When Mike Hintz, retired director of WELS Commission on Evangelism, traveled to Ouarzazate, Morocco, earlier this year supervise the filming of the new WELS outreach film To the Ends of the Earth, he didn’t expect many openings for witnessing.
But God had other ideas. “The movie dialogue was carefully written to point to Jesus as the Savior of the world and the only one through whom we have the gifts of forgiveness of sins and eternal life,” says Hintz. “As the actors and actresses worked through their lines and the production staff listened to them, it generated numerous opportunities for me to speak to them about why we wrote it that way. People asked questions, and the conversation regularly turned to an opportunity to witness about Christ.”
Encouraging witnessing is an important feature of the film, which tells the story of the apostle Paul and his work in Philippi. Its 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). The film 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. “Since the movie focuses on mission activity, it reminds us of the important work that we have as we serve Christ—to reach out with the gospel to the ends of the earth,” says Hintz.
That’s why film resources, including worship materials; adult, small group, teen, and children Bible studies; an Advent by Candlelight program; and personal reflections, will discuss how to witness and share your faith.
Congregations can use the film and its accompanying materials for several different purposes:
- As an option for celebrating asynodwide Mission and Ministry Sunday planned for Oct. 21. “It’s an opportunity to give thanks as we look at the ways we in WELS as congregations and a synod work to reach out with the gospel, but also to look at opportunities that are still around us and how to make the most of them as we continue to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth,” says Hintz.
- As a training resource for the upcomingsynodwide outreach campaign called C18. “We want to reach one million people with the gospel by Christmas Eve 2018. That will only happen if all WELS members look for ways to share their faith,” says Jonathan Hein, coordinator of WELS Congregational Services. “We’re hoping that this fall congregations will use the witnessing training materials that work with this film to prepare their members to talk about Jesus, the Savior of the world, this Christmas.”
- As a giveaway to congregation members and prospects. Hintz saysthat his experiences while filming in Morocco reminded him of the witnessing opportunities this movie can provide for all WELS members: “It can help them start a conversation with their friends and relatives about Jesus and how important he is for their lives,” he says. “He is the one that gives them the peace and joy of salvation.” A special bulk order price will be available until Sept. 7.
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. Funding from CM CARES, the Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation; WELS Foundation’s Shared Blessings donor advised fund; WELS Multi-Language Publications; and gifts from groups, congregations, and individuals helped make this film possible.
To the Ends of the Earth will release on Sept. 1. View a trailer and learn more about the film at wels.net/totheendsoftheearth.
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Volume 105, Number 8
Issue: August 2018
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
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