Whether we see our short-term mission trip as primarily an educational experience or mainly an evangelistic outreach, we should try to help participants process what they’ve seen and done. Research has shown that intentional debriefing of short-term workers helps them experience long-term changes based on the trip. (See Gary Green’s Now What for insights into this)
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some basic questions to ask:
- What was the best thing about the trip for you?
- What was the hardest thing about your short-term experience?
- What would you have changed to improve this trip?
- What did you learn…
- …about yourself?
- …about the people you visited?
- …about the church overseas?
- …about God
- What do you plan to do about the things that you have learned?
Taking time to process questions like these and make specific plans about what to do with what was learned can make a short-term trip have long-term effects.