Too much going on? Can't imagine how you'd fit it in? I certainly understand that. Church planting is crazy. Your job is never finished. However, here are some reasons why I think you can't afford not to take your young church on short-term mission trips.
Ensure World Mission is in Your DNA
You're busy starting a church, and that's really important. But you want to start a good church, right? How can a church that has no dreams or plans for joining God's mission across the globe be considered good or healthy? Now is your chance to establish healthy DNA. It's your best, and perhaps only, chance. If you truly want to establish a congregation that serves the glory of God and the good of people in your city, send them on mission now.
Develop Missionaries for Your City
One common benefit of taking teams on short-term trips is that they come back with a fresh perspective. "Why can't we do that in our city?" "Why don't I share the gospel like that back home?" People will ask those kinds of questions. They will look at their worlds differently. This shouldn't be our main motivation, certainly, but this kind of growth happens.
Fill Your Church with "World Christians"
It frustrates and saddens me when I hear people say, "Why not just send the money overseas? All that cash for flights is such a waste of money!" This discounts the long-term impact on the lives of people who go. Many people will end up on the mission field. Others will become givers and advocates. Most will come back with a bigger vision of God and His work across the world. Don't miss this opportunity, planter. If you're a missionary, efficiency isn't our only goal, and, if you handle mission teams well, you're likely to get support that dwarfs that $1000 plane ticket.
Bless Missionaries, Encourage Believers
Overseas missionaries, like church planters here at home, are often lonely and discouraged. Visit them and seek to build them up. Like you, they also need help. A team of ten might accomplish in a day what they could do in a week. Go and serve. Additionally, mission teams can be an encouragement to the churches you visit. That a congregation across the world cares about them enough to travel hours and miles means much. Planter, go bless missionaries and churches.
Make Your Trip Plans Today
Start small. Don't do too much, but do something. Don't wait. You'll jeopardize the future health of your young church. Think about it: most of our church plants are filled with young, unestablished people without resources. You certainly don't tell them, "Just wait until you get things more in order, and then you can give of your money and time." We shouldn't lead our churches in that way, either. Good habits are started now. A sound foundation is laid now. A healthy vision begins today. Planter, lead short-term mission trips in your church.