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Debriefing the year gone

How have you been using debriefing and review?

At TAFES Staff Orientation and Training, I spent a couple of hours with the staff team looking back over the academic year 2019-20. This year has come with a sense of three distinct seasons: pre-Corona, Corona (March-July), and post-Corona (July onwards, when campuses reopened).

The idea here is to review events and experiences, and get some sense of what it means. Our aim is to reflect and learn, but not so much to resolve issues or set goals. Yes, things will come to light, but the space for further work and ‘action points’ is beyond this session.

We talked about ‘closure’ as closing the book on the year gone. You’re not going to throw the book away, but before you put it up on the shelf, it’s time to finish reading it, go some way to digesting it, and then close it up.


A. Whole group. General, ‘we’ questions. Begin to uncover the pressure points and significant moments. Campus ministry vs personally; before/during/after COVID-19; expected vs actual.

1. What were the things we were working towards, or expecting?

2. What actually happened?


B. Personal reflection. Personal, ‘I’ questions. Let deeper issues come to light. First, reflect individually. Ask each other the following two questions, but write/think/pray your response personally. Identify experiences and feelings. Where did you feel hurt, supported, etc? God is with you as you write and pray. Second, discuss in small groups. Share as you feel able. What do you want others to hear? Want do you want to hear from them?

3. What were the key experiences/moments for you? What feelings do you remember having?

4. What have you discovered? (About campus ministry, about students/people/your region, about TAFES, about partnership, about yourself, about God, about life/family/work…)


C. Whole group. Beyond ‘reporting back’. Find the take-aways, but action points are not required. Offer/signal further avenues through which things that have come up can be processed as appropriate.

5. What was God doing? / Where was God in this year?

6. What will we take away from this year? / What do we learn?

7. Who do you need to chat with, or follow up with? (In order to resolve any unresolved things, whether painful or positive. What do you need to ask, or say?)

We finished up listening to Another In The Fire.

Categories: University ministry Written by Arthur

Tagged as:

Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

1 reply

  1. Love that idea of closure on the year. I try and use that idea when heading on a decent break from work. For example, we had two weeks off over the school holidays and so I journalled about Term 3 giving myself closure to the term, helping me to rest well and start well again in Term 4 of this year.

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