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Provoke Reflection Throughout Your Mission, by Michael Essenburg

Aug 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Missions Coaching - Guest Posts

I’m watching missionaries, who are sitting in pairs, deeply engaged in conversation. These missionaries are asking each other key questions: What people/projects are you investing your energy in? What’s been satisfying/frustrating? What are the reasons for your feelings of satisfaction/frustration? How can I pray for you?

I’m thinking, “This is going pretty well. They’re more engaged than if I did the traditional style of devotions. They’re provoking each other to reflect. And they look like they’re having a good time. Having them use a set of questions worked.”

Want to provoke reflection throughout your mission? Have people in your mission use a set of questions to talk together.

For example, when you are starting a mission gathering and need an icebreaker, have participants ask each other a set of questions:  When you were in 5th grade, where did you live? What did you enjoy doing? What’s easy/challenging about living in this country? In your recent personal life, what’s been encouraging/discouraging? Overall, how are you feeling? How can I pray for you?

When you’re leading a team meeting and want team members to reflect on ministry goals, have team members ask each other a set of questions: What are your ministry goals? What progress on your goals have you experienced? What roadblocks have you experienced? How can you leverage your progress and minimize your roadblocks? You talked about _____ today—what do you think you’ll do?

When you’re leading a workshop on getting more organized, have participants ask each other a set of questions: What tools do you use to get organized? How do you feel when you’re organized/disorganized? For you, what does being organized look like? To get organized, what do you need to keep doing, start doing, and stop doing? What will you do?

Use the following set of questions to reflect on this article:
1.     What is 1 thing from this article that interested you?
2.     What excites/concerns you about provoking reflection throughout your mission?
3.     How could using a set of questions help you provoke reflection?
4.     When could you use a set of questions to provoke reflection?
5.     What will you do?

Michael Essenburg, a missionary with Christian Reformed World MIssions, uses coaching to empower Christian leaders and organizations to close the gap. Michael has served in Japan for over 20 years. To learn more, please visit


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