Article: May 2024

Don't Wait Till It's Too Late to Debrief

“I always thought that debrief was for when you were finished with ministry. I never knew that I could have been processing the stress, events, grief and joys I had experienced through our years of service on the field.” 

– 2023 Winter Debrief participant 

Debrief is an essential step in the learning process. It requires reflection, engagement and readjustment. As parents, we help our children refocus or redirect when they are having an emotional tantrum by giving them space and time to process how/why they are feeling distressed. Unfortunately, we don’t see the need to do it as adults.  

Debrief is needed throughout our learning and growing journey as Christians and in our ministries – not just the end. It is an essential process of reflection that reveals what we need as we take a step out of ministry, whether temporarily or permanently. It also shows us where we need to grow personally and spiritually in our relationship with the Lord, whether it is forgiveness, humility, reconciliation, patience, conflict resolution, etc. We can see our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs with more clarity and seek God’s provision. 

Amid the busyness of ministry, we may not have had the capacity to process all of our experiences. However, with space, time and rest through a debrief retreat, we can now look at them, and they do not look/feel as BIG or HEAVY. The reason is because we are with others who share the same load as us – people who “get it” and can empathize with you. Facilitators who have been through similar experiences and can bring perspective to your circumstance with compassion. By sharing stories, together in fellowship with good food, spending time in nature and time with the Lord through CIT’s Debrief Retreat, you can refocus your hearts and mind on God’s love for you.  

We will always have a million reasons or excuses for not taking the time to debrief. Life is busy and will continue to stay busy. Make it a priority, whether you are in between ministry assignments or feeling “done”, to make time to debrief. Process your experiences from the mission field, so you can continue pursuing God and living in a thriving mentality, instead of surviving.