Article Library of Christian Thoughts January 19, 2018
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Committing to Urban Ministry Work
Committing to do Urban Ministry takes a huge step of faith. You must be 100% sure that this is truly what God has called you to do. Because it's not easy, especially in the beginning. Myself and my wife met at Southeastern College in Lakeland, Fla. where I was studying pastoral theology with a concentration in youth ministry.

My friend Tommy Kyllonen ("UrbanD") wrote this article
 
Committing to do Urban Ministry takes a huge step of faith.  You must be 100% sure that this is truly what God has called you to do. Because it's not easy, especially in the beginning. Myself and my wife met at Southeastern College in Lakeland, Fla. where I was studying pastoral theology with a concentration in youth ministry.

We knew God had called us to do youth ministry in an urban setting. I grew up in Philly, and my wife in NYC, so with our backgrounds we were comfortable with that. Many of my college classmates went on to take youth groups of 50-100 kids with a nice salary and benefit package at suburban churches. It would have been easy to go that route (especially since we had some big school loans), but it wasn't what God had in store for us.

Shortly after graduating and getting married in 1996, God opened the doors for us to go to a small inner-city church in Tampa, Fla. called Crossover. There were 4 teens, and roughly 40 adults. My salary was $100 a month from the church, and $500 from a business man. I figured, hey, it's start, I'll get a part- time job. But, God miraculously supplied some outside support from a church I did my internship at. It supplied just enough for me to not get a job. My wife was also working full time and taking classes for her Master's Degree in counseling. The first few years were tough financially and challenging in many ways. But, spiritually it was incredibly rewarding! We saw many teens come to Christ for the first time and begin to regularly attend and get discipled.

The Lord challenged me with this scenario:
(A)  Would I rather have a nice car, a nice house, money in the bank, and be struggling to really reach youth and see fruit from the ministry
....or
(B)  Would I rather struggle some (but our basic needs were provided), and see real fruit and see lives changed.
I'd choose to see fruit all day! That's what's it's all about. We found purpose in our lives as we were fulfilling our God given calling. Urban ministry isn't glamorous, although you get your occasional pat on the back from other ministries. Honestly, most wouldn't want to give up what they have to do this type of ministry. But, we're not doing it for man's approval or for a pat on the back. We're doing this for Christ.

To make a long story short let me fast forward it to the present. We now have over 200 youth and young adults that attend our hip-hop youth service on a weekly basis. We put on concerts every 3 months that attract 400-500 on average, with many accepting Christ each time. The church has actually grown as a result of the youth ministry, as most of the attendees are now in their 20's. Financially, the church is doing much better, and able to pay me on a more regular basis. Through my wife also working full time we were able to buy a house not far from the church. This has only happened because we've been faithful, consistent, and have built up leaders around us. Those are key elements.

Being a nationally signed Christian Rap Artist I could easily leave the church and go do my music full time and further my career in that aspect. If I did that, I would have a whole lot less stress as well :) When I signed with Seventh Street Records one of my requirements was that I would be in control of my booking so I could continue to do the youth ministry. I know that God's main calling for me is to do this hip-hop ministry, and break new ground at my church.

I have to turn down concerts and outside ministry opportunities all the time, but that's the decision I've made. I still do travel, but it's limited to just a few days at a time, and I rarely miss a Thursday night service at our ministry. Some people think I'm crazy. But this keeps me real! I still drive the old vans to pick up kids in the projects. I still take out the trash and clean up around the church. I wouldn't ask my leaders to do anything I wouldn't or haven't done personally. I'm a real person just like you, I'm no superstar. With the nationally known success of our youth ministry, now more than ever I have offers on the table to go do youth ministry elsewhere. I know I could go somewhere else and have it made....so to say. But, I know God still has a lot for me to accomplish where I'm currently at, and I'd be scarred to miss out on his calling!

My encouragement to everybody peeping this is to truly seek God's face, and find his will for your life. If it is Urban Ministry, do it with all your heart and be consistent, and God will bless you and take care of you! If your calling is not to actually do urban ministry you can still help in many ways. Pray for us! Volunteer time at a local urban ministry! Support an urban ministry financially! Peace and God Bless!

For more information about Tommy Kyllonen aka UrbanD, Crossover Church, or Fla.vor Alliance, check out all three three at flavoralliance.com.

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