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How to debrief your mission team (part 1 – overview)

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After reading the blog a few days ago on leading mission projects, Tony Sheng asked me to write something about debriefing them. Debriefing is a critical step in not only any good mission project, but in the discipleship process as well. It is a form of guided reflection. After you go and try n…
By Seth Barnes

guat. beggar 4After reading the blog a few days ago on leading mission
projects, Tony Sheng asked me to write something about debriefing them. Debriefing is a critical step in not only any
good mission project, but in the discipleship process as well. It is a form of guided reflection. After you go and try new behaviors or new
ministry, you have to work through and learn from where you saw God
moving. One of AIM’s five objectives is
that we regularly expect to engage participants in this kind of debriefing.

Why is that? It’s
because most of what we humans learn in life, we learn experientially. We do stuff, we think about how we just did
stuff, and then we draw conclusions about what we’ve done. There are a host of things that we’ve learned
that fit in the category of “head knowledge.”
But we live our lives according to experience. And if you look at Jesus’ ministry, he
constantly used experience as a touchstone for learning.

Jesus taught by explaining concepts, modeling them, giving
disciples opportunity to try stuff out for themselves, then debriefing the
whole thing. All the question and answer
sessions between Jesus and his disciples give us a picture into how they
learned. To disciple as Jesus did, we
must acquire his debriefing skills. When
you look at the disciples returning from their Luke 10 short-term mission trip,
Jesus debriefs them and helps them make sense of the experience.

This subject of debriefing will require some time – I’m going to devote two weeks to it – my longest blog series ever.  I hope that it will be helpful to you.

The next blog is on a biblical perspective on debriefing.

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