I first heard of the Ekballo Project nearly three years ago, summer of 2012. Tyler Connell and I were sharing a cup of coffee along the coast of Turkey—one of the most unreached nations in the world with 77 million Muslims and only around 3500 believers. At that time it was nothing more than a idea—I’m not sure it has even been scribbled on the back of a napkin yet.
Tyler and Jacob were just a rag tag couple of guys who had a word, had an idea to touch the world for the nations, and an idea of how to do it—but no money or clear path on how to fully execute their plan. I was doubtful. It sounded good—but I wasn’t sure if they would pull together, dig in, and labor to see their dream come to fruition.
After three years of tireless work, Tyler and Jacob solidified a team and have produced some amazing short films that are impacting youth all around America—awakening them to Christ’s call to go to the nations and fulfill the Great Commission.
I was able to track down Tyler and get a short interview out of him. Please read, share, go, and be convicted to work hard in order to see the words that God has spoken over your life come to pass.
AS: Tyler, you and a small group of others are producing short videos titled “The Ekballo Project”. First, what is “The Ekballo Project”?
TC: The Ekballo Project is a multimedia mobilization project, capturing through the medium of film, what God is doing in the most unreached nations: Then using that as mobilizing spark on college campuses and churches across America. We exist to spark a surrendered and resounding “yes” in individual hearts to whatever and wherever God leads them with the Gospel.
Our vision is two-fold:
1.) We desire to see children of God from every corner of the earth sent into the unreached, unengaged regions of the world, compelled by the Love of Christ and the gladness of saying “yes” to Him.
2.) We desire to see God’s children living courageously – unconfined by the cages of societal norms, insecurity, fear, and lifeless religion.
Ekballo is the Greek word translated as “send” in Matthew 9:38. It means to eject (literally or figuratively); bring forth, cast (forth, out), drive (out), expel, leave, pluck (pull, take, thrust) out, put forth (out), send away (forth, out).
AS: How did it come about?
TC: Well, that’s a long story, but I’ll give you the shortened version. It came out of a season in early 2012 of fasting and prayer in the tiny town of Herrnhut, Germany, a land rich with spiritual history known for 24-7 worship and a pioneering-missionary spirit. While I was there, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit for a 3 day period where we had a series of “visions” and “dreams” where we saw vast oceans of people who had never heard the Gospel and were slipping into an eternal hell. Then we saw masses of young people in America gathering and waiting to be given an assignment.
In the dreams we were made aware of these films that had captured what God was doing in the most “unreached’ and “unengaged” regions of the world, these films were being shown on college campuses, and these masses of young people were being inspired and “receiving” their assignment through the films. So, with no previous film experience and no money, a friend and I started out on this journey of how we could accomplish the vision God had given us. In our weakness He’s continually made strong.
AS: What does Ekballo mean?
TC: Ekballo is the Greek word translated as “send” in Matthew 9:38. It means to eject (literally or figuratively); bring forth, cast (forth, out), drive (out), expel, leave, pluck (pull, take, thrust) out, put forth (out), send away (forth, out). So in Matthew 9 when Jesus sees the reality of the overwhelming harvest and the underwhelming numbers of laborers to help them and lead them he says “pray like this, Lord of the Harvest “violently thrust forth” laborers”, in other words, I like to think He’s saying, take a believer from the status quo of normal living, shake them up and throw them into the harvest.
AS: What is the end goal of this project?
The aim of this project is to wake people up to the love of God and the need for His name to be spread on this earth. Through film, media, and direct interaction, we desire to see a multitude thrust forth into the ripe harvest fields of the earth, proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and living lives of surrender, fearlessness, and love.
AS: In the process of embarking on producing a series of short films, what has been some of the greatest hurdles in getting, and keeping, the project off the ground?
TC: Three things, 1. Learning to work in team. Communication is EVERYTHING. Without it, nothing moves forward. 2. Being un-offendable. Whether that’s a teammate, another ministry or collaborator, a “lost” person, or even God. Choosing to keep your heart right in perspective and love and mercy will keep away the poison of bitterness which seeks to destroy any forward motion. 3. God’s time-table isn’t my time-table. We have our plans, and our strong opinions of how things should go. But in the end we’re signing up for the biggest wrestling match EVER with God if we don’t yield to his ways, timing, and press into patience and hope. We’ve learned that God will usually delay something in order to get the most breakthrough out of our own personal hearts.
AS: You have just released the first piece of a series from the Himalayas (View above by hitting the PLAY ICON or view directly below the post). Tell me, what has impacted, or marked, you the most as you have been producing this series?
TC: Yes, we’re so excited about this release! The most impactful aspect of all of this is seeing the daily faithfulness and kindness of God. At times, we’ve had no money, been emotionally broken, tired, confused, and wanted to quit time and time again. But Jesus, ALWAYS, is enough and provides EXACTLY what we need in the moment.
AS: When can we expect the rest of the series to be released?
TC: Life in the Himalayas Part 2 will be released at the beginning of March and Part 3 the end of April! P.S. Spoiler alert: Watch out for next years launch of Life in The Desert.
AS: How can people across the western world use these resources to mobilize people to GO and fulfill the Great Commission?
TC: I’d encourage every believer to show the film in their homes, churches, dorm rooms, etc… Use it as a tool to create a culture to pray for the unreached world. We can’t turn a deaf ear or blind eye to the fact that there’s 2.9 billion people who have YET to hear that Jesus is the way to the Father. If you didn’t know that, now you do, and you’re responsible. We have to do something about it. We have to PRAY, and be the answer to that prayer.
Photo provided by: Ekballoproject.com