The Ekballo Mission Conference 2012 Video and Audio

Grace Bible Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi has uploaded all of the video and audio from the recently concluded Ekballo Mission Conference 2012 held on the weekend of October 26-28. Speakers included To Every Tribe’s founder and president, David Sitton, TETM Mexico Field Director A.J. Gibson, Executive Director Ron Sanford, Center for Pioneer Church Planting Director Steve Best, and Scott Anderson, the Executive Director for Desiring God Ministries. Some of the slide presentations that were used in the conference are also available in the .pdf format.

The video and audio can be downloaded or simply played from the Grace Bible Church website here: Ekballo Mission Conference 2012.

Here are the titles of the sessions:

Ekballo: Expel the Church; Harvest the Nations
Speaker: David Sitton – President, To Every Tribe Ministries (TETM)

Sacrificial Mission Senders: Missionary Martyrs Need Sending Martyrs
Speaker: A. J. Gibson – Mexico Field Director, TETM

The Sending Church: Moving Beyond the “Pray and Pay” Mentality
Workshop Speaker: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM

Don’t Complicate the Missionary Call
Workshop Speakers: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM
Steve Best – Director, Center for Pioneer Church Planting, TETM

Ekballo Prayer: The Essential Nature of Prayer in the Gospel Mission
Speaker: Scott Anderson – Executive Director, Desiring God

Unreached Peoples: Who and Where They Are, How and Why We Should Reach Them
Speaker: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM

Violent Faith Glorifies God Advances the Kingdom
Speaker: David Sitton – President, To Every Tribe Ministries TETM

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Fruitfulness in mission begins with death

The following is an excerpt from A.J. Gibson’s presentation October 27 at the Ekballo Mid-America  Conference, Grace Bible Church, Olive Branch, Mississippi. A.J. Gibson is the Mexico Field Director for To Every Tribe.

We are called to fall into the ground and die

“What will it take to finish the mission? If reaching the remaining unreached peoples of the earth with the gospel is our task, what kind of people will the church need to accomplish the task? What kind of commitment must God’s people make in order to see this through? What will it cost? What kind of missionary – what kind of man or woman or family – does it take to reach the far-flung, isolated, and often resistant, suspicious, and hostile unreached peoples of the earth?

“The gospel itself answers that question for us. The gospel points us to Jesus Christ and the example he set for us, his followers. Shortly before his arrest, Jesus predicted his own death, reflected on his death, and interpreted his death for his disciples:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ (John 12:24)

“This principle is a universal one. This principle is woven into the very fabric of nature and it lies at the heart of all fruitful, long-lasting ministry. Fruitfulness – life-yielding, life-producing fruit bearing – begins with death. Christ applies this principle to his disciples. Not only is this principle true of Jesus, but it is true of his followers. If Christ’s disciples were to bear much fruit – if they were not going to remain alone – they too must fall into the ground and die:

‘Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am there will my servant be also.’ (John 12:25)

“Those who would follow Jesus on his fruit-bearing, life-giving mission would have to follow him in laying down their lives. When Jesus sends out the 12 apostles to preach the gospel, he tells them exactly what it will cost them to accomplish the mission:

‘Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’ (Matthew 10:38)

“That’s what it will take. That’s the cost. That’s the kind of missionary that is needed to reach the far-flung, isolated, resistant, suspicious, hostile, unreached peoples of the earth.

Christ’s call is not limited to missionaries

“It would be a mistake, however, to read these passages and assume that this call to flow Christ in dying is limited to those who carry the gospel to others. It’s not. It’s not limited to missionaries.

“Jesus makes these kinds of demands not only of his own 12 apostles in private conversations, he makes these kinds of demands to large crowds of curious, would-be-but-still-largely-uncommitted followers.

“In Luke 14:25 we’re told that Jesus is being followed by “great crowds”. To these “great crowds” Christ says,

if anyone comes to me [any aspiring disciple, ajg] and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple [the first ultimatum, ajg]. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be be my disciple [the second ultimatum, ajg].

“After urging the crowd to count the cost, Christ concludes this message by telling them that as a result of counting the cost,

any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” [the third ultimatum, ajg]

“Consider the cost. It will cost you everything. It will cost you your family. It will cost you all of your possessions. It will cost you your life.

“These words are breathtaking. Yet they are not isolated words. Jesus repeatedly calls people to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow him in order to lose their life for his sake and the gospel’s.

Radical discipleship fuels mission

“Mission history is full of men and women who read Jesus’ words and took them at face value. They accepted them, they embraced them, they pursued them, and they lived out those demands in all of their literal glory.

“Five such men were the ‘Ecuador Five’. These were men who died on the field to reach the Waodani tribe. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Make no mistake about it, the ‘Ecuador Five’ had fallen into the ground and died long before they departed from American soil for Ecuador, long before they were slaughtered with spears on the banks of the Curaray River.

“They counted the cost. They put all of their eggs into one basket. They made themselves ignitable. They became expendable. They heard Jesus’ words and chose to put them to the utmost test. They saw missionary life as ‘a chance to die’, and they surrendered themselves to living a life of reckless abandon.

“The call of Jesus to radical discipleship – which isn’t really radical at all – has fueled the fire of missions for generations. It’s not about what missionaries have given up, or what they have sacrificed. It’s really all about Jesus. These men and women haven’t read Jesus’ calls to radical discipleship in a negative light. They’ve seen them as positive statements because they are all promises. Jesus’ demands are full of joyful returns.

“None of us are called to renounce all and take up our cross and lose our lives simply to be left empty-handed. There’s a return on the investment. Like Jesus, we endure the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2), because there’s an alternative to life saving, cross avoiding, and possessions grasping. That alternative is an eternal weight of glory. Like Jesus, it’s for the joy set before us that we answer his call.

“The joy that Jesus sets before us is himself. It really is all about HIM! He invites us to trade one treasure for another, and He’s the Treasure! He’s the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46),  and the Treasure Hidden in the Field (Matthew 13:44).

“Christ calls us to lose our lives, but by doing so, he offers us the only true way to save our lives. When he says, three times, “he cannot be my disciple”, that sounds like a negative statement. But  really, it’s a positive statement because in them is an offer. We are offered to know him, to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and fellowship of his suffering, and to be made conformable to Him in His death (Philippians 3:10).

“Our goal, at To Every Tribe, is to sound the call for more men and women who will not count their life dear unto themselves, but will answer Christ’s call to lose their lives. We want to rally a generation of men and women who stand up and say, ‘Here am I; send me. I am willing to go. I will gladly join the great cloud of witnesses who set their eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, and who will count all things as loss for his sake and the gospel’s.'” — A.J. Gibson, “Sacrificial Mission Senders”, Ekballo Missions Conference


Ekballo: Mid-America

Beginning today through Sunday, To Every Tribe is in the Memphis, Tennessee area for Ekballo: Mid-America missions conference. The conference is being hosted by Grace Bible Church of Olive Branch, Mississippi.

I can remember, as a kid, the curios and the banners and the weird animal skins and the slide projectors when the missionaries came to town. Somewhere I think I still have the paperweight globe from one of those missions conferences.

Ekballo: Mid-America is this and then some. The speakers this weekend will challenge us to think about what it means to take the gospel to the remote corners of the world. Reaching the unreached peoples in hard-to-reach places does involve a bit of Indiana-Jones-kind-of-mission. But much more is involved in reaching unreached peoples. This weekend we will tackle questions such as “What would it mean to be a self-sacrificial sender in the great task of missions?”, and “What would it look like for your congregation to be a sending church?”

Reaching the unreached is a team effort involving all sorts of people and gifts in a local church. Ekballo: Mid-America is going to challenge us to think Biblically about our responsibility to be on mission for Christ’s glory to the end of the earth, regardless of our station in life.

More information about Ekballo: Mid-America can be found here. If you cannot attend, please pray for the conference, the To Every Tribe team, and Grace Bible Church of Olive Branch. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will Ekballo His workers to unreached people groups everywhere.


David Mathis: The goal of missions is the world-wide worship of the God-man

In Genesis 1:26-28, the Creator commissioned His creatures to take his image to the ends of the earth. Made in God’s image, Adam and Eve were to multiply and fill the earth with image-bearers. It was God’s design that those in his image would fill the earth with His worship. This continues to be the commission of the gospel, filling the earth with image-bearing worshipers.


David Mathis highlights this objective in a new book from Crossway, “Finish the Mission”:

“At the end of the day, global missions is about the worship of this spectacular Jesus. The goal of missions is the worldwide worship of the God-man by his redeemed people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The outcome of missions is all peoples delighting to praise Jesus. And the motivation for missions is the enjoyment that his people have in him. Missions aims at, brings, about, and is fueled by the worship of Jesus.

“…Missions is about Jesus’s global glory. From beginning to end – in target, effect, and impetus – missions centers on the worldwide fame of the Messiah in the praises of his diverse peoples from every tribe, tongue, and nation. What’s at stake in missions is the universal honor of the Father in the global glory of his Son in the joy of all the peoples.

“…Two passages in Matthew get to the heart of missions. Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ Missions means sending out workers into the global harvest.

“A second passage is Jesus’s sending out of his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, the epic-making summons we call ‘the Great Commission.’ Here, Jesus’s command, ‘make disciples of all nations,’ follows the charge to ‘go’ – to be sent out. Sending out and going are two sides of the same coin. Jesus and his established church send out, and those who go are ‘the sent ones,’ or ‘missionaries.’ So missions is the church’s sending out of missionaries (the sent ones) to pioneer the church among peoples who otherwise have no access to the gospel.” – David Mathis, “Jesus Never Lies”, in “Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged”, ed. John Piper & David Mathis

Those who are unreached and unengaged need to hear about the wonder, majesty, and beauty of Jesus. Christ’s glory is to be taken to the ends of the earth through the church’s sending. To Every Tribe exists to help facilitate that mission. We train. We help send. The word for “send out” in Matthew 9:38 is “ekballo”. We’re all about ekballo, helping the church propel missionaries to hard-to-get-to places where people who have never heard the name of Jesus will hear his glory proclaimed.

What are you doing to help spread Jesus’s global glory?


The Ekballo Initiative

A Glory-of-God-Centered

Theologically Reformed Missionary Movement

David Sitton, President, To Every Tribe


Ekballo in Greek means to “forcibly expel”; “to thrust out violently”; “to fling.”  Ekballo is to “send out” (workers) in Matthew 9:38 and “drive out” (demons) in Matthew 10:1.  It is a spiritually violent and authoritative word.  When Jesus, prompted by our prayer, says, “Go!,” demons vacate and missionaries relocate.

Ekballo Vision

God’s name will be made known among the most neglected, hostile, hard-to-get-to ethnicities remaining without a credible gospel witness within their language and culture.[1]

These people groups will be lovingly targeted through a strategic, God-centered, evangelistic, church planting initiative.

Ekballo Distinctives

Ekballo is unique in its combined commitment to:

  • Biblical Theology — do mission from a theologically Reformed understanding of Scripture.
  • Unreached Peoples — focus new mission efforts and finances on the remaining unreached/unengaged people groups of the world.[2]
  • Church Planting — evangelize and establish self-led, self-sustaining, self-reproducing, evangelical churches.

Ekballo Goals

1. Call the church to repentance and re-focus upon the mission of engaging all remaining unreached people groups with a church planting effort.

2. Stimulate worship, prayer and fasting on behalf of specific unreached people groups.

3. Educate the Christian community about the people groups of the world who have no access to the evangelical gospel through:

  • Unreached People Profiles that will inform the church of the remaining need;
  • Promoting ethno-theological [3] training as a necessity for effective cross-cultural ministry;
  • Developing partnerships among churches, organizations, and individuals for the purpose of learning from one another, praying together, and formulating strategies to adopt and engage these target peoples.

4. Ekballo Mission Conferences to identify potential missionaries and sending partners who will then be networked and resourced to more quickly get the gospel to unreached regions.

Inform  –  Pray  –  Adopt  –  Prepare  –  Give  –  Send  –  Go  –  Multiply  –  Finish the Mission


Ekballo (Immediate) Objectives

1. Develop an Ekballo Leadership Team who will commit themselves to the Ekballo vision.

2. Initiate a movement of prayer and fasting which is focused upon unreached peoples.

3. Host an annual Ekballo Mission Conference.

4. Develop a network of speakers and leaders who will provide teaching and practical training for veteran and aspiring missionaries, sending churches, and mission agencies.

5. Develop a media presence and website designed to promote the vision of Ekballo.

Ekballo Mission Conferences

Characteristics of Ekballo Mission Conferences:

  • Annual
  • Regional – strategically held in different regions of the country each year so that Ekballo is a movement larger than any single ministry or church, thus providing the body of Christ with a continuous mission emphasis throughout the various regions of North America.
  • Tunnel-visioned intentionally upon the task of reaching unreached people groups.

Ekballo Mission Conferences will endeavor to serve the body of Christ with exhortation, up-to-date mission information, and practical mobilization through plenary teaching sessions, targeted break-out seminars, and conference-wide worship and concerts of prayer.

Mission Partnerships are essential for reaching the nations for Jesus.  The following groups of people represent the broad spectrum of participants we hope to serve through the Ekballo Initiative:

1. Radical Goers:

  • Aspiring Missionaries — Ekballo leadership will prepare a Basic Things Seminar to answer the most common questions and practical concerns new missionaries typically encounter
  • Veteran Missionaries — Ekballo will arrange  specific topical seminars on subjects such as ministry burnout, single women missionaries, spiritual warfare, financial issues, family and marriage issues, danger and persecution, resolving team conflict, mission strategy, etc. to purposefully encourage missionary families and/or individuals.

2. Radical Senders:   Ekballo will challenge non-going believers to give as sacrificially of their financial resources as going believers give of their lives.  Both sacrificial going and sending glorify God.

3. Radical Intercessors:  Ekballo will seek to foster a growing movement of intercessory prayer and fasting for the speedier advance of the gospel among the unreached.

4. Local Churches and Mission Agencies:  Ekballo will prepare practical seminars to equip local churches and sending agencies on how to better care for their missionaries and navigate the relationship between missionaries, local churches, and mission agencies.

[1] Ekballo targets people groups who have no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  2.8 billion individuals (1/3 of the world’s population) presently reside within more than 6,900 unreached people groups around the world.  Malachi 1:11; Habakkuk 2:14; Romans 15:20-21.

[2] 97% of the world’s missionaries are working in places where the gospel is already well established.  Consequently, less than 0.01% of every dollar given to “mission” actually goes towards truly unreached peoples.

[3] Theology explains what the bible means; ethno-theology enables one to explain what the bible means cross-culturally.


Forcibly Flung to the Nations – Ekballo

The gospel task, essentially, is to take territory for the Kingdom of God.  However, we’re not after geographical conquest.  Rather, we target spiritual strongholds where Satan has exerted his control for centuries.  We are compelled to go after the hearts and souls of people for whom Christ died.

To advance the gospel means that we are to go everywhere extending the Name and the Reign of Christ throughout all of the earth.  That’s the Mission.  God makes his own name great among all of the ethnicities of the earth1 and he does so through the geographical scattering of his people.2

The harvest of nations is an enormous task requiring thousands more of well mentored missionaries than are presently available.  What should be our response to this labor force deficit?

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go!  I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.3

There is a Lord of the harvest.  I’m so grateful that the work of the gospel around the world is in the hands of One who is big enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to manage it.  The harvest of nations is the Lord’s work and he will do exactly what he wants to with it.

As Lord of the harvest Jesus will have a full crop of all the elect from all of the people groups of the world.4 Likewise, he will have a full contingency of harvesters who are necessary to gather them.  All of the goers, all of the martyrs, all of the intercessors and financial senders who are necessary – Jesus will have a full number of everyone and everything that he intends to use for the ingathering of a People for his name and glory.  Jesus is the Lord of the harvest.

There are workers in the harvest. This speaks to the opportunity we have of working with Christ.  Don’t ever forget the magnitude of this privilege.  We get to be missionaries for Jesus Christ!  It is indescribable grace that Jesus allows us to be partners in mission with him.  We get the joy of being front-line spokesmen for Jesus Christ in the far-flung places where his salvation is unknown!

The workers in the harvest are to do two things.  First, we are instructed to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers.”  Send out in Greek is ekballo, which means to “thrust out violently”; to “forcibly expel”; to “fling out.”  It is a spiritually violent and authoritative word, used for example, to describe the driving out of demons.5 When Jesus commands demons to leave a person or place, they immediately relocate.  In the same way, as we pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers, we are asking Jesus to strategically and forcibly redeploy his people into his worldwide harvest.


Prayer is the biblical way, primarily, that missionaries are inwardly compelled to change locations and go somewhere with the gospel.6 We don’t try to twist anyone’s arm or talk anyone into anything.  We pray that the Lord of the harvest will ekballo a work force to accomplish his own work.  In a refreshing way, instead of trying to argue people into becoming missionaries, we go over their heads.  We ask the Lord to compel those whom he wants to carry his gospel seed bags and drive his harvesting combines.  The same authority that expels demons in Jesus’ name propels missionaries to joyfully “pack their coffins” en route for remote and hostile places where Jesus is not known.  When Jesus says, “go!” demons vacate and missionaries relocate.  We do the praying and Jesus does the flinging!

Secondly, disciples are told to pray for harvesters and… What is the first word of Luke 10:3? – “GO!”  Pray and go.  The sense of the text is that we should pray for laborers to go and then get busy being a part of the answer to our own prayers!  This is what the Church is called to do.   We are to pray and go.  Praying, going and sending glorifies God!

Important Question: If working with Christ in the gospel around the world is such a privilege, why is it necessary, so often, for the Lord to forcibly expel his laborers into the mission?  Why aren’t potential laborers lining up for this incredible opportunity?

The answer is in the next phrase.  Jesus forcefully reiterates the implications of going.  “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”7

Jesus sends lambs out among wolves!  Is there any doubt what the outcome of that will be?  Jesus is describing a slaughter.  As we go in his name, Jesus says, we’re going as the main course meal!  That’s what lambs are to wolves.  This is a primary reason people refuse to go.  Even believers are not usually eager to line up for a blood bath!

And so, the Lord ekballoes us.  He forcibly flings us out into the world by his grace.  He does it by transforming our hearts.  He makes himself so valuable to us, that suddenly, we begin to “break the jar and pour out all of the oil upon his feet.”8 Our fears and love for this world disintegrate and morph into a passion for his name and compassion for perishing people.  So much so, that nothing else matters anymore.  Jesus becomes our most treasured “pearl of great price” and we find ourselves doing strange things.  We begin to sell homes and land and property.  We begin to take our families, even our young children, into some of the most dangerous and difficult places in the world.  And we do it with joy, because Jesus and the gospel are worth it!

This is what Jesus did.9 He saw the people and was moved by compassion for them because they were distressed, harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus came to earth as the Lamb of God to die.  That was the plan from the beginning.  The slaughter of Christ on the cross wasn’t an afterthought or an accident. The Lamb of God intentionally came to die for his sheep.10 After Jesus rose from the dead, he turned to his disciples and said, “As my Father sends me, so send I you.”11

That’s how people become missionaries and how the world will be won for Christ.  That’s how it works.

We do not need a missionary calling.  If we are believers in Jesus Christ we are called to Christ!  If we are called to Christ we are simultaneously called to his mission.  And when we are called to his mission, we don’t “cut and run” when the going gets tough and treacherous.

I’m asking the Lord to ekballo (forcibly expel) every believer in Christ who reads these words.   Some will be ekballoed to actually go as missionary martyrs.  Some will be ekballoed into financial martyrdom, as believers in the early church did.12 First century disciples were frequently compelled by the Spirit of God and by the joy of Christ in their hearts to give in ridiculous ways.  Some of them actually sold homes; some gave land, and many hundreds of thousands of others shed their blood and guts, in extraordinary ways, in order to see to it that the gospel would go to the ends of the earth.

This is the mission of God.  Missionary martyrs going, financial martyrs sending; and all of us praying and working together, for the gospel and the glory of God to be known and enjoyed by all peoples.


1 Malachi 1:11

2 Matthew 28:18

3 Luke 10:2-3

4 John 6:39; Revelation 5:9

5 Matthew 10:1

6 Persecution is one way that workers are outwardly compelled to change locations and go with the gospel. Acts 8:1-4

7 Luke 10:3

8 Mark 14:3-4

9 Matthew 9:35-37

10 John 10:15

11 John 20:21

12 Acts 2:45; Acts 4:32-36

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