Making "To the Ends of the Earth" - A WELS Outreach Movie

Michael Hintz (Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Pastor Michael Hintz served as the director for the WELS Commission on Evangelism from 2002 until retirement in 2017. Prior to this position, he served as a parish pastor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and South Bend, Indiana, and as a missionary to Malawi, Africa. As the director of the Commission on Evangelism, he served on a team that wrote, produced and distributed four WELS films - "Road to Emmaus," "Come Follow Me," "My Son My Savior," and the newest one, "To the Ends of the Earth."

In the sequence of Road to Emmaus (2009), Come Follow Me (2013), and My Son My Savior (2015) is the fourth and final in a series of outreach movies from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). The title To the Ends of the Earth 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 movie follows Paul's remarkable visit to the city of Philippi, recorded in Acts 16. It shows how Paul connected with people from all walks of life, demonstrating that the good news of Jesus is indeed for all people — to the very ends of the earth.

Movie Theme

Jesus came not just to benefit one type of people. Jesus is God's answer of love for people of every culture or background. The movie features four main characters depicting that the message of Jesus is a power that changes even the most unlikely hearts. The gospel gives truth to the seeker (Lydia), freedom to the oppressed (slave girl), and hope to the hopeless (jailer). God calls, equips, and sends messengers to share the good news of Jesus To the Ends of the Earth (Paul).

Paul — A Call to Faith — A Call to Mission

The movie begins with Paul on the ground having flashbacks of his persecution of Christians and stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:57-8:1). Paul was on his way to Damascus to take more Christians as prisoners to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-16, 26:9-18). Jesus calls out, "Saul, why do you persecute me?" Jesus sends him on his mission to be a witness about what he has seen and heard from Jesus.

God's call to faith is an effective one and a prime example of God's grace. The knowledge that Jesus had died to forgive him and came alive to give him life changed Paul from a man of pride and hatred into a model of love and humility. Paul's call to faith was also a call to mission. In Paul's case, it was a unique mission to reach the Gentiles — especially those who hadn't heard about Jesus. God calls us to faith through the gospel and has a calling for us — a role to carry out his mission for the world. In one way or another, all of us are involved in the task of taking the gospel message To the Ends of the Earth.

Lydia — Finding the Grace of God in a World of Self-righteousness

Lydia respects and tries to follow the Jewish laws and rituals but realizes something is missing. She tries to be kind and helpful, but Paul leads her to see the failure of our hearts to live the level of love that honors God. Paul leads her to realize that Jesus is the promised Messiah who has done all that is needed to save us. "The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message" (Acts 16:14); she and her household were baptized.

By nature, we think we can gain God's favor by what we do or by our moral purity. We fall far short of the glory of God and do not have the ability to earn his favor. But Jesus gained our forgiveness with his blood shed on the cross and he clothes us with his purity. Our relationship with God is built on his forgiveness and our faith in what Christ did in our place. It draws us to trust him, worship him as Lord, receive his blessings, and extend his love to others.

Slave Girl — Showing Compassion to those Enslaved by their Demons

The evil spirit controlling the slave girl taunts Paul and Silas, identifying them as servants of the Most High God. By the power of Christ, Paul drives out the spirit and frees the girl.

We sometimes struggle in life and are enslaved with our own "demons." Some feel stuck in abuse or enslaved by addictions. The devil and his influence are real, but so is the almighty God. The gospel of Jesus frees us from the devil's control and brings us into a whole new life with God.

Jailer — The Light of Jesus Dispels the Darkness of Despair

Although the situation looked grim for Paul and Silas in prison, suddenly there is an earthquake that frees them from their chains. The jailer is ready to commit suicide, until Paul reveals that they are all still there. The jailer finds the answer to "what must I do to be saved" when Paul proclaims, "Believe in Lord Jesus and you will be saved — you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31).

Sometimes people feel stuck in a disrespected layer of society with a dead-end job. They are consumed with a fear of failure, dishonor, or punishment. Sometimes it seems hopeless with no way of escape. But God hasn't abandoned us. He calls us to believe in him and be saved. Jesus has taken on the burden of sin, carried our shame, and given us a future with honor. He provides us with his washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit — frees us from our chains of fear and condemnation.

Script Development

To the Ends of the Earth was supposed to be the third movie, coming after Come Follow Me, a movie that displayed the challenges and triumphs of being a follower of Jesus, as it featured the apostle Peter. The plan was to follow up on that discipleship message with a movie that gave direction on the work that Jesus gives his followers to do — to spread the gospel everywhere. So, concept work on the To the Ends of the Earth movie started even before the Come Follow Me movie was in use.

However, church leaders provided feedback that caused a change in course. Many congregations used Road to Emmaus and Come Follow Me in connection with Easter outreach, and appropriately so because the content and messages of those two movies fit well with the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. What church leaders asked for was a movie for outreach at Christmas. So, concept work on To the Ends of the Earth was shelved and focus was shifted to a movie with a Christmas theme. The result was My Son My Savior released in 2015, a movie about the coming, life, and ministry of Jesus told from the perspective of his mother Mary.

The intent was to have To the Ends of the Earth ready two years later, in 2017. However, that was the year of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, and a full-length movie was released for that special occasion. So as not to conflict with the Reformation emphasis, work was restarted on To the Ends of the Earth for a planned release in 2018.

The team that put together the script included Pastors Dave Kehl, Paul Hartman, John Braun, and Mike Hintz. It took over a year for the script to be finalized. What complicated the work of this group was distance. Dave Kehl lives in Hong Kong, serving our mission field there. Paul Hartman lives in El Paso; he is the retired director of Multi-Language Publications. John Braun and Mike Hintz are local to the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry. The group made use of technology to carry out their discussion, "meeting" via Skype video conference.

Closely involved with helping this team was the one who put their work into the form of a movie script, professional writer and WELS member, Jas Lonnquist. She lives in California and there were several long video conferences with her and the pastors on the team. All in all, everything came together, and the script was turned over to the producers: Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. They had lots of input that resulted in numerous adjustments to make a good movie. More video conferencing and many, many emails among all involved finally resulted in the final script by the end of 2017. From there the producers took over.


It was decided to shoot the movie in Morocco. The shoot took place this year for 10 days, at the end of January and first part of February. This choice of location was a cost-effective way to produce a high-quality production. There is so much high-end television and film these days, people expect a certain level of production quality. A second-rate project would not connect with audiences as well.

Morocco might seem like an exotic locale, but the choice to shoot the movie there was actually based on very practical nuts-and-bolts issues. Many Bible-based films are shot there, so the sets have already been built, the extras are readily available, and crews are cost-effective. The scenery is beautiful and appears "biblical." The region is home to people whose faces truly represent the vast tapestry of God's people — a way of emphasizing that the gospel is for people To the Ends of the Earth.

Indeed, there were technical challenges. The first snowstorm in 25 years blanketed the area just as production began. But God melted the snow quickly and we proceeded without incident, though the weather was unusually cold throughout the shoot. An ongoing "challenge" was ensuring everyone's pronunciations were correct. We were delighted with the many accents of the actors and actresses, many of whom spoke English as a second language (again, it was a great reflection of the diversity of God's people). But occasionally we needed to coach how to say something in the clearest way. At times, it was an eye-opening exercise in just how complicated English can be. For example, one line had "cloth" and "clothing" in the same sentence. We are so used to pronouncing the "O" in those words very differently, but-on the page-it looks like they should be pronounced the same. That kind of thing tripped up our actors and actresses occasionally (and sometimes created a bit of humor).

Following the movie shoot, the producers spent six months carefully editing the video (25 hours of raw video were boiled down to 38 minutes for the movie's final version). Visual and sound quality were adjusted. Sound effects and music were added. A master DVD was produced and on September 1, 2018 the movie was released. The first public screening took place at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry.

Using the Movie

Since the movie focuses on mission activity, congregations may have made good use of it initially in connection with the Mission & Ministry Sunday that the WELS Conference of Presidents encouraged all WELS congregations to observe this fall on October 21. Movie resources have been developed for use in connection with Mission & Ministry Sunday. There are also resources for groups and individuals to study the messages of the movie and apply them: two adult Bible studies, children and teen lessons & devotions, an Advent by Candlelight program. Additionally, congregations are encouraged to use an Evangelism Bible study based on the movie for encouraging members to invite people to Christmas services this year — see C18 program.

With past movies, congregations gave DVDs to worship service guests and distributed them at outreach events. Also, members used the movie and helpful resources to discuss the importance of the Savior with someone they know who needs Jesus. Currently, over 600 congregations have ordered more than 50,000 DVDs through special bulk pricing (100 DVDs for $200 plus shipping), to use To the Ends of the Earth similarly in their outreach as the previous three movies.

Dubbing the movie in Hong Kong

The movie will be used even more widely in world mission fields. Making excellent use of technology, To the Ends of the Earth has been dubbed in Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Workers in Spanish speaking areas of our country and in our Latin America mission field plan to make significant use of the movie. Missionaries in Hong Kong will also be using the movie in the mission work there. And like our first three outreach movies, plans are to provide the movie in other languages, all with the goal of taking the gospel To the Ends of the Earth.

The Medium of Movies

With striking visuals and vivid sound, a good movie effectively engages an audience and powerfully communicates a message. What greater message is there than the gospel of Jesus Christ? And look at the massive audience of people to whom God wants his good news delivered — the world! This is the reason for ten years of work on four movies — to use the medium of movies to tell the message of salvation to many people.

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Sidney Glowicki (Martin Luther College ) 2018-10-24 12:43:32pm
Pastor Hinz,

Over the years, my church has participated in watching many of these movies that you have talked about in your presentation. Two christmas’ ago, we watched “My Son My Savior” and it was excellent. There is so much real scripture in these movies, that now when I read the certain passages that are in the movies, I have an image in my head of what was going on during this time. Of course, I have seen many movies and videos that try to show important passages in the bible, but none have had the same effect on me as these ones do.

I am very interested in seeing “To the Ends of the Earth” based on what I have read in your presentation. The character outline is pretty exciting to me, because even though these are people we spend such little time on when reading about them in the bible, they still have an affect on us to the point of always remember what their story is about.

These movies show the struggle of what is is like to be a follower of Jesus back then and the one disciple to show how difficult it really is, is Peter himself. I am excited to see where this movie goes!

Thank you for giving us an insight of what this movie is going to be like!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 10:56:01am
Thank you for your comments. There were many, many people involved in producing this movie -- all using their professional gifts to bring about Scripture-based movie. May God use it to further the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus our Savior. To Him be the glory!
Paul Grubbs (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 1:26:37pm
Dear Rev. Hintz,

Reading your article, I was impressed to discover how responsive the Board for Evangelism was to congregational priorities, even in a project as complex as producing this film series. You explain how “church leaders asked for… a movie for outreach at Christmas” and their request led to a temporary shelving of “To the Ends of the Earth.” In addition, as a teacher who tries to encourage students to recognize the value of multiple drafts and careful revision, the reality of a script under development for an entire year is also a real-life example I’m excited to share (of course, the far-flung nature of your author team was a special challenge too.)

I noticed that the online resources included gear related to adult study, worship, children and teens, and other special groups. I think the type of behind-the-scenes stories you share in this piece would prove fascinating to teenagers raised devouring DVD extras. The obstacles and opportunities you raise related to storytelling for film might help them engage with the Biblical content at a deeper level.

My congregation has handed out DVDs of the previous films in this series, but I wondered how today’s emphasis on streaming and other on-demand viewing rather than DVDs might impact these types of films (many new laptops don’t even feature DVD drives, as an example). To what extent do the sales of the DVDs offset or fund the productions? How significant would the financial challenges be to these productions if the films were made available for free at an online link rather than sold to congregations as physical DVDs and then distributed?

Thanks for your contribution to the conference!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 11:10:17am
That matter of DVDs was a discussion I have had often with the producer, being aware of the popularity now of streaming. It came down to this...we still viewed the production of this movie as an outreach tool for congregations and members. Handing a DVD to someone, in our estimation, has advantages as an outreach approach. With the first three movies, congregations distributed thousands of each DVD in connection with outreach efforts. This proved true again for the movie To the Ends of the Earth. Congregations took advantage of a special quantity order of 100 DVDS @ $200 plus shipping. Nearly 70,000 DVDS were ordered and shipped. The price of the DVDs with this bulk order generated no significant income; we barely covered our cost of materials and replication. We wanted to keep the price as low as possible to encourage congregations to order and use the DVDs in their ministry. Oh, and also...the movie is now available online:
PASS: paul18
Ezra Larson (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 1:38:10pm
Dear Pastor Hintz,

I enjoyed how you went through the process of developing and producing a movie. This is something I have dabbled in but never fully experienced and so it was eye opening to have a clearer idea of the decision making process and the execution as well. My favorite example was of how the decision was made to shoot in Morocco because it “was a cost-effective way to produce a high-quality production” and that such a decision would have such a dramatic effect on the viewability to today’s audiences.

I liked the other films that WELS has put out in this series and is kind of upsetting that this is the last. It would be cool to see more videos produced with this same quality but maybe emphasis some Old Testament stories. There are so many good stories about sin and grace there and it seems that it is given the least amount of attention.

What would you suggest to someone who wants to get into doing films for Christ? After all, you posed the question: “What greater message is there than the gospel of Jesus Christ?” What are some pointers/things to consider?

Thank you for your contribution to the conference!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 11:24:15am
This movie brings to an end the series of movies that was proposed and planned about a decade ago. At this point there is no plan for another series, although there has been a little conversation about such a thing. We will have to see how things develop. As you mentioned, there are many OT accounts that would be excellent material for a film, all helping to show the God's amazing plan of salvation.

When I started working on this series, I knew virtually nothing about movie production (that was not a course at the Seminary ;) And now after the years of close involvement, I only know about it from an observational point of view. I found it to be fascinating! I am not the one to give you advice about doing such films. You might contact the producer/director of the films: Mr. Steve Boettcher. website:
Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2018-10-25 11:20:08pm
Ezra, you ask "What would you suggest to someone who wants to get into doing films for Christ?" One of the special features of using media to spread the Gospel is that it can get - in fact it MUST get all kinds of people involved directly in this kind of mission work. A quality media production requires the tech people (camera operators, editors, etc.), the creative people (writers, directors, etc.), the theologians of course - those are all pretty obvious - but also musicians, visual artists, linguists, historians, set designers, business managers, fund raisers, social scientists, psychologists, distribution experts, attorneys, food services - the list goes on. That is what makes "Gospel Outreach With Media" so exciting to me: virtually any Christian can get directly involved in mission work, in "doing films for Christ."
Christopher Robbert (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 1:41:41pm
Pastor Hintz
I truly like how you used the main characters of the film “To the Ends of the Earth” and pointed out the struggles they faced and how we face battles just like theres. The title of the movie does an amazing job displaying that “the good news of jesus is indeed for all the people” and this outlook you shared does not stray from that point.

Reading through this article I would of liked to hear a little more about the background of the actors and what led them to pursue this form of ministry. This would allow more people to not only have a feel for the character but also a feel for the person portraying them.

While I was reading you said that you filmed in Morocco because “Many Bible-based films are shot there, so the sets have already been built, the extras are readily available….” . I wanted to know how much money did you spend in all in making this film? And how much time goes into planning a film before it is started?

Thank you for your amazing insight on how these films are made and the even for allowing us to know where it all took place.
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 11:48:05am
Originally, it was the writing committee’s plan to produce a movie that extended the story of movie #2 – Come Follow Me which ended with Jesus’ ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and Peter preaching Christ to the people in the Jerusalem. It was our plan to have the movie following Come Follow Me show fulfillment of Jesus’ command at ascension to be his witnesses and take the gospel “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). However, when momentum built for a movie that could be used for Christmas outreach, To the Ends of the Earth was shelved and attention was turned to My Son, My Savior.However, before we stopped work on To the Ends of the Earth early in 2012, we discussed a main purpose/message of the movie and developed a story outline. Then in March of 2016 we resumed the work of movie concept, scriptural focus, scenes, characters, and dialogue. Final script was delivered to the movie production team at the end of 2017. To get to that point there were many conversations that resulted in numerous revisions. At times it was an exhausting process, but truly all worth the detailed effort. As far as expense for production, I will just say this. The cost was far, far less than typical production costs of movies today.
Rebekah Koestler (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 2:03:32pm
Pastor Hintz,

I have had the opportunity to view the previous movies that you have been a part of producing, and I have been thoroughly pleased. Each of the movies has had a certain topic that has been able to reach out to so many people. The new movie, “To the Ends of the Earth,” has a wonderful message focused on spreading the gospel message to all people. As mentioned in your presentation, the movie has already been created in Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin. You go on to state, “ our first three outreach movies, plans are to provide the movie in other languages, all with the goal of taking the gospel To the Ends of the Earth”. This is such a wonderful blessing to the WELS, and I look forward to viewing the movie myself.

As past movies have been such a success, I would certainly not hesitate in continuing the production of more biblical movies. The world revolves so much around technology. Therefore these movies give an amazing opportunity to reach out to so many strangers who need to hear about the love of Christ.

In addition to my previous comment above, are there possibilities of more movies to come? I believe this is a strong means of outreach and would love to see more movies produced. You wrap up the presentation by asking, “What greater message is there than the gospel of Jesus Christ?” and I could not agree more. So as followers of Christ it is our job to get this gospel message to all the ends of the earth.

Thank you for your thoughts and for your time!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 11:51:50am
This movie brings to an end the series of movies that was proposed and planned about a decade ago. At this point there is no plan for another series, although there has been a little conversation about such a thing. We will have to see how things develop, especially in view of a lot of change over in the staffing of the WELS units that took the lead with these productions.
Adam Arrowsmith (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 2:33:51pm
Pastor Hinz,

I was intrigued by the way you and your team put together the movie. Paul’s life was full of many different spiritual events and yet you focused on Lydia, the Slave girl, and the Jailor. You did a great job of tying together the title “To the Ends of the Earth” to these three examples. The movie does an excellent job of depicting the Holy Spirit work through the word and Paul.

When I read over your post, I thought that the order of production of these movies was very well done and thought out. I think that a movie with the perspective being from John the Baptist would be good for outreach. Just as John the Baptist pointed people to Christ, so too the movie would be pointing people to Christ.

After reading your article, you said that the movie was shot in Morocco and that it “was a cost-effecting way to produce a high-quality production.” I was wondering if you were to do an animated movie for children if that would be less cost-effecting. Could that be an answer to spreading the word “To the Ends of the Earth?”

Thank you for your contribution in helping to spread the gospel through the film.
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 11:54:55am
Thank you for your feedback. I like the suggestion about an animated movie for children. That's an idea that I will pass along to the new team of directors at the WELS Center of Mission and Ministry, and to the producers, especially of the Kids Connection.
Elena Thoma (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 4:22:19pm
Pastor Hintz,

I have seen all of the previous productions that have been released and have consistently been very impressed and moved by the works. You said “There is so much high-end television and film these days, people expect a certain level of production quality. A second-rate project would not connect with audiences as well.” I have found all of the productions to be very well done and to have excellent product quality. I am also very impressed that it only took ten days to shoot especially with the snowstorm that came directly before the shooting began.

I would love to see more productions and am saddened to hear that this is the last one. I genuinely believe they have succeeded in engaging it’s audience and enhancing the study of God’s Word, giving believers a new perspective and for those hearing this message for the first time, it has given them a beautiful and doctrinally sound glimpse of the glorious truth of the gospel in a very modern way.

An aspect of your article I found especially interesting was how you spoke about the “ ongoing challenge" of “ensuring everyone's pronunciations were correct.” I would love to hear more about the actors and actresses that were chosen to be in these films and play such well-known people.

Thank you for your article and your dedication to these productions!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-25 12:16:48pm
The production of the first 3 movies was done in the U.S. -- in Wisconsin. This 4th movie was handled differently, choosing to shoot the movie in Morocco. Actors and actresses were selected not only for their professional abilities but also to reflect greater authenticity to the people of the 1st century in connection with the events that took place in Philippi, as recorded in Acts 16. For example, the four who played the roles of the missionaries (Paul, Silas, Luke, Timothy) all live in Israel. The actress who played Lydia and the actor who played the jailer live in Morocco. Other minor characters and all the extras were from nearby areas in Morocco. (I jokingly say that there are no blue-eye, blonde hair characters of Germanic origin in the movie.) While most of the actors/actresses spoke good English, it was their second language. So at times help was given on pronunciation. One of the wonderful opportunities that I had for the 10 days on set was the conversations I had with the actors and actresses and other members of the production staff that often led to a discussion about Jesus.
Elena Thoma (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-29 4:19:26pm
Thank you so much for responding! I find that fascinating!

Thank you for all of your work in this project! These films are a wonderful blessing and an excellent way to spread the gospel!
Caleb Westra ((Martin Luther College)) 2018-10-25 1:11:32pm
Pastor Hintz,

I appreciated your story on how the movie “To the Ends of the Earth” was made. I have seen the other movies but not this one and it was cool to see the work and the production that goes into these movies. I really liked when you said, “What greater message is there than the gospel of Jesus Christ? And look at the massive audience of people to whom God wants his good news delivered — the world!” God wants us to share his message with the world, and I believe that these movies do a wonderful job of doing that.

After reading your article, I was left wondering if any new films could be in the works, and if you were to make a new film, what would it be centered on? The first two films were both kind of Easter outreaches and then “My Son My Savior” was a Christmas themed movie and then “To the Ends of the Earth” was a movie centered on the work Jesus left his followers to do. So I was just wondering if a new film was to be made what it would be centered on.
Also, I was wondering if these movies might ever be placed on a platform like Netflix or Amazon. You say, “With past movies, congregations gave DVDs to worship service guests and distributed them at outreach events.” All of these DVD’s had to be made and distributed, I just didn’t know if it would have been easier to put it on one of these platforms and have people access it from there.

Thank you for your contribution to the conference!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-27 10:24:14am
At this point, there are no plans for more films. Although if there were, there has been some informal conversation about focus on accounts in the Old Testament to trace God's amazing plan of salvation up to Christ coming. Also, it has been suggested to use the current four movies to develop an audio Bible study. These ideas are being passed along to the new directors of WELS Congregational Services.

If you click on the titles of the first three films at the beginning of the article, you'll find that those films are available on Amazon Prime. This last film, no doubt, in time will be available for streaming too.
Jakob Casper (MLC) 2018-10-26 11:23:14am
Pastor Hintz,

I appreciated the commentary on how similarly a movie like this is made to any other movie. How sets are needed, extras, and the difficulties and challenges that can impact the filming of a movie, such as a snowstorm in this case. Also just reading where you said there are “people whose faces truly represent the vast tapestry of God's people.” That makes me appreciate God’s incredible work in creating all of us that much more, and makes me appreciate all of the wonderful people he has placed in my life.

If there was one thing that I wish was more expanded on in the presentation, it would be the challenges of making a movie that people will find truly interesting and captivating, while staying all the way true to the source material of God’s Word. I would think that must be quite the challenge, possibly the greatest one involved in the making of a movie such as this one.

After reading your article, my eyes were opened to the wonderful work that goes on within our synod. I was wondering, have the same core group of people been working on all 4 of these movies from the very beginning with Road to Emmaus? Or have there been many new people providing input here and there for each individual installment? It was cool to see the numbers, that “over 600 congregations have ordered more than 50,000 DVDs.” The outreach is awesome and the impact these movies have is incredible. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next in the near future!

Thank you for your contribution to the conference!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-27 10:30:29am
For the most part, the same core group has been working on the development of the films. Credit goes to Pastors Dave Kehl, Paul Hartman and John Braun who joined me on the script development team, and also to Jas Lonnquist our writer. Special thanks to the producers, Steve Boettcher and Michael Trinklein along with their production staff. This was a great team to work with!
Isaac Schulz (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-29 7:04:44pm
Michael Hintz,

I would like to compliment you and your team on the thoroughness of the message of your new movie. You discovered a way to spread the gospel message extremely efficiently, using different Bible characters found in the life of Paul. It is so comforting to be reminded that the gospel grants “...truth to the seeker (Lydia), freedom to the oppressed (slave girl), and hope to the hopeless (jailer)". This is why your movie will be so effective and comforting to all viewers. I can still remember watching "The Road to Emmaus", and "Come Follow Me", noting how well put together these movies were, and how wonderfully the message of the gospel shown through.

As I read through your presentation I found it extremely interesting that the movie actors and actresses were actually from Morocco, “emphasizing that the gospel is for people To the Ends of the Earth”. This also brought up a question in my mind; were these actors and actresses Christians? I think that if they were, this movie is an amazing way for them to share their faith with others, and if not, it is a perfect way for a seed of faith to be planted in the hearts of these actors.

Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the conference! I am excited to watch your new movie and will pray that God would use it to reach as many people as possible.
Mike Hintz 2018-10-30 10:02:00am
As far as I know, most of the actors/actresses that had speaking parts were not Christians. With all of these I had conversations about Christ and the gospel of salvation over the period of the movie shoot. Many of those conversations stemmed from explaining points of Christian teaching in the script, which often the actors/actresses asked me about. God tells us that his word is powerful to work faith (Romans 1:16); so it is my confidence that God will accomplish his purpose (Isaiah 55:11) through the contact with the Word that the people acting in this movie had.
Isaac Schulz (Martin Luther College) 2018-11-11 9:43:34pm
That is such a blessing that you were able to teach these men and women God's word throughout the movie shoot. It never ceases to amaze me how God can use any and every situation as a tool to spread His Words. Thank you for your time and your work in the ministry, I will pray that God continues to bless your efforts and that your movie may help pant a seed of faith in the hearts of many people.
Kyle Lindemann (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-30 12:25:29am
Pastor Hintz,

The idea of the movie “To the Ends of the Earth” was, to me, very well thought out and planned. The theme of the movie, “God calls, equips, and sends messengers to share the good news of Jesus”, which is perfectly shown in the story of Paul. At the beginning of Paul’s life, everyone was scared of him because he persecuted Christians without end. But God called Paul, the worst of sinners, to spread God’s Word to the world. This is a great lesson for the viewers to show that God can use anyone to spread His gospel.

As I was reading about how long it took to film the movie, I was wondering how much you would film in one day? There must have been quite some time taken up with the snowstorm and the pronunciation coaching. With that in mind, you said that "The shoot took place this year for 10 days, at the end of January and first part of February." Ten days seems like a short amount of time to film a movie.

Thank you for your work of using different ways to spread the Word to other people! (175 words)
Mike Hintz 2018-10-30 10:19:41am
The movie shoot was January 26 - February 4. The first three days involved preparation: working with the main actors and actresses by going over the script and explaining why we write what we did. (On Saturday 1/27 I had a long discussion with the actor who played Paul -- got to know him and also had opportunity to witness to him.) The actual shooting of the movie started on January 29 and ended on February 3: six days, and the last day involved wrapping up many of the technical matters. A typical day on set started at 7 a.m. and usually lasted until 5 or 6 pm (on the last day we were running late and didn't finish until near 9 pm). It took one day to shoot a longer scene, or two shorter scene. For example, the scene of Paul and Lydia at the river took all day, and we even had to rush to get it done before the sun set behind the Atlas Mountains.
Andrew Kramer (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-30 10:30:11am
Pastor Hintz,

I really appreciate how you presented the article. It shows a deep understanding of not only the movie itself, but an in-depth observation of the elements necessary to make the movie. I especially liked the statement “Jesus is God's answer of love for people of every culture or background.” because it also describes the wide variety of people that are needed to produce, cast, record, and edit a movie.

I would be excited to find out whether any other movies will be made or even short features. I think that a movie or video series archived in the WELS website would be extremely beneficial to members as well as non-members.

The thing that caught my eye was the difference in plot between this movie and the other ones. These four different stories that are part of the movie and Paul’s journey definitely are “depicting that the message of Jesus is a power that changes even the most unlikely hearts.” We can all see ourselves in each of the characters involved. I was curious as to what made you pick these stories over others. Was it ever considered to use other apostles and their miracles as well? For example, Peter and John healing the lame man?

Thanks for your contribution to the conference!
Mike Hintz 2018-10-30 7:20:17pm
There was a lot of drama in the mission activity of Paul in Philippi: demon possessed girl, despairing jailer and earthquakes -- drama that made for good movie visuals. Most importantly, though, was the opportunity to deliver important spiritual messages to a modern audience through the experiences of Paul, Lydia, the slave girl, and the jailer -- as well as some of subplots including the likes of the merchant selling statues. Another reason we choose the mission outreach to Philippi is that this was the first time that the gospel crossed into Europe. Obviously, an important progression for us.
Josh (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-04 11:41:29am
I think using film as a way of gospel outreach is a great idea, and has certainly been done for some time now. However, now is almost the best time to be creating movies with biblical content because there are so many easier ways that people can view it. So many streaming services now offer the convenience of entertainment without even walking out the front door. Like Netflix, there's a streaming service entirely for religious movies/shows.

Of course, it's important to make sure that the script is strong, but since there are so many ways that people can see your content it's important to "keep feeding the beast". I like that you mentioned striking visuals and vivid sound, because it helps engage people into your product. When I am looking for new things to watch on Netflix or Hulu, I judge what to watch by the pictures, and the small clips they have of each show. That decision process ranges from 5 to 10 seconds, so visuals and audio are very important. It's sad that the gospel message alone isn't always enough to hook in an audience, but it's important to evolve in this business to assure that people will receive your/ his message.

Finally, I noticed that the film is dubbed in other languages. That's a huge benefit and helping you reach more audiences, of course you already know that. I think that more religious films and medias are well on their way to being in a bigger light.
Taylor Eve (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-04 11:07:22pm
Pastor Hinz,
I love this idea of "To the End of the Earth." It seems like a lot of people and effort came to be for creating it. Personally, I do not think enough people get to enjoy religious based movies. After reading about the theme and the characters, it is something I am very interested in. I especially liked reading how the whole movie came to be in respects of where to shoot it. After reading this article and learning more about the movie, I think it is a great way to get others involved in communicating with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I do believe that you are correct when you say, "use the medium of movies to tell the message." In today's society, many people are more involved in movies and television shows. This stem of four movies is a great way to get the attention of a much younger generation. Getting such a great message in the form of a movie is a way that I believe will connect to many. Thank you for the work you have done, and providing us with a glimpse of the movie.
Leah Mielke & Logan Schroeder (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-07 7:44:59pm
Pastor Hintz,

Thank you for providing an inside look at the making of these movies. It was very interesting to learn a little about the production process because both of us have grown up watching snippets of these movies in church as well as doing Bible classes on them, so we are very familiar with them.

Our question for you is:

Are there any other movies in the works? If so, what are the themes for them going to be / what stories are they going to be portraying? We would love to see more movies being made as they are very popular and powerful.
Mike Hintz 2018-11-09 3:30:47pm
At this point, there are no plans for more films. Although if there were, there has been some informal conversation about focus on accounts in the Old Testament to trace God's amazing plan of salvation up to Christ coming. Also, it has been suggested to use the current four movies to develop an audio Bible study. These ideas are being passed along to the new directors of WELS Congregational Services. (At the end of last year, I retired from the office of WELS Evangelism Director. Still active in ministry, though. Currently, serving a congregation that has a pastoral vacancy.)
Nathan Skrade (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-11 1:26:13am
Would I be correct in assuming that The Ten Commandments and The Passion of Christ are the most popular films based off of writings in the Bible? It is not very common for people to hear of movies like this one. What is about those two movies that made them more popular than movies like this one? Could this movie find some appeal with non-religious audiences?
What did you think about Morocco? What places did you stay at for the night? What were the sanitation conditions like?
Also, I noticed that this movie seems specifically Lutheran rather than generally Christian. The part about Lydia seems to coincide with the Lutheran idea that salvation is through faith alone and not by works.
Nathan Skrade