from short-term trips to engage in ministry to the nations at home. For some it might be with international students, refugees, ethnic ministry, missionary support, prayer groups for the nations, mobilizing others to go, or preparation to return to the field in long-term. Help team members to use the momentum from the short-term project to get more involved in ministry to the nations at home or on another project.
This concludes the thirteen posts on “Preparing for a Short-Term Mission Trip.” Please comment to add your insights or suggestions to what I’ve already listed.
Other posts in this series: