You did it! You identified genuine needs, gathered people and resources together and dedicated a significant amount of time to serve community. No doubt your contribution was valuable and much appreciated. But there is one thing that most people forget to do when they serve community and it can make all the difference in the world.
What is it? DEBRIEF
Reflection is an important practice. It helps us grow and learn, yet many people skip this step, eager to go on to the next thing. But when we thoughtfully think through the specifics of our service and debrief around our experience, we gain greater insight into what God was doing in us and through us.
Jesus debriefed with his followers. He asked them questions about the situations they entered into and the encounters they had with others. He used this time to teach them and expand their vision of God’s work and their partnership in building the Kingdom. His questions also tended to point out blind spots and barriers. The practice of debriefing was just as important as the actual tasks themselves.
Don’t forget to debrief around your experience too! If serving with a group of people, make sure you schedule a time to reflect, preferably as soon after your engagement as possible. Did you serve community on your own? That’s great! Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and spend some time with God reflecting.
Here are some questions that can help you debrief:
• What part of the experience did you enjoy the most?
• Who is someone new you met? What did you learn about them?
• What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about God?
• Would you say that you were changed? If so, how?
• Would you say that barriers were broken down?
• Where did you see Jesus show up?
• Did you take any risks?
Don’t miss out on the rich opportunity to debrief as you serve community! Integrating this time of reflection is an integral part of helping others. As you debrief, you will grow in your relationship with God and with those who served alongside you.