New movie focuses on outreach

Filming is complete for the movie To the Ends of the Earth, an upcoming outreach film that will follow the apostle Paul and his work in Philippi.

This movie is the final installment in a series of four outreach movies that are a collaboration between WELS Commission on Evangelism, WELS Commission on Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. “Our goal for this movie is to show in a dramatic way how the gospel is spread into the world following the command of Jesus and to show how it impacted people’s lives,” says Rev. Mike Hintz, who recently retired as director of WELS Evangelism but continues to serve as a member of the movie production team. The film’s title is taken directly from Jesus’ command to his disciples at his Ascension: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco, from Jan. 29–Feb. 3, the movie highlights four major events from the book of Acts—the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, the conversion of Lydia, the casting out of a demon from the slave girl, and Paul and Silas in prison followed by the baptisms of the jailer and his household.

The filming location, in a setting where many other Bible-era movies have been shot, allowed the production team to make use of already available sets, beautiful scenery, and local talent. The production team is the same crew that worked on the recent Luther film, A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy. “Our goal was authenticity, and, honestly, I felt like I was back in that time,” says Hintz, who served as a consultant on set. “The way the people looked and sounded, the scenery, the sets—I think people are going to feel like they’re in Philippi.”

The goal is to have the movie available by the end of summer 2018 in time for congregations initially to use the film and accompanying materials as an option for celebrating a synodwide Mission and Ministry Sunday on Oct. 21. Plans are to show a movie trailer at the district conventions in June.

Hintz says the movie would not be possible except for funding help from Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation; WELS Foundation’s Shared Blessings donor advised fund; Multi-Language Publications; and gifts from groups, congregations, and individuals.

“It is our goal that this not only be a movie that will hold our attention but also move us with our hearts and minds to continue to follow the Lord’s will to take the gospel to the ends of the earth,” say Hintz.