One of the main reasons we take this opportunity, is because if it is done correctly, it can be a great catalyst for spiritual growth in the lives of the team members we send. This growth happens in a number of ways.
Enjoy Grace. Often our view of God and the grace he has given us is too small. We fail to realize that he has the God of every single tribe, tongue, and nation. We fail to realize he is working all across the globe, and not just in our backyard. By experience ministry in a global context, we are reminded of the bigness of our God and drawn out to more deeply enjoy His grace!
Embody Love. Part of faithfully embodying the love of Christ is through loving those who are different than us. A short term trip can grow our understanding of what it looks like to love those who are different, both our international brothers and sisters abroad, as well as our team members who will have different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and personalities. By working as a team and submitting to international leadership on the field, we learn how to better embody love back home.
Neighborhoods: As we learn to engage culture abroad, we our given a crash course in cultural contextualization. This often helps us to see subcultures back at home, and gives us a new perspective on engaging our neighbors in contextualized evangelism. We also often start to see internationals in our home context that we previously overlooked.
Nations: We are given a perspective and connection to international ministry. This often is a kindled fire that drives us to participate in great commission ministry after returning home, through prayer, sending, and mobilizing others as a church.
As we are encouraged by international partners, by being humble servants and joyful friends we can encourage them as well. While we are blessed in many ways as the American church, other international bodies often minister in very discouraging circumstances. Our presence can serve as a source of encouragement in this context.
While short term missions ministry is often not cost effective in a direct way, there are ways that our participation legitimately aids our partners in disciple making ministry in their long term context.
We can become advocates for peoples, churches, and missionaries that we meet, casting vision for them when we return and supporting them through prayer or generous giving.
Consider going mid or long term.
Many mid or long term missionaries first consider joining the field after participating in short term trips.