Afterwards … Debriefing

March 8, 2013 | Hot topics | 1 Comment

Short_Term_Missions-7Being part of a team on short term mission isn’t another type of tourism.

No one returns home the same as they left.

There is a responsibility to each other. There is a requirement to adhere to the purposes and policy of the trip. No one can be a ‘lone ranger’ on such a venture.

To paraphrase Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time to commence the ministry, and a time to conclude. In between, each member experiences unique happenings – good, not so good, boring or confusing. Many of these are similar to coloured threads that need weaving into an understandable picture comprising the whole team. There may well be loose threads that need closure for the person’s own well being.

Reflection on Acts 14:26,27:  “…they (Paul and Barnabas) sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” (NKJ)

Debriefing offers that opportunity to see the overall picture. In the process each one develops an understanding of what God has done for His glory and the blessing of the people served. It also allows ‘the servants’ to unburden as well as give thanks. There is great therapy in laughing, crying, praying together. Usually there are moments to share of being hurt, misunderstood, and even exploited. Untold, such experience will turn sour within the mind. Confessing them, being prayed for and nurtured in worship and Word siphons out the bitter and replaces it with God’s sweetness.

Recounting what has happened is a Biblical principle. It takes our eyes off what we have done, seen, or had done to us. It makes us concentrate on God the Holy Spirit’s work in and through each of us. For any ministry wearing the name Christian must appreciate the fact “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

A most precious part of debriefing is gathering around for Communion. Here is a final chance to celebrate the One who has brought the team together. We bow as a group and praise His Name for the privilege of serving others in another country. More than likely this will be the last time we will meet as a whole team. Different personalities, different affiliations, different strengths and weakness have been welded by the Holy Spirit to make known the Name which is above every name, that Name is Jesus. What a privilege.

No one returns home the same as they left.

You, Lord, use it for more than memories.

For some it will be a spur to particular ministries. There will be more interest shown in missions, better stewardship of resources, deeper compassion and a restlessness with a materialist lifestyle. Through such people, you Lord, impact their local congregation with a thirst for short term mission and study trips.

My Final Thought.

In pursuing God’s purposes for you, another may be challenged to ask God for His purpose in their life too.

Ray HawkinsRay Hawkins, “The Neurotic Rooster”, 2006, private publication, used with permission.
More information

Ray is a retired Church of Christ pastor with a love of writing, mission and kids. He keeps fit by chasing grandchildren and writing devotional meditations, and helps his son out with a sea horse tourist venture and breeding program in Tasmania. This reflection was written after 3 trips to Africa with his wife, Mary.  This is his last reflection.

1 Comment to "Afterwards … Debriefing

  • Ray Hawkins On 25/3/2013 @ 11:58 AM

    Thanks for being so kind as to use the Neurotic Rooster Devotions. I do trust that they may have been a blessing to those who have read them, May the Lord continue to develop your ministry and assist the work of missions local and overseas.
    Ray Hawkins