The fact that rapper, writer, publisher, and pastor Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen feels called to minister to the inner city is no great surprise—“urban” is literally his middle name, after all. What is surprising, however, is the number of ways in which he’s managed to do it. Whether serving as lead pastor for Tampa’s multi-ethnic, multi-generational Crossover Church, performing hip-hop and spoken word concerts around the world, or writing books like Un.orthodox or ReBuild, Kyllonen has spent the last 20 years in ministry venture after ministry venture, bringing the gospel into every available nook and cranny of the city he calls home.
But for someone who’s so keen on serving in neighborhoods where many churches won’t go, there are still some lines Urban D. won’t cross. For instance, while he’s been at the forefront of cultivating a hip-hop-friendly culture at Crossover, he’s also learned the hard way that when a church ...1