A short-term missions trip ideally impacts not only those who go, but also the church that sent the team. To maximize a trip’s impact in the life of the church will require some advance planning. Here are some avenues for helping a sending church fully benefit from a short-term trip it sent:
- The team should report on the trip as widely as possible, not merely at the worship service. Send team members to classes and small groups open to hearing from the team. Post information through the website, blogs and emails as appropriate, while judiciously reporting on security sensitive details.
- The team should report about the trip creatively, not just verbally. When possible, include media, sounds, food, games and clothing from the host culture. Include host culture games and toys for kids.
- Develop an advocacy group for the people group/area where your team went. Such a group would continue to disperse prayer items, and might be the group that recruits and screens future workers to the area.
- Debrief team members for feedback on improving any future trips to the area. Is a repeat trip a good idea? How could the sending process be improved? Should the purpose and goals of future trips be changed or refined? Should future teams work with the same host team and mission agency in the future?
- Call or Skype the field a few weeks or months later and ask the hosts about the ongoing impact of the last team. This could be used as part of recruiting the next team.