UPDATE: Pastor Skip Ball is the first Volunteer Chaplain of the Malibu Sheriff's Department. He will be used during the aftermath of serious traffic accidents, assisting during disasters, death notification, support for families of suicide victims, counseling help for addictions and marital conflicts.
www.malibutimes.com January 6, 2011 issue
I grew up in a family of people who all knew they were bound for heaven. Their faith was strong, their zeal infectious and their prayer life was centered in Christ. We learned to trust God for the food on our table, for gas in the car and for our friends and neighbors to find Christ. I also grew up in the hippie generation and it was apparent to me that the world was changing culturally and morally. At the age of 16, I made a public confession to follow Christ and serve Him wherever He called. I well remember saying, "Lord, I'll go wherever you send me even if it means digging ditches in Africa."
After training for ministry I was appointed to a Free Methodist Church in Los Angeles area and it was there that I knew my life would be where the rubber met the road. I found my nitch by using elements of the arts to present the gospel. Teens were captivated by the musicals and multimedia presentations. I wrote and produced dramas. My style was 'out of the box.' The fruit was evident. Many found Christ through this media. Evangelism and discipleship became a driving force in my ministry.
In 1973 I was called to plant churches in England. For nearly 18 years I worked the streets, in the Pubs, parks and schools, witnessing through the media of concerts, puppet shows, street drama, creative dialogs, all for the purpose of drawing attention to the call of Christ. Teens were converted on the streets. Parents found Christ as they saw their children transformed and then the grandparents responded. Three churches were planted. In one church alone, we produced 13 consecutive Christian musicals where people from all around the counties came to hear the gospel. We performed them in Clubs, barns, warehouses and churches.
In 1992 I returned to the U.S. with my family where I finished my MA at Fuller Seminary in Communications and Church Planting. There I became aware of a great need to reach the people of Malibu where artists, celebrities, producers and writers influence the world through their talents. They need to hear the Good News on their own level. I remembered that Paul went to Athens and talked about Jesus, quoting from their own philosophers. He spoke with Kings about the King of all. He brought Christ to Rome.
I was reminded of Jesus leaving the Synagogue where his message was rejected to head down to the lakeside where people were willing to hear what He had to say. He told stories the people could understand. He used the elements of water, soil, a boat, a storm and nature itself to tell them His Story, the story of redemption. He contextualized the Good News so that the listeners could understand from those things around them.
In the mid-nineties I was hired as the Director of Adult ministries at Malibu Presbyterian church and there I saw first-hand that using the arts in a community of artists, opened doors and changed broken lives. I published my first novel and wrote true short stories for Christian magazines.
For 12 years my passion has grown for this community. Epic of Malibu is the opportunity that God has placed before me. We are planting a church in Malibu where we can use all the elements of art: theater, music, dance and technology to tell an Epic story of God's love for fallen human beings. This church is all about Christ and how He comes to where we are, using what we understand, to know Him in all His richness. He is the Artist of our lives, the Author of our story.