History of Teen Challenge
Teen Challenge started in Brooklyn, New York in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson. Wilkerson was a young country preacher who had a church in eastern Pennsylvania. One February afternoon, Wilkerson read an article in LIFE magazine about seven teenage gang members who were on trial for murder.
During a gang fight in Manhattan, these teens beat a young man to death. Troubled by what he read in the article, and sensing God wanted him to do something for the teens, Wilkerson made a trip from his hometown in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania to the urban area of New York City.
Although Wilkerson never got to meet those seven young men, he was forever impacted by the hopelessness, despair and destruction of the young people on the streets of New York. He saw thousands of young people addicted to drugs, killing and dying without knowing Jesus.
Rev. Wilkerson later resigned his church in Pennsylvania and moved to the New York City area to work full time with teenage gang members.
During these early years, a large home was obtained on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. A year-long residential discipleship program was started in this facility. Today, this Teen Challenge program continues to impact people in making positive changes in their lives! Due to it's success,residential Teen Challenge centers began cropping up in cities all across America.