Ever since I was kid, I have loved to travel. I remember as a 9 year old taking my first flight from Australia to America with my parents. I remember the feeling of looking down from the airplane and seeing the city looking smaller and smaller – like a model of tiny roads, cars and buildings. Rising above the clouds was also a surreal feeling. They looked like a sea of cotton wool. I've been travelling regularly ever since.
A certain amount of travel is good for a church leader. It lifts you out of your context and helps you see what God is doing in other places and cultures. There is so much to learn from seeing things in a different way and from a different perspective. It is also a great honour to be able to serve and input to others. Of course, there is a danger in travelling too much where too much pressure is created for the local leadership team because the senior leader is away so much. Outside ministry can become a distraction if you allow it too.
For many years now I have limited my travel (other than family holidays) to five weekends a year. That is because my priority is leading and ministering in our local church where I am the senior minister. I also endeavour to choose strategic invitations where my time is well invested. This usually includes at least one mission trip a year.
Last year I visited the USA, Sweden, Singapore and Indonesia. This year I have been to Singapore, Moscow, and I have a trip to Africa coming up. Next year, I already have plans to visit Korea and the USA. Over a few decades of ministry now, I have been able to visit and minister in many other nations too, including China, Czech, England, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Uganda.
It's a big world out there and God is at work in every place. We can't all go (although we should at least consider it!), but we can pray and get behind mission ministry in our local churches. Together we really can impact nations for the kingdom of God.