Team leader debriefing guide: Session 1

We suggest that you hold this session on-field, a few days before you return home. Make this a fellowship time, and include a few simple snacks.

Devotional – Remembering God’s faithfulness: singing like Miriam and Moses
  • Sing some of your team’s favorite songs together. Pray that you will feel God’s presence and comfort during this session.
  • Ask the team to recall what Moses, Miriam, and Aaron and all the other Israelites did when they made it safely across the Red Sea. (They sang a song of praise and thanksgiving to God, recalling all that God had done to guide and deliver them. See Exodus 15.)
  • Let’s celebrate! Ask the team to remember the many ways they “watched God at work” in their host country.

Suggested activity:

Lay out a long piece of poster paper on a table or on the floor. Draw a line horizontally across the middle of the paper with an arrowhead at the far right and the name of your team at the top. This will be your team’s timeline, beginning from your first meeting together. Ask team members to fill in the timeline with major events in the life of the team. After working for 5-10 minutes, pause for a moment and read Psalm 105:1-4. Now fill in specific “praise the Lord” situations on the timeline. These are the wonderful “acts of God” that you want to tell others about. 

For example:
  • The last $103 we needed for the trip arrived on the day the deposit was due!
  • God used our flat tire detour so we could meet the Ramirez family.
  • Pastor Jo’s message caused Yolanda to commit her life to mission work.
Have fun with the timeline. Note funny or unusual events. When everyone is finished, have the team step back and appreciate what you have experienced.

Ask “Why is there an open-ended arrow on the right?” (The story is not over. God wants to continue to use what we have learned to reach out to others with His love.)


Team discussion: re-entry reflections

Introductory comments: Our team has traveled, worked, lived, eaten, played, and prayed with each other. We may feel like a family in the Lord. The feeling of being part of a special community will probably be the most difficult and the most helpful part of your re-adjustment to life back home. It may be hard to go back to the “same old, same old” after such an intense adventure. Your teammates won’t be with you every day and it may be hard to find time to pray and study the Word as you did on the trip. What was the best part of being together as a team?

At the same time, our teammates will be the ones who will continue to support us in prayer. If we feel depressed, guilty, or frustrated during our re-entry to home culture, it will feel good to talk to a teammate who understands exactly what we’re going through. Together, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will not only survive this transition, but we will continue to grow in faith and wisdom.


Prayer

Pray for each member of the team.
Pray for God’s help to walk through the stages of reverse culture shock with grace.
Ask God to guide the team as you begin to think about sharing your story.

Assignment for next session: Ask team members to take 20-30 minutes before the next session to go through the “Reflections on coming home” questionnaire in Team leader debriefing guide, Session 2: Sharing our story.


Team leaders:
  • Take some time to rest and process your own feelings apart from the time you spend with your group.
  • Find a person who is willing to help you debrief and reflect on your own experience as a leader.
  • What did God teach you about your leadership gifts?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What unresolved issues are still lying heavy on your heart?
  • How will you honor your need for rest for a couple of days?
  • How can your friends pray for you during this time of transition?
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