Number 1: Because Jesus said to. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15) When Jesus said "Go", He made it possible for you. It doesn't matter how much it costs, it is possible, and He will provide. When Jesus said "Go into all the world..." He meant that the body of Christ is responsible for proclaiming the gospel all over the world. He may call your neighbor to go across the street. And He may call you to go to India! Key word again, "Go!" The number 1 reason to go on a short-term missions trip is because Jesus said that we are to "Go".
Number 2: Because when you go, reason Number 1 is validated. This is what I mean. In most cases, a person doesn't fully comprehend the great commission until they take the step of faith to go. I'm a good example. My first trip to India was a visionary trip to observe how our money was being spent as our church supported a ministry there. This trip changed my life! (See post below.) I'll explain more on this later, but let me say now that I could quote the great commission forwards and backwards. But it wasn't until my life was changed by going far away, to a completely different culture, to a people who were hungry for God, that I totally understood the great commission. It takes a step of obedience to go. And remember, passion is born out of obedience. You'll never understand the great commission until you share God's passion for the world! His passion changes the ordinary into the extraordinary!
Number 3: Because it gives you a new perspective on how the rest of the world lives. In our comfy, Western culture we tend to be quite unaware of what's going on in the rest of the world. Yes, we can know what's going on politically because of the news media. But you do realize the news media only reports what they want you to hear, and what they want you to believe. The truth is, the only way you can begin to understand another culture is to be there...in the midst of that culture. "Culture shock" is not a bad thing. It gives us a new, true perspective on others. And in our comfy "church" culture we tend to be quite unaware of what's going on with God's people in the rest of the world. You might be unaware of this, but God is moving mightily in other cultures around the world. People have much less and are much happier because they've found the love of Jesus in the midst of their adversities. Commitment levels range higher than we could imagine here in our nation.
Number 4: Because you come home with a different perspective on how we live and what we have here at home. Many times a short-term missions trip to another culture makes us appreciate much more what we have at home. We look at things differently. What we once took for granted we notice and appreciate more. We also see that some of the things we possess really possess us. It's much easier to give those things up. Remember, it takes a proper perspective of what we have here at home to make the great commission a fulfilled reality for us. Without proper perspective the great commission is no more than some nice words spoken by Jesus.
Number 5: Because it changes your life. When I say it changes you life, I mean it changes your life! You are never ever the same. Not to worry, it changes you for the better. Not everyone will understand your passion though. That's why you'll be drawn to others who share your passion.
Number 6: Because going on a short-term missions trip will give you a view of eternal significance. And man, do we need to see the things which carry eternal significance. We folks are involved in so much "stuff" today (even in the name of the church and ministry). I mean stuff that really has no eternal significance. It's so easy to be busy. We need divine discernment to choose what is divinely significant. Short-term missions has given me that discernment. It is easier to see what God sees now. Missions is His heart. When we get His heart, we get His vision.
You must have a heart to serve in order to make a significant impact wherever God sends you. That is the heart of missions...serving. It is not about vacationing or touring. It's about serving. Short-term missions is an effective way to develop a servant's heart. Jesus said, "The greatest among you will be you servant." (Matthew 23:11) Jesus meant that the greatest work will be accomplished through those who have humbled themselves to serve. That's exactly what He did....and look at the impact He made!