Another Special Life in Christ
These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!
David Wilkerson, born in Hammond, Indiana on May
19, 1931, was married in 1953 to Gwen Carosso. The Wilkersons' two sons are ministers, and
their two daughters are married to ministers. They have 11 grandchildren. The
Wilkersons served small pastorates in Scottsdale and Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, until
Reverend Wilkerson saw a photograph in Life magazine of several New York City teenagers
charged with murder. Moved with compassion he was drawn to the city in February 1959. It was
at that time he began his street ministry to what one writer called "desperate, bewildered,
addicted, often violent youth."
In that year, Reverend Wilkerson founded Teen
Challenge ministries in Brooklyn, New York, which has reached youth and adults with
life-controlling problems worldwide through its 490 centers. The ministry's biblically based
recovery program for drug addicts has been recognized as one of the most effective efforts of
its kind. A study by the United States government's National Institute of Drug Abuse
substantiated Teen Challenge's cure rate of 86 percent. Following God's leading, Reverend
Wilkerson turned Teen Challenge over to the Home Missions Department of the Assemblies of
God. Without links to developed web pages, the above Wikipedia link notes the efforts of the next two paragraphs.
The David Wilkerson Youth Crusade originated in
1967. Thus began an evangelistic ministry characterized by Reverend Wilkerson's efforts to
reach teenagers he called "goodniks" -- middle-class kids who were restless and bored -- to
prevent them from being seduced into a life of bondage to drugs, alcohol, violence or
lawlessness. Through this ministry, CURE Corps (Collegiate Urban Renewal Effort) was founded.
CURE was an effort to harness the idealism and sacrificial zeal of many Christian young
people who knew about the Peace Corps and Vista but wanted to give their lives to
In 1971, Reverend Wilkerson's ever-expanding
ministry moved its headquarters to Texas, where he founded World Challenge, Inc. The
ministry's mission is to promote and perpetuate the message of Christ through public
teachings. As such, World Challenge, Inc. serves as a corporate umbrella for Reverend
Wilkerson's crusades, ministers' conferences, book and tract publishing, video production,
Bible schools, street evangelism, literature distribution, feeding programs, drug and alcohol
rehab centers and other charitable outreaches. He remains president of World Challenge, Inc.
which has a mailing list to hundreds of thousands of people who regularly receive copies of
his sermons and ministry updates. He and the ministry's staff and board of directors
regularly pray for the needs of those on his mailing list. Reverend Wilkerson personally
reads as many letters as possible, and his wife, Gwen, reads thousands of them, interceding
in prayer for those who write, rejoicing over testimonies of victory, weeping over expressed
needs, and believing God to answer every prayer.
In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street at
midnight, Reverend Wilkerson's heart broke yet again for God to raise up a ministry in Times
Square. He cried out to God to do something, and at one o'clock that morning he sensed
the Lord speaking to his heart, "You do something. You start a church. You know
the city and you love it." At that moment, Times Square Church was birthed in Reverend
Wilkerson's heart. The church opened its doors in October 1987 -- first in rented
auditoriums in Times Square and eventually in the historic Mark Hellinger Theater, which the
ministry purchased in 1989. Times Square Church is located in the heart of Manhattan's
theater district. The beautiful theater stands in contrast to the poverty, wickedness,
homelessness, drug traffic and overwhelming needs of the area. And the congregation of
nearly 8,000 is a virtual microcosm of New York City's inhabitants: doctors, students,
entertainers, teachers, attorneys, ex-convicts, Wall Street brokers, former drug pushers and
addicts, CEO's, the homeless, the middle class and the very poor. He pastored the Gospel into violent gang leader, Nicky Cruz (his testimony, HERE).
His story is told in The Cross and the
Switchblade, a book he co-authored which became a best-seller. (The story has been read
by over 50 million people in some thirty languages and 150 countries since 1963. In 1969, a
motion picture of the same title starring Pat Boone as Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Cruz was released.)
Prior to his death you could check him out & hear his sermons on-line
HERE (but hear the current pastor now).
***give me your comments about this
(posted April 2002; updated 23 July
You have just read a very brief example of the
powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now