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Debriefing those we love most

William Wilkie asks: Why don’t we debrief college students periodically? Should we conduct periodic debriefing for children? When should the Body of Christ debrief members? It’s incredible to me that we Jesus-followers have such an atrocious failure rate with our college students. So man…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

William Wilkie asks:
Why don’t we debrief college students periodically?
Should we conduct periodic debriefing for children?
When should the Body of Christ debrief members?

It’s incredible to me that we Jesus-followers have such an atrocious failure rate with our college students. So many of them give up on the faith we’ve handed to them during their college years. We as a church are failing in our most precious stewardship. College students are making life-changing decisions without any debriefing from us.

I’m interested in your thoughts as to what we should do.

Comments (2)

  • Despite what some conservative evangelicals think about this subject, college students do not need their parents pretending that they know more than their professors about humanism, evolution, or the origin of life. And even if you do, that attitude will not win you a lot of props with a child who is no longer directly under your authority. I’ve seen some concerned parents fall off the deep end into religious self-righteousness and downright militancy in an effort to save their young ones’ souls. As simple as it sounds, all they really want is for someone to listen. They’re learning so much at this age, with their eyes and minds being opened to all kinds of different ways of seeing and thinking. (News flash, parents: This is not all bad!) It may not hurt to actually hear what they have to say and maybe learn a thing or two. At the same time, be aware that most likely if at a secular school (though Christian colleges are no longer safehouses, so be warned), they are being immersed into a human-centered worldview where faith has little relevance and evangelicalism is the least scholarly of religions. Concerning this phenomenon of so many studnets losing their faith, I am not so sure I saw that. What I did see were a lot of people like me who grew up in spiritually ambiguous households and were searching, unsure of what to believe. I saw a lot of my peers “lose” their faith in college, because their parents never took the time to invest in them and wean them off of the Sunday school, “feltboard” theology (as one of my friends calls it, i.e. spiritual milk). Many “lost” something they never really had. I went to school in the so-called Bible Belt, where many teachers made it their personal crusade to open up these narrow-minded conservatives to “reality.” The truth is they were just as astonished to hear from me or my friends that Jesus is the only way to heaven as they were to hear that Buddha had disciples too. I do not deny that it might be good to instruct your children on the places where science and the Bible do in fact meet, but at this crucial time in your children’s lives, do not become their enemy. While raising them, give them the tools to fight the lies of the Enemy and once they step into that battlefield, stay in touch with them, ask hard questions, and challenge them to be different (so much of high school, college, and maybe just pop culture in general is based on being like everybody else.) You do not have to be their best friend, but do not be an outsider. And don’t make them one, either. Be your child’s advocate.

  • Jeff, I agree with several comments:
    1. They really want someone to listen.
    2. They are learning so much at this age.
    3. Christian colleges are no longer safe (if they ever were).
    4. Parents did not invest in their kids.
    5. Many students loose something they never had.
    6. Do not become your child’s enemy.
    7. Give your children the right tools
    8. Challenge them to be distinctive.
    9. Be their advocate ‘with the Father.’

    Given all of these points of agreement, I am not sure what your point is regarding debriefing. If I understand what Seth is talking about in principle, then his process, whether with college students who are or are not your children, is applicable.

    You do not have to take the “know it all” position in order to debrief effectively. Debriefing is not usually about the mentor telling the student what is right and what is wrong. When done effectively, it is about self analysis and a self discovery process. It is an indirect learning process not a teaching process.

    So I am not sure what you are reacting to in your blog response. Maybe you can clarify it for me because you have some excellent thinking but on a different issue.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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