The vision for Flavor Fest began to unfold in 1999 as our team saw the huge need of people asking for training and resources to better reach those influenced by urban/hip-hop culture. Crossover's ministry experienced an influx of calls, emails and visits of people from around the country. They began hearing about our ministry through Urban D.'s (Pastor Tommy) first national CD release, "The Missin' Element". The inside of the CD jacket had some pictures and information about our Hip-Hop Youth Ministry. We tried to accommodate all the requests, but that alone couldn't really teach them or answer all their questions. God began to birth the vision for Crossover to host a conference to focus on reaching the culture.
The first Flavor Fest was launched in November of 2000. Our mission statement is "To train, network and resource emerging leaders to impact hip-hop culture for Christ." The conference targets pastors, youth pastors, church planters, youth and church leaders, and artists. Flavor Fest has become one of the largest, well known events in the Christian Hip-Hop Community. Over 10,000 people have been a part of the event over the years. Several TV stations, newspapers, websites and magazines have done exclusive reports about the Fest. The INSP (Inspiration) Network sent their Steelroots crew to capture live footage for their TV Shows. Jaq Thomas, who does marketing for Steelroots, was quoted by The Tampa Tribune saying, "Tommy is a true pioneer in every sense of the word. He has set a standard, pushed it out there, and now the world is paying attention. Last year the show's producers spent $35,000 to film Flavor Fest. We're willing to spend that kind of money because it is an awesome conference. A lot of people are being changed by this ministry."
Steelroots also partnered with Crossover to produce two double disc DVD sets (vol. 1 & 2) along with a compilation CD to accompany it. All three of these projects were nationally distributed and sold thousands of copies each. Urban D. also hosted the TV Show "Flavor Fest Hip-Hop Series" on INSP and I-Life that ran for several seasons.
Crossover Church's purpose statement is to reach the Tampa Bay community and to also provide training, resources and guidance for other ministries reaching out to those influenced by Hip-Hop culture. Flavor Fest is a major launching pad for fulfilling the second part of our ministry's purpose.
We continue to hear incredible reports from ministries who have attended the conference and implemented things they've learned at the Fest. The diversity of these places ranges from New York City to Kentucky to Indian Reservations to overseas. It's been exciting to watch the movement grow as several churches around the country have now been planted with a similar focus as Crossover. Each year the conference has grown in numbers, organization, sponsorship, and solid training.
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