Missionary Debriefing Guidelines
For Church Pastors and Mission Committees
The purpose of this debriefing activity is for you, the sending
church to better understand the missionary you are supporting.
Debriefing usually takes place at the end of the missionary's
term, or during a home assignment or furlough period. Debriefing
should not be done a public meeting but should be limited to
a small group of people, such as several church elders or members
of the missions committee. A semi-formal setting, in a smaller
church room or in a home is usually best. It is best to do this
with a single missionary or missionary couple. Please do not
attempt this with more than one couple at a time. Don't be surprised
if there are tears, or honest sharing about the difficulties
that the missionary has faced.
As you move through the categories listed below it can be
beneficial to discuss with your missionaries what, if anything,
the church can do to help and support them during their home
The debriefing outline has 5 general categories. You should
attempt to deal with each of these categories. How many questions
you ask in each category will depend on the missionary's situation,
your time, and your willingness to get involved. The questions
are simply guidelines to prompt you with ideas that will help
your discussion. You should not feel pressured to ask all of
the questions or even go in the order that they are listed. You
may want to ask more questions in one area if you feel that there
are particular concerns in that area.
Start with a short time of prayer, and then explain to the
missionary(s) that you will be working through a set of questions.
(You may want to provide them with a copy of these questions,
either at the meeting, or before). Be prepared that this may
take some time. It usually takes at least 2 hours to go through
these questions with a missionary couple.
Relationship with the Lord
1. How would you describe your relationship with the Lord before
you left for the field?
2. Did you find your time on the field strengthening or stretching
to your walk with the Lord?
3. Do you feel you need to be built up spiritually on this furlough?
Relationships with spouse or roommate
1. Has your time on the field been stressful to your marriage?
2. Have you experienced major stress between you as spouses (or
Relationships in the family with children
1. What are some of the positive affects this time on the field
has had on your children?
2. What are some of the stresses your children have faced?
Relationships with parents and siblings in home countries
1. Have you had any relationship difficulties with family in
your home country, because of your being overseas?
2. Do you feel you have responsibilities to family members in
your home country that need your attention or more attention?
Relationships with other workers on the field
1. Have you found your relationships with your teammates to be
2. What teammates have been especially helpful and encouraging?
3. What teammates have difficult or strained relationships with
Relationships with national churches and workers
1. Describe your relationship with the national pastor, or national
2. Describe your relationship with nationals who work under your
3. What is being done to restore strained or difficult relationships?
Relationships with sending churches
1. How many supporting churches do you have? Where are they located?
2. How much time are you planning to spend with each church?
3. What improvements would you like to see with your supporting
FAMILY AND CHILDREN
1. Can you describe your home atmosphere on the field? Do any
of these words apply to your situation: hectic, relaxed, stress
filled, regulated, and pressured.
2. How did you handle unexpected events and changes?
3. Do you think your children have enjoyed your time overseas?
4. Do you think your children experienced any special stress
in their overseas experience?
5. What did your family do for relaxation? How often did you
6. Can you give us an overview of how the children were educated?
7. How they are doing academically?
8. Are there any special problems that you as a missionary family
1. How well do you feel you have done in communicating prayer
needs to your supporters?
2. How can the church help you in this?
3. Can you describe your financial situation in a few words?
4. Did you feel you had suitable housing?
5. Did you feel that your lifestyle portrayed a positive picture
to those around you?
6. Did you experience stress about your financial situation?
7. Can you describe your how your mission handles finances?
8. Is your financial situation typical or abnormal in your mission?
9. How can the church help?
1. Describe the husband's ministries. How many were there? How
many different hats did he have to wear?
2. Describe the wife's ministries. How many were there? How many
different hats did she have to wear?
3. Did you feel you had sufficient language ability to minister
4. Did you feel you had sufficient bible, theology, or practical
training to minister effectively?
5. What training would help, if you are returning to the field?
6. What did you accomplish?
7. What do you wish had been otherwise?
- E.g.: What would you do differently, or wished were different
if you return to the field?
8. Do you feel that you ministered using your spiritual gifts?
9. What ministry are you planning to return to?
10. What are your aspirations for the future?
1. How long are you planning to be on furlough?
2. What are your personal priorities as an individual or family
during this furlough?
3. What projects are you hoping to accomplish?
4. What further training are you hoping to do?
5. What obstacles do you think you will face?
6. How can we (the church) help you during your furlough time?
7. Describe how you would like to see your relationship with
the church change/grow?
8. Is there some area of church ministry that you could see yourself
© Roland Muller, 2007 (Feel free to print and use these
questions. However, if you want to publish them in a format that
will be sold, please contact us.)