The Crucifixion and Death of a man called Jesus
By By James Crawford
Easter will feel a bit more alive this year as residents of Atmore are treated to a live reenactment of the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
The dramatization of salvation's cost is being presented by The Cross Ministry, founded by David Ball, on Good Friday at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Atmore.
The event is being sponsored by First United Methodist Church of Atmore, First Presbyterian Church of Atmore, and the First Baptist Church of Atmore .
The presentation is the ministry of Dr. David Ball, who founded the dramatic group and continues to be its chief organizer.
The purpose of the Cross Ministry is the apologetic presentation of the Christian faith.
The ministry accomplishes this through dramatic presentations such as this one and others that are used from time to time on various subject matters to help spread their message.
Ball had been performing a smaller version of the presentation for approximately 10 years when in 2000 he decided to enlarge the show to make it more dramatic and at that time formed the board of directors and organized a tax-exempt organization.
The ministry supports a traveling team that consists primarily of Ball and his wife Sarah Dale Ball, who is the soloist, a sound and light technician, at least six set-up personnel and one or two bus drivers.
The group usually depends on local churches generosity for their meals and lodging .
The dedicated group spends four to five hours setting up for the presentation which itself lasts about an hour.
Ball narrates the part-live, part slide dramatic presentation that also boasts the trappings of a stage production.
The show consists of 10 different scenes. A local young adult male is usually provided by the hosting organization to play the part of the crucified Jesus and six young adult men and women are also provided to play the parts of angles.
Altogether, the group has invested over $100,000 to fund the project from the start and each presentation adds to that amount.
"We are totally dependent upon the generosity of Christian people to pay our debts.
"We have never been to a church that did not compliment us on the quality and authenticity of the production and when they know our need, churches usually take care of us," said Ball.
The group doesn't charge the churches for the presentation, instead relying on love offerings to keep their show on the road.
All funds collected go directly to the Cross Ministry, a tax exempt organization governed by a Board of Directors.
The board consists of 11 men and one woman who serve on the active board.
The ex-officio member is the Honorable Governor Ronnie Musgrove, the governor of the state of Mississippi.
The group also maintains a web site, iamtheway.com that also highlights their mission.
The presentations are available to any religious, social or civic group that supports their ideals.
Ball is a native of Columbia, Miss. He and his wife and three children are members of Batesville First Baptist Church in Batesville, Miss., where they currently reside.
While at Batesville First Baptist, Ball has served as chairman of the deaconate and the pulpit committee, Sunday School superintendent, and as a Sunday school teacher for 30 years.
He graduated from the University of Mississippi and has practiced family medicine for 33 years with a partnership of doctors at Batesville Clinic.