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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture

(July 8, 2001)

Posters and plaques line the hallway. Teens peruse compact discs, T-shirts and videos, checking the CDs out at listening stations before they buy. A deejay spins vinyl records while young people stand talking in clusters, offering a friendly hello to newcomers.

Tommy Kyllonen

At 7:45 p.m., Tommy Kyllonen steps to the microphone and says an opening prayer. The house lights dim, but gel lights illuminate the stage. Four TV monitors flash the lyrics and 200 students of different ethnic groups — black, white, Hispanic and Asian — unite in worship. Some clap, others sway to the music. Familiar lyrics take on a new melody and a new hip-hop beat as the deejay and worship leader collaborate and the teens worship God.

This is the youth service at Crossover Community Church in Tampa, Fla., a church committed to ministering to youth in the hip-hop culture, predominant among inner-city youths who enjoy rap music, graffiti and break dancing.

"My calling is to reach unchurched youth," says Kyllonen, an A/G pastor’s son who grew up in inner-city Philadelphia and graduated from Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Lakeland, Fla. "Most kids that are into hip-hop music don’t go to church."

Kyllonen came to Crossover as youth pastor in 1996 when only four teens attended. He began holding Wednesday night Bible studies and then started a basketball league in the community.

Today, more than 200 young adults, most of them previously unchurched, attend the Thursday service. At any given service, close to 30 teens are unbelievers, but a common love for the hip-hop music and culture brings them together.

The service is advertised mostly by word of mouth. but the church hosts outreach concerts four times a year that draw up to 500 people.

Kyllonen believes in helping young people develop their talents. More than 70 students participate in weekly classes that teach singing, acting and more. The classes help teens hone their gifts and a graffiti art class encourages them to use their talents legally for murals, T-shirts and Web sites.

"We use the classes as discipleship time," says Kyllonen. "We always start them with prayer and Bible study."

The church is building its morning service from the youth service. "We know that hip-hop music is what the students want, and we haven’t compromised our message a bit," says Al Palmquist, senior pastor of the church. "We’re trying to ride the wave that God has created."

In June, the church sponsored Flavor Fest 2001, the second annual hip-hop/urban youth workers conference. The 150 participants attended workshops that addressed the hip-hop culture and spiritual aspects of youth ministry. Thursday night services and outreach community concerts rounded out the seminar.

"This is a cutting-edge, hip-hop, urban, inner-city, gospel outreach ministry that ministers to the harvest field at the point of need," says Terry Raburn, superintendent of the Peninsular Florida District. "They have not committed the error of trying to reproduce a suburban church in an inner-city area."

— Katy Attanasi

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